"Bells" & The Soul of Michigan

Submitted by rayfrom19 on January 19th, 2011 at 8:51 PM

There is a story in a wonderful book (The Prizefighter and The Playwright) that represents all that has happened recently with Michigan Football.  It is a story of the friendship between Gene Tunney (former heavyweight champ, beat Jack Dempsey, the Long Count, etc) and George Bernard Shaw (some consider the best literary mind outside of Shakespeare).  The story is as follows:

The author (Jay Tunney, Gene’s son) recounts how Tunney and Shaw visit Russia in the 30’s and arrive at a factory where thousands of church bells, many of them beautiful works of art, were being melted down to make armaments. Jay remembers this story as he visits Russia in 1990, where he visits several villages. During one stop, several Russians in his party suddenly stop. “Listen, listen”, they said. Jay couldn’t hear anything unusual.  “Bells” said the Russians. “Bells.” The lost sound of the Russian soul. We haven’t heard bells for sixty years.”

After hearing Coach Hoke at the press conference and Mattison speak of Michigan, I feel that we are hearing the sound of the Michigan again. Their words about what Michigan football means to them are just wonderful! We are getting our soul back. The bells are ringing again and they sound so damm beautiful.



January 19th, 2011 at 9:06 PM ^

I played weekly recitals at Burton Memorial Tower and Lurie Tower for five semesters at U-M.  Michigan is THE pre-eminent school for training carillonneurs (bell-ringers) in the United States.  To get a better carillon education one would have to go to one of the Royal schools in the Netherlands or Belgium.

If you're on campus on a weekday, more likely then not there will be a public recital at Burton at 12:00 and Lurie at 1:30.  Simply take the elevator up as far as it will go, and then keep walking up to the bell chamber.  It will be loud loud loud in there, so I highly recommend going into the control booth where the carillonneur is playing.  They will be VERY happy to see you and answer all your questions!!


January 19th, 2011 at 9:11 PM ^

especially by the Mattison hire. It's great that Hoke is so well thought of in his profession to attract the folks he attracts.

Imagine what kind of team Michigan will be with a decent defense and Dilithium at the helm. I have a feeling it will be pretty special once they get going.

There's going to be a transition, and they will still need bigger, more experienced players to run a good B1G defense.

Still, it's nice to have the bells off in the distance. 


January 19th, 2011 at 9:36 PM ^

What a way to summarize this moment in time.  I am sure this diary will receive it's share of snarky replies, but it captures the feeling of lots of Michigan fans.  I am amped up for the Fall like I haven't been in some time.  We are about to get our swagger back!


January 20th, 2011 at 11:04 AM ^


Seriously, cool post, I'm not sure I totally agree with it. I think there was soul under RRod, however if you didn't feel it, and Hoke gives it to you then that's a plus for at least some of the fans.