LATEST UPDATE (12/21/05)
This is the official web site of the Bell Sisters, and it has enjoyed their blessing and bemused assistance. I am their nephew (yes, they are both alive, in good health and living happy lives) and, all family bias aside, I have always enjoyed their music.
In this site, I have gathered all the tidbits the family had squirreled away - photos, recordings, newspaper clippings, personal notes - so that anyone who remembered or knew the Bell Sisters might find more information. Those who have visited the site have contributed even more (see their words and photos on our "Memories" page).
I grew up listening to my famous aunts singing with their five siblings (my mother, three more aunts and an uncle) at Christmas time. Each year, our extended family would gather at my grandparents' home in Seal Beach, California, and we would carol in the local neighborhood. HEAR me sing with the family, as a 5 year-old soloist! - 1966 reel-to-reel recording.
This was years after the Bell Sisters' career ended, but many of the songs we sang together were based on arrangements Cynthia and Kay made while performing in the early 1950s. This family tradition was a treat for me, because all of my aunts and uncle have beautiful singing voices and can fall into easy harmony when the occasion calls.
I hadn't thought much about my aunts' career until 1998 when I rented the 1996 Gramercy film, "Grace of My Heart." I was startled to hear my aunts' song, "Bermuda," pop into the musical foreground during one of the scenes from the movie.
I called my aunt Cynthia and asked if she knew her song was featured in the movie. We talked quite a while that day and that is how this project began.
I used the Internet - alot, usually to post eccentric questions to very helpful newsgroups. As I gleaned information from various sources, I would call Cynthia and Kay for hints where to look next. Before long, they had turned over boxes of family memorabilia to help me reconstruct their career (memories had become, over nearly 50 years, a bit clouded as to exact details).
These storage boxes, brought out of garages and attics, held much more material than I expected (I report this happily, with the weak smile of someone who has read countless yellowed articles, listened to dozens of scratchy demo recordings, and thumbed through untold dog-eared photographs).
This web site is now a family effort to archive the many hundreds of newspaper clippings, souvenir programs, home movies, studio videotape, 78 rpm and 45 rpm records, reel to reel tape, etc., which represent the history of the Bell Sisters and, in a broader sense, our family's love of listening to and performing music. HEAR Cynthia, age 17, talk about her music.
As my aunt Kay put it, "In our family, we sing. It's the way we speak to each other."
I would like to thank, in absentia, my grandmother Edith, who carefully kept so much memorabilia and so many notes about their travels (she chaperoned the Bell Sisters to many appearances, including Korea). She kept all of it even after Cynthia told her years ago to "Throw that crap away, mom."
About this Site / Project
I have tried to keep this site easy to use (and its pages quick to load). I have listed the Bell Sisters' recordings and media appearances chronologically. I have limited the main pages to text and a single image of the Bell Sisters in the upper left corner. For more pictures and audio samples, click on the "See & Hear" button to review the available photos, audio and video files.
I have used the highest compression possible for the music and video files, so that those with older modems can enjoy it without long download times.
If you are interested in purchasing copies of the Bell Sisters' recordings or appearances, or wish to perform your own research, the "Sources" button will give you a list of those who helped me to collect, organize and confirm the information on this site.
If you are aware of a version or CD release of "Bermuda" not listed on this site, please email me and let me know.
Finally, if you have any memories or memorabilia you want to share through this website, please contact me by email at email@example.com.
[Web site last updated December 2005. Updated HTML, new audio files.
© 1999-2005 Rex Strother, All Rights Reserved
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