Saturday, April 2, 2011

Avoiding a Nor'easter

A national concert tour presents a myriad of challenges that must be negotiated successfully. From scheduling logistics with the venues and hotels and coordinating sponsors to host us in each location, to ensuring the needs of the Sea Chanters themselves are met, the tour managers are constantly busy addressing the many hoops that must be jumped through to make sure things go off as smoothly as possible. Musicians 1st Class Rachel Sarracco and Bill Edwards have done a commendable job as managers on this year's tour, and although it bears repeating over and over, we can't express our thanks enough for all that they do!

However, we faced one of those challenges yesterday that are outside the normal scope: weather. Multiple reports were coming in about a nor'easter that was on the horizon - ready to strike much of New Hampshire with up to 14 inches of snow. If we were to wait it out and stay put, we could be snowed in to the point that we wouldn't be able to make it to our next performance. So, after much careful consideration, the decision was made to start our trek to Plattsburgh, N.Y., a day early, in the hopes of beating the impending snow storm.

The decision paid off, as we avoided getting caught in the accumulation of snow that did fall in the area. Instead, we started off on our journey that took us from Keane, N.H., across state lines into New York. Getting to see parts of our beautiful country when we're on tour is one of the greatest joys we encounter. This trip was no exception, as we took our vehicles across Lake Champlain on a ferry - affording us a spectacular view of the ice-covered expanse of water as we crossed it. It took about 15 minutes to cross the large lake, and we all enjoyed the serenity of the moment.

Arriving in Plattsburgh, we prepared for the concert. As we've grown accustomed to, although never take for granted, we had a particularly enthusiastic audience that gave us round after round of applause during our program. Thank you, Plattsburgh, for providing such a warm welcome!

One particular audience member stood out for us tonight: Rockwell Blake. Mr. Blake served as a Sea Chanter from 1971-1975. After those enjoyable years with the Navy, Mr. Blake went on to pursue an opera career. It was a decision that proved to be quite a good one. Rockwell Blake went on to enjoy an esteemed career as a tenor soloist with numerous opera houses and built a substantial reputation as one of the finest Rossini and Mozart experts in the opera world for years. In fact, he was the first Richard Tucker award winner - an extremely high honor bestowed upon only the finest of singers.

We are always thrilled to see former Sea Chanters in our audience, and we were delighted and honored to meet such an esteemed alumnus of the U.S. Navy Band tonight!

Today we travel to Albany, N.Y., to perform at the Palace Theater dowtown. We performed there five years ago and have fond memories of that beautiful facility. We'll see you there!

Musician 1st Class Michael Webb is a bass vocalist in the Sea Chanters.

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