Friday, January 25, 2013

"Flash Shanty" - Celebrating the Launch of the Adventuress 100 Years Ago

"At 12:30 p.m., on Friday, February 1, be among the 100+ people to sing "Paddy Lay Back" to celebrate the 100 years of Adventuress' life!  
In a unique twist on the flash mob phenomenon, Sound Experience will recognize the exact day a century ago that the historic schooner Adventuress “splashed” in E. Boothbay, Maine with the world’s first-ever Flash Shanty. It will take place at exactly 12:30PM on Friday, February 1st in Port Townsend, Washington. 
All who wish to participate are asked to gather at that time at Adventuress’ stern where she is on-the-hard at Haven Boatworks in Boat Haven Marina. Together, the public will sing several verses of "Paddy Lay Back" (click here for lyrics), a shanty that a century ago would likely have been sung aboard. The event will be recorded and posted on YouTube.

“We hope to get at least 100 people joining us,” said Catherine Collins, Executive Director of the nonprofit Sound Experience which owns and operates Adventuress. “We can’t wait to honor the day our beloved schooner hit the water for the first time with a fun event that everyone can take part in.” 
Those who cannot attend in person are encouraged to record Paddy Lay Back wherever they are on February 1 and post it on Facebook at “Sound Experience aboard the schooner Adventuress.” To learn "Paddy Lay Back" and how to participate in the world’s first Flash Shanty, visit Sound Experience’s website to see a brief instructional video and the shanty’s lyrics.

Adventuress is National Historic Landmark ship with a mission to educate, inspire and empower an inclusive community to make a difference for the future of our marine environment. For more information on how to sail aboard in 2013, visit or call the office at (360) 379-0438. 
Also, Ben & Jerry’s (who support our effort to test Puget Sound waters for microplastics) will be on hand with Phishfood Sundaes for all participants."

Catherine Collins, Executive Director
Sound Experience aboard the historic schooner Adventuress
P.O. Box 1390
Port Townsend, WA 98368
(360) 379-0438 Main Office

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sweet Shanties, Wayne Palsson will be back leading our February 7 Song Circle!

Join us once again for our second Song Circle of 2013 with Wayne Palsson from Northwest Seaport leading our February 7 Sing Shanties Song Circle & Sing-Along. We'll be gathering at the Uptown Community Center on Tyler Street off Lawrence Street, across from Aldrich's Market. Since Valentine's Day follows closely thereafter, you are welcome to bring chocolate or other confectionaries to share. Coffee and tea are provided. Remember this a free, family-friendly community event, where "Singin' is encouraged, but knot required!"

Wayne's music bio:
Wayne Palsson has been singing chanteys and maritime songs up and down the West Coast for the past several years, focusing on songs with rich tones reflecting the fishing and maritime trades.  His own nautical experience on the high seas and local waters helps to anchor his interpretations of traditional chanteys and forebitters (leisure songs), new and local sea songs, and even a few overlooked classics by Gilbert and Sullivan. Wayne is the host of Northwest Seaport’s Chantey Sing, a monthly sing-a-long that continues a decades-old tradition of maritime music in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest (visit  Wayne has appeared in Northwest Folklife Festivals and Tacoma’s First Nights, participated in many of the chantey camps in the region, hosts the annual Chantey Sings at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, and produces maritime concerts.

Bring you sweetheart, invite your friends. Have a maritime love song (bitter or sweet) you'd like to share? Well, bring that too!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kick-started the New Year Celebrating with Song!

We've received great feedback about our January Sing Shanties Song Circle & Sing-Along - that night nearly 50 of us gathered at the Cotton Building on Water Street to sing shanties and celebrate our first year of monthly song circles. What a fun way to kick off the new year. Good energy all 'round. There were fifteen people sitting around the circle that were there for the first time. Welcome! Thanks to everyone who turned out for the occasion and to Mike and Val James for leading the song circle!

THANK YOU to Mike James for being the first to show enthusiasm and help kick start our community shanty sing, leading our our first song circle January 5, 2011. Thank you to Helen Gilbert and Mark Olson for your additional contribution as Sing Shanties Blog and Facebook administrators. Helen has been an awesome support throughout this past year, coming over every month from Seattle to assist in any way she can. 

Thank you to Mike James, Mike Fleming and now Jay Hagar for helping to distribute our flyers each month - it's a lot of work to spread the word...but, we are all very happy to volunteer our time to do so.
Thank you to Crossroads Music for printing our color flyers each month, the PT Arts Commission and City of Port Townsend for your endorsement and use of the Cotton Building for our community gathering in January and four other times this year. 

The songbook committee was thanked publicly for the great work they did this past year to assist Lee in bringing the songbook project to fruition and published for use and distribution before the 2012 Wooden Boat Festival - Mike James, Ellie Mathews, Carl Youngmann, Helen Gilbert and Susan Jensen for your contributions. We are enjoying the fruits of their collaborative labors. Thank you to the Friends of the Arts for making the songbook project possible with your grant. Lee also handed out certificates to those present - Mike, Helen and Mark who led a song circle this past year. Tug, your replacement certificate is in the mail! 

Thank you again to PDN's reporter Charlie Bermant for your article about our first anniversary song circle that was published on January 3. Thank you to Sheila Ramsey, show host of "Everybody Can", who interviewed Lee, Mike and Val at KPTZ the Tuesday following our January 3 shanty sing. This segment will air sometime shortly before our February 7 shanty sing.

A very special thank you, which was not made public at our January Song Circle, but is long overdue, is to profusely thank Cliff Bisch, who hangs in the shadows and sings softly, but has never missed a shanty sing. Cliff, aka DZ, comes an hour early and stays a half-hour or more later each month to haul in songbooks and much more, help set up and break down tables and chairs, then haul away what was hauled in three hours earlier and take out the trash. Without his faithful encouragement and support this monthly song circle would not be possible to maintain and sustain. DZ is Lee's husband... going on 38 years! Thank you and Cheers, DZ!

Thank you to the Courtyard Cafe for the $10 gift certificate door prize, which I believe was won by Karl Sebastian.

THANK YOU to EVERYONE who enjoys coming to our Song Circles. It's all about community where singin' is encouraged, but knot required."

I apologize if I left anyone out... everyone is important and appreciated!

I still haven't figured out how to get good photos of our indoors community gatherings, but here's the best of what I have. Maybe amongst us is an amateur or professional photographer who has nailed down how to work with such uneven lighting without a flash? I'd love a lesson. Unfortunately, these photos were taken later in the evening, after our break; some of us had to leave early. Please let me know the name of the sweet gal in the blue t-shirt, if you know her. 

Zhenya Lavy

 Helen Gilbert, Mark Olson and Tugboat Bromberg

 Mike & Val James - Song Leaders

 Sheila Ramsey and Cindi Dinan

Jay and Donni Hagar (center)

Joe Lavy

Tugboat Bromberg

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Celebrating Our First Anniversary!

Thank you to Charlie Bermant for writing the following article about our first anniversary shanty sing, published in the Peninsula Daily News on January 3, 2013.

Sea Shanty Song Circle to celebrate first anniversary
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — In January 2012, a loose coalition of sea chantey enthusiasts decided to meet each month to sing songs of the sea.

A year later, the group has developed into a monthly gathering that goes a long way toward keeping the tradition alive.

“It has exceeded our expectations,” said Lee Erickson, one of the organizers of the gatherings.

“At first, we thought we might meet every other month, but the people who attended said they wanted to meet monthly.

“It's a family-friendly night where no one has to have a great voice,” Erickson said.

Preserving traditions

“The people are just giving a little bit of themselves in order to preserve the traditions,” he added.

The Sea Shanty Song Circle and Sing Along celebrates its anniversary from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. today at the Cotton Building, 607 Water St.

Port Townsend musician Mike James, who led the first song circle, will lead the anniversary celebration.

The gathering is held the first Thursday of every month, aside from September, when a chantey sing-along is held in conjunction with the annual Wooden Boat Festival.

The evenings begin with everyone sitting in a circle. In turn, participants can either lead a chantey or pass to the next person.

The chanteys, many with multiple verses in a call-and-response format, were published this year in a collected lyrics book and will be on hand during the event.

The impetus for the gatherings came after the 2011 death of Stephen Gottleib Lewis, a Port Townsend resident who had a huge collection of chanteys he was attempting to preserve for posterity. The book, which was published last summer, contains 141 pages of lyrics from Lewis' collection.

The enthusiastic response also prompted a location change. The first gathering was held in the coffee shop at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St. The crowd spilled out into the Chandlery, which caused a move upstairs to the maritime center's meeting rooms.

After a few months, the upstairs rooms were no longer available because they were being rented out with increasing frequency, so the song circles now alternate between the Port Townsend Community Center and the Cotton Building. 

To read the full article, click here.

Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at