Life Aboard Ship

As the light changes, the sea becomes an increasingly intense blue and more detail in the different green growth on the islands becomes clear. Far beaches gleam in the high sun.

We’re just at the end of our fourth week, with three weeks to go. Between now and when we’ll start the long route back to San Diego, (which will take us that whole last week,) we’ll be exploring French Polynesia, the Tongan group, Bora Bora, Raiatea, and Tahiti. I’ll celebrate my 83rd birthday aboard and will report.

We’ve gotten the cruise director to say he’ll put “Choral Enthusiasts ” on the daily schedule. Up to now they’ve given us the space but no way to tell people we were there. In spite of that, yesterday three of us convened, I with the keyboard, and actually sang for half an hour! We knew enough of the same rounds to do several, and we could do parts on “Amazing Grace,” albeit our tenor was a little wobbly, sung by me. It felt so good though just to be making music! It helps a lot to have the keyboard when you’re learning new songs or even just starting out on a familiar song together. And none of us was under 60 I’d guess, so these old voices could use all the support they could get.

I think of Norwood Hinkle at Putney, with his wife Cornelia at the piano, forging ahead, every Friday night right after supper, getting all 150 of us, whether we liked it or not, singing. We were boys and girls, 9th through 12th grade. We sat on wooden benches with no backs, in the Assembly Hall, divided soprano, alto, tenor, bass, from left to right, in Norwood’s view. He didn’t bother with warm-up, though we probably started with rounds, and new, incoming students would simply pick them up from older students. They were written out, several dozen of them, like “Dona Nobis Pacem,” “Great Tom is Cast,” “Fie, Nay Prithee, John,” and several “Alleluias.” But eventually we all knew all of them. Dave Schauffler and I still had sheets copied from those original ones, in Cornelia’s hand. Besides those, we sang a lot of music: Handel, Haydn, Brahms.

This new friend yesterday knew “Hey ho, nobody home” and we taught it to Sue Moore, the other person who’s helping get this going, who picked it up quickly. I have brought four copies of my “Saving Songs” songbook that I assembled for our sing on 11-11-11, my 79th birthday, and we can get copies made at the front desk of some of those pages that will be most likely to appeal. Sue has already had some songs copied.

Julia, Hannah and Noah
Julia, Hannah and Noah

Happy Birthday today to granddaughter Julia Lincoln Carr, who was born in New Zealand. We are practically there, Julia….only a few hundred miles away, and we remember coming to visit you when you were just a few months old. We do love you so, and I love this picture of you and Hannah with Noah this summer.

The air today is just mild, breezy, completely pleasant, as it was yesterday. And the shifting colors of the water continue to amaze us: deep purple, beyond day-glo azure.

One thought on “Life Aboard Ship

  1. Hi Joan,

    Your description of the shipboard choral enthusiasts group brought back my own memories of my freshman (and only) year at Oberlin College. Due to my love of music I spent far more time with my music conservatory friends than I did in the library studying. At every opportunity we would gather together and teach each other rounds and folk songs. (Do you know the 2 part song, “Darlin’ Won’t You Wait?”)
    I remember every song as though it were just yesterday.

    If you’ve got a similar singing group here in Portland, or think you might get one going, please count me in!

    And thank you so much for writing your blog. You write with such great attention to detail, that it feels as though we are there with you!



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