Cornell chimes on TikTok: Chenchen Lu covers Lil Nas X, Rachmaninoff, Stranger Things

·2 min read

As Chenchen Lu was deciding where to attend college, the California native googled “Cornell traditions.”

Cornell Chimes — live bell concerts played several times daily by students — appeared near the top of her search.

“I was like, ‘Wow, that’s cool,’” Lu said. “I want to do that.”

A few years later, Chimemaster Lu has captured unexpected TikTok fame for her McGraw Tower concerts. Her @bingaleedingalee24 videos feature her playing everything from Rachmaninoff to Lil Nas X to ABBA and have gotten over 4 million likes from almost 140,000 followers.

A rising senior studying information science, Lu started posting chimes videos last summer. One of the first videos to go viral showed her trying to record a concert via Zoom. The music is inaudible due to the deafening noise but the video still had over 776,000 likes.

Lu said that after a few chimes TikToks, it was “pretty rapid growth.”

Lu’s preference for wearing workout clothes and socks hasn’t gone unnoticed. Followers post comments asking why she’s not wearing shoes (it’s easier to control the chime’s pedals) and comment on her arms (“wow look at those triceps”).

They also comment on Lu’s focused expressions.

“A lot of people say I look scary when I’m concentrating,” Lu said. “But I don’t think any of the comments are weird. They’re just interesting.”

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While Lu favors classical compositions by Rachmaninoff, Paganini and Bach, fans have responded to ABBA, Cascada and the theme from Stranger Things.

But it was Mendelssohn’s Wedding March that captured 2.6 million likes.

“I had no idea that so many people were interested not just in music but in bells,” said Lu.

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This article originally appeared on Ithaca Journal: Cornell student gains TikTok fame with Lil Nas X, ABBA chimes covers