For the first time in nearly five years, Bernadette Secco will get to showcase her bell chiming skills at St. Mark’s Anglican Church to mark the coronation of King Charles III.
On Sunday, the day after the coronation, from 11:30 to noon all 19 bells at the Niagara-on-the-Lake church will ring out with coronation music and hymns of celebration in honour of the new king.
The chiming of the bells is a rare treat for Niagara-on-the-Lake and provides visitors with a chance to hear a unique musical talent.
“I can’t think of the last time I did (a bell ringing). I think it was four or five years ago when we inaugurated the new Brock bell and I chimed at Christ Church in Niagara Falls at a concert when Prince Louis was born,” said Secco.
Originally from Niagara Falls, she has been chiming for the past 12 years and learned the bells as a member of the St. Mark’s congregation.
“I marry ‘em and I bury ‘em,” she said.
“From my point of view, it’s one of the most interesting musical instruments and right in Niagara-on-the-Lake (St. Mark’s) is the only 19-bell chime stand that we have. In Niagara Falls there’s only 11.”
“Ours is a very special chime stand. Niagara-on-the-Lake is lucky to have it.”
For Sunday’s festivities Secco will be following a program that begins with fanfare and includes hymns from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite hymn.
She said guests can bring a blanket and sit or stand to enjoy the chimes, though she suggests a specific spot for best enjoyment.
“Sit in front or south of the church because the big bells are on the north side and sometimes they can overwhelm the smaller bells. So standing in the front or on the other side, you get a really good balance of sound.”