Sunday, July 1, 2012

You won't want to miss the July 5 Song Circle! Mark Olson shares why...

One and All,
A monumental moment in America's sailing history came and went with little fanfare, back in 1989. Washington State was turning 100 years old, and as we looked back at how far we had come, few noticed the many things we had lost along the way. That was the year Aberdeen launched a replica of the first vessel to carry the (then new) independent colonial flag to the west coast of what was to become the 48 contiguous United States of America. There were many problems with the replica, the most notable being (in my mind) the sad fact that during her maiden voyage the crew of the brig Lady Washington set none of her square sails, due to the simple fact that not one crew member knew how. Far across the Pacific, in the rapidly crumbling Soviet Union, their beautiful fleet of sail training tall ships had fallen into such disrepair that officers had to patrol the decks 24/7 while visiting foreign ports, in order to keep their frightened crews from jumping ship and defecting. Even as late as 1997, when the pride of the U.S. Navy, the frigate Constitution celebrated her 200th birthday, by setting sail for the first time in many decades, an embarrassed command staff had to outsource the task of training her crew to those outside the Navy, because it seemed that the greatest water-borne war machine on Earth had actually forgotten how to sail.

Fortunately our story did not end there. History had not yet truly died. It was merely slumbering in the memories, hearts, and imaginations of a scattered population. These people only needed a touchstone: the sight of sails rising up over a distant horizon - the smell of musty old pages that rustled as they were slowly leafed through - the sound of voices raised in the songs of old - to bring them together. Synergy, dreams, blood, and sweat, would do the rest. Each person held a piece of our shared past, and together they began to rebuild our history.

Yesterday is far from dead. Come take a first-hand look at a scattering of truly remarkable historical artifacts, supplied by local families, dating from the age of sail and steam. Add your strong voice and knowledge to our shanty circle and hear just how far we have come. Who knows? You might carry that missing piece, and bring us one step closer to reclaiming fully what was nearly lost.

We will see you Thursday, the 5th of July....

Mark Olson
Sing Shanties Song Circle Leader

NOTICE: Our July 5 Song Circle will not meet in the cafe as we have in the past. The new cafe, Velocity, is under new management; for the time being the cafe closes at 2:00 p.m. We will meet upstairs in the Maritime Meeting Room from 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., as usual. The space is really great, but beverages and food will not be available, so you may want to bring your own non-alcoholic beverage and a snack.

Directions as follows: The Maritime Meeting Room is on the 2nd floor of the Maritime Heritage Building (yellow building). If you go up the stairs between the red and yellow buildings and look right, there are a set of double doors that lead into the building; the library is to the right. Once inside go straight on about 20 feet and the Maritime Meeting Room is on the left with restrooms to the right across the foyer.