November 5, 2011

Hollywood Hearts - Bells of Saint Mary's

I have been a handbell ringer for – Let’s just say someone once called me the senior member, not for my age, but because I’ve been a ding-a-ling for the longest time. I figure this is as close to playing in an orchestra as I’ll ever get.

After several years of looking for the music to The Bells of St. Mary’s, our director found it at an antique auction. She transposed the notes and turned said sheet music into handbell music for us.

When I heard the melody on our first run through, tears came to my eyes because my father, Leo, liked that song. I don’t know if it was because of the pretty melody or because it is the theme song to the charming movie of the same name about a Catholic church and school, starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. (The Bells of St. Mary’s is the sequel to Going My Way, also with Bing and Ingrid.)

Here is Bing singing the school song lyrics from the Academy Award winning 1945 movie, Bells Of Saint Mary's.

As for the lyrics, all I ever sang knew was this: “The bells of St. Mary’s, dah, dah, dah are calling...” Well I read the words on the sheet music to discover The Bells of St. Mary’s is actually a love song!

The bells of St. Mary’s at sweet eventide, shall call me beloved, to come to your side, And out in the valley the sound of the sea, I know you’ll be waiting, yes waiting for me.

At the porch of St. Mary’s I’ll wait there (for/with) you, in (my/your) soft wedding dress with its ribbons of blue, In the church of St. Mary’s sweet voices shall sing, for you and me dearest the wedding bells ring.

The bells of St. Mary’s, Ah! Hear they are calling, the young loves- the true loves- Who come from the sea, And so my beloved, when red leaves are falling, the love-bells shall ring out- ring out for you and me (repeat)
Words by Douglas Furber, Music by A. Emmett Adams 1917

Give a listen to the pretty tune and enjoy Deanna Durbin's version, live from 1937 - . Thank you to  for uploading this gem on You Tube.

So If you have a chance to see the movies or perhaps add them to your collection, your heart warm and The Bells of St. Mary’s melody will float sweetly through your thoughts.

Hugs and blisses,
Jane Marie


Goodbye Lie Diaries – Breelan- Magic      
1880s October 
Fernandina, Florida

Breelan writes- Ah, so that’s why you have me ringing handbells in our Goodbye Lie series, Jane Marie. I enjoy playing, too, like you do. Fort Clinch is my favorite place to perform, up on the wall. But then you have played there for Easter Sunrise Service, I'll bet.

My handbell group would love to play The Bells of St. Mary’s. However, as you understand, I am unable to change the future and this music has yet to be written in my time. Isn’t it wonderful that I can mentally see the photographs you put up and correspond with you like this? Magic is a better thing, as our Martha Bear says…


Jane Marie adds: Say hello to Martha Bear at . She loves the company.

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