Saturday, August 5th marks my 10th year as the park ranger at the helm of the monthly chantey sing at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Before me, Revell Carr had hosted the sings, from 1992-96, leaving the NPS to start graduate studies in folklore (and then on to doctoral studies in ethnomusicology).
It's been an amazing decade at the sings. I've seen kids grow to adults, and those who had never before sung in public come out of the woodwork and begin to sing. I've had the pleasure of seeing several people who started coming to the sings become inspired to start their own nautical bands (including the Mudcat's own Salty Walt), and seeing some become inspired to volunteer at the park (including Mudcatters Melani and BillR). My greatest pleasure has been in seeing so many people taking part in the joy of singing together. I like to think of it as "a safe place to sing."
Sailors, stevedores, and fishermen have left us a great heritage of work songs, and songs sung for pleasure. September 9 marks the 25th anniversary of the sings, which will coincide with the park's Festival of the Sea. I'll put up a separate thread about that.
Please join me, if you're within range of San Francisco, for this next chantey sing. It would be great to see other 'Catters there. To reserve space, call the ranger office at 415-556-6435.