Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

When the Saints Come Marching In


By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird


I will never forget my parents taking me as a child to  Frank Baker’s 1200-seat Attic Restaurant in West Vancouver by Park Royal Shopping Centre. I loved the delicious ‘all-you-can-eat’ smorgasbord, the endless Tiffany lamps, and James Bond’s Aston Martin car with all the gadgets.  My strongest memory though was following Frank Baker and Lance Harrison’s Dixieland Band in a congo-line around the restaurant as they trumpeted out ‘When the Saints Come Marching In’.   Although Lance Harrison rarely performed outside the Vancouver area, he was featured in the CBC TV special ‘A Visit to New Orleans,’ filmed during a 1971 trip to the birthplace of jazz.  Dixieland Music, sometimes called Hot Jazz or New Orleans Jazz, became synonymous with the song “When the saints come marching in”.  This song became so connected with New Orleans that they even named their NFL Football team “New Orleans Saints”.

Louis Armstrong was the first person in the 1930s to turn this Afro-American spiritual into a nationally-known pop tune. Fats Domino, and Billy Haley & the Comets, turned it into a Rock and Roll rendition. Elvis Presley sang ‘When the Saints…’ in his Hollywood film “Frankie and Johnny.” Even the Beatles recorded it.  Because of its dominant popularity, Jazz musicians in New Orleans charged 500% more than for other songs just to play it.  I never realized back at Frank Baker’s Attic that the song was originally a funeral dirge, speaking about people dying and go to heaven.  “O Lord I want to be in that number” expressed the desire to be ready to meet one’s Maker.

Who can forget the scenes of devastation just four years ago in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city?  With 80% of the city flooded, many wondered if New Orleans was finished. Out of the ashes has arisen an unlikely football team that has given hope back to a crushed people.  It took the New Orleans Saints 21 years to win their first season and 34 years to win a single playoff game. Who can forget the Super Bowl XLIV scene with Saints Quarterback Drew Brees holding his son after the Saints had a surprise 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts? The sports commentator’s final comments were “The Miracle in Miami has happened. The Saints have won the Superbowl!”   As Phillip P. Lasseigne, Daily Vidette Features Editor, put it, “When people in the Gulf Coast lost their jobs, their houses and their loved ones after the hurricane, they turned to the one thing that had always been there for them for both the good times and the bad: the Saints.”

I had no idea that Saints Quarterback Drew Brees had a strong faith in Jesus Christ that has shaped his dedication and integrity both on the field and off. To Brees, this dedication means that “you trust in the Lord, you trust that he has a plan for your life, you trust that he is never going to put anything in front of you that is too hard for you, or he would not put it in front of you. No matter what comes your way, you will be able to overcome it. It will make you stronger.  It will give you the ability to influence in a positive way so many other people. I want to give back what’s been given to me.”

Besides QB Drew Brees, everyone was talking about the other Quarterback Tim Tebow who was in a 30-second Superbowl ad seen by 100 million viewers.  Despite initial concerns by some, the ad turned out to be a lighthearted celebration of family life. Tim Tebow, who was almost not born because of pregnancy complications, became a Heisman Trophy winner and selflessly serves others on medical mission trips to the Philippines. Tim Tebow and Drew Brees truly are Saints who come marching in.



The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.


-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


Author: edhird

I was the Rector of St. Simon's Church North Vancouver, B.C for 31 years, from 1987 to 2018. Ordained in 1980, I have also served at St. Philip's Vancouver and St. Matthew's Abbotsford. My wife Janice and I have three sons James, Mark, and Andrew. I was the Past President and Chaplain for Alpha Canada. While serving as the National Chair for Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada, I was one of three co-signers of the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials For the past 31 years, I have been privileged to write over 400 articles as a columnist on spiritual issues for local North Vancouver newspapers. In the last number of years, I have had the opportunity to speak at conferences and retreats in Honduras, Rwanda, Uganda, Washington State, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Ontario. My book For Better, For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship, coauthored with Janice Hird, can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Better-Worse-Discovering-lasting-relationship/dp/0978202236/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1535555614&sr=8-1 My sequel Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit, with a foreword by Dr JI Packer, is online with Amazon.com in both paperback http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/097820221X/ref=redir_mdp_mobile and ebook form http://tiny.cc/tanhmx . In Canada, Amazon.ca has it available in paperback http://tiny.cc/dknhmx and ebook http://tiny.cc/wmhmmx . It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook). Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form. Nook gives a sample of the book to read online: http://tiny.cc/vj3bmx . Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version: http://tiny.cc/kreonx . You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook: http://tiny.cc/1ukiox The book 'Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit' focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus' healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how North Americans can embrace a holistically healthy life. In order to obtain a copy of the prequel book 'Battle for the Soul of Canada', please send a $18.50 cheque to 'Ed Hird', 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. For more info, please click on www3.telus.net/st_simons/nsnews030.html

8 thoughts on “When the Saints Come Marching In

  1. Excellent and inspirational article! Thanks!


  2. This is a really nice blog you got here. The theme is great! Color combination is awesome.


  3. Louis Armstrong is just the greates jazz musician in the world ever. I really love to listen to him. New-Orleans-Jazz for ever!


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  7. If you are already there, an unlikely circumstance, then the saints may be coming, elsewise, they shall be going. Thus, ‘When the Saints GO Marching In.” May all who read this take the first step to ensure their inclusion in that march.

    Armstrong is considered the greatest jazzman ever, even though, in later years, he was commercialized on the Decca label, but shook that off somewhat with his All Stars of the 1950s. Of all the versions I have heard, Armstrong made my two favourites. When the Saints Go Marching In, or ‘The Saints,’ is considered among traditional jazz enthusiasts as the national anthem of jazz and is played over and over at traditional jazz festivals all over the world, often with second-liners following bouncing decorated umbrellas.

    Lance Harrison was a personal friend of mine. He usually finished his performances with When the Saints…


  8. Pingback: My most read articles | Edhird's Blog

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