Notes From The Composer

by H.L. "Mac" McMillen


We were lucky the first time we went to Yosemite. It was Memorial Day in 1942, when Memorial Day still fell on May 30, and it was a Saturday. After waiting a few hours in the car in the early morning cold for the Arch Rock entrance to open, we found that the snow plows had just cleared the road to Glacier Point for the first time of the season. In many places the snow at the side of the road was higher than the roof of the car, and, since we were among the first to reach the top, the entire landscape was almost totally undisturbed. The view from the Point was spectacular--of course, it always is, but this was our first time, and conditions were special.

Since then we have visited Yosemite in all seasons and have never failed to be impressed by its beauty. It is hard to say just when we first thought that a song about it would be appropriate--The Bridge By Yosemite Falls just sort of developed by about 1945, and after awhile we were looking for a publisher but with only slight success. Eventually Happy Songs expressed an interest, and in due course their affiliate, Nationwide Songs, did publish it in 1948.

It had been our belief that the song might be a nice memento of the Park, and Nationwide agreed with that idea. We participated in developing the front cover by superimposing our own pictures of the Bridge (and incidentally of ourselves) against a publicity picture of the Falls furnished to us by the Yosemite Park and Curry Co., and we provided our own pictures and text for the back cover. Nationwide secured a piano arrangement by Helmy Kresa, staff arranger for Irving Berlin Music, at which time the verse disappeared. However, a copy of the verse from an earlier printing is included in the present package.

Unfortunately at about the time of publication there was a ban by some segment of the music industry against producing any new recordings, so we never found out whether or not someone might have been inclined to record it. For awhile copies of the sheet music were available in the shops in Yosemite, and for a summer or two an arrangement was played by Maurice Anger and his Orchestra at the dances in the Valley. Then nothing more happened for forty years until Tom Bopp, pianist/vocalist at the Wawona Hotel in the Park, researched all the Yosemite music he could unearth and did make a recording of many of those songs, including "Bridge." He also found that one of the authors still happened to have a trunk-full of the original printing. This is one of those copies.


c 1995 H. L. McMillen
"The Bridge By Yosemite Falls" copyright renewed 1974 by H.L McMillen.

This original 1948 dealer-stock sheet music has been autographed, numbered, and shrink-wrapped, with an insert featuring the above program notes and a section of the music that had been omitted by the publisher, and we're splitting the take (60% to McMillen, of course). For information on how to order, please go to Ordering Information.