Port Townsend group to sing chanteys tonight to benefit maritime project
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Nelson’s Blood, a group of chantey singers, will perform today in Trinity United Methodist Church’s Candlelight Concert in Port Townsend.

By Chris McDaniel
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Nelson's Blood will sing sea chanteys at 7 tonight in Trinity United Methodist Church's Candlelight Concert.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the church at 609 Taylor St.

Admission is a $10 donation, with children admitted free.

Proceeds will benefit the Maritime Discovery Schools of Port Townsend. Sarah Rubenstein, director of the maritime discovery project, will speak at the event.

Students to sing, too

During the performance, students from Blue Heron Middle School will sing sea chanteys along with Nelson's Blood.

“Chanteys were, and still are, songs that workers sang to unify an effort to get a job done,” said Mike James, one of the singers in the group.

Just as the maritime trades brought together crews from around the world, chanteys gave them a common language so they could work together, he continued.

“It's been said that a good 'chantey man' is worth 10 men on a rope,” James said.

The history of Port Townsend is linked to this music, he said.

Also singing in Nelson's Blood are Val James, Jay Hagar, Jim Scarantino, Steve Blakeslee, Annie Scarborough, Mike “Tug” Buse and Chris Gilbert.

Group's name

The story of how the group chose its name will be shared.

“The name of the group is Nelson's Blood, which may sound a bit gruesome for this occasion,” Mike James said.

“However, there is a true story that is the basis of this name.”

Audience members will be encouraged to sing along during the choruses of songs such as “Sugar in the Hold,” “Roll the Old Chariot,” “Bound for Botany Bay” and “Randy Dandy-Oh.”

Nelson's Blood also will feature the world premiere of a chantey set in ancient Egypt, organizers say.

The group has shared its music in Port Townsend pubs, the Northwest Maritime Center, schools and the city's International Wooden Boat Festival, and is scheduled to perform at this year's Northwest Folklife in Seattle in May.

Refreshments will be served following the performance.

For more information, call 360-774-1644.


Reporter Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or cmcdaniel@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 30. 2016 8:01PM
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