Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Singing In the Solstice at the William Main Doerflinger Memorial Shanty Sing

Didn't take me long to return to the John A. Noble Maritime Collection at the Sailor's Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island - a little less than a month after TQ and I chose that as a nice quiet Escape from Black Friday location, I was back with some friends for their monthly William A. Doerflinger Shanty Sing, which runs from 2 pm to 5 pm on the third Sunday of each month. Blogging friend Rick Spilman over at The Old Salt Blog has a new book called The Shantyman coming out soon and in honor of that he'd given an excellent talk about shanties at the NY Ship Lore and Modelbuilding Society back in November; I'd mentioned it on Facebook, with some reference to the monthly sing, and a couple of friends perked up and said, "Let's go!".

I'd never been to a shanty sing before, but I enjoyed it and I think I'll be back. The group was friendly (there were a couple of instances where people spaced on words, and I didn't pick up any sense at all that anyone was looking down their noses at that, which is nice), the choruses were easy enough to sing along with, and although I'd told a clubmate that I wasn't sure that the harmonies would be quite as harmonic as this, there was some good singing. I was able to get a few licks on my tin whistle, and of course joined in enthusiastically on "Mele Kalikimaka" - not a traditional shanty but good grief how many times did I sing that song as a kid??? I was tempted to lead 'em through the Hawaiian Twelve Days of Christmas (Numba One Day of Christmas My Tutu Give To Me, One Mynah Bird in One Papaya Tree) but as a first-timer I felt like that might be a bit much. Maybe next year. Another singer sang The Parting Glass (the hearty version, not the plaintive one), which we sang back in Jerry Kerlin's Irish Song classes at the Irish Arts Center - there are actually a couple of songs I know from there that I wouldn't be surprised to hear at this session.

My friend Gail and I rode the ferry over and then walked up to Snug Harbor. I was a little disappointed in the weather, forecast had called for partly sunny and low 40's and instead it was slate-gray and hovering in the low 30's, but it was still fun walking along the Kill Van Kull and watching all the ships go by, plus we had to stop and smell the Christmas trees at Gerardi's Farmer's Market, which was right along the way. Actually you could see the container ships going by from the room where the session is held - that lent some atmosphere!

Victoria and Steve from the Long Island City Community Boathouse joined us there and had a very good time, and then the four of us ended up going out for a rather spontaneous dinner at Pasticceria Bruno on Forest Avenue, which turned out to be pretty darned good (lovely appetizers, unfortunately gone before I remembered to take pictures).

Photos from the day - click for slideshow view, this is the end of the write-up!

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