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South Street Seaport Museum Announces Monthly Virtual Sea Chanteys And Maritime Music Live Sing-Along

Image provided by South Street Seaport Museum

South Street Seaport Museum’s monthly sea-music event Sea Chanteys and Maritime Musicthe original NYC chantey sing, now made popular on TikTok – continues virtually on Sun., Feb. 6, at 2pm ET. From our living rooms and kitchens, join a round-robin of shared songs featuring members of The New York Packet and friends. Listen in, lead a song, and belt out the choruses for your neighbors to hear on the first Sunday of every month. The event is free. Sign up here to receive the Zoom link 24 hours prior: seaportmuseum.org/chanteysing.

After years of meeting in person on the historic tall ship Wavertree, the event moved online in April 2020. Now in its second year of virtual incarnation, South Street Seaport Museum’s Virtual Chantey Sing has evolved into the preeminent virtual chantey sing in the world, featuring professionals and amateurs, old salts and new initiates, from across the street, across the country, and across the pond. South Street Seaport Museum actively recruits and supports new and diverse singers for each song.

Old-time sailors on long voyages spent months living together in close quarters with no outside entertainment, no new people to interact with, a monotonous diet, and each day pretty much just like the day before. How did they keep their spirits up? Singing together! Work songs and fun songs, story songs and nonsense songs, songs of nostalgia and songs of up-to-the-moment news — all were part of the repertoire onboard. At South Street Seaport Museum, the Chantey tradition lives on. The February event will be hosted by Bonnie Milner with The New York Packet, a collection of traditional chantey singers in the New York area.

“Sea chanteys fit in beautifully with the New York tradition,” said Laura Norwitz, SSSM’s Senior Director of Program and Education. “Sailing ships were a melting pot of languages and cultures, and chanteys and forecastle songs, along with hard work and shared challenges, helped sailors merge into one community. When we sing these songs today — some old, and some updated with up-to-the-moment lyrics — we celebrate our connection with our maritime heritage and also with the community we create by enjoying home-made music together.”

Each online singalong includes a virtual look at some objects from the Museum collection related to the songs being sung. Many singalongs also include a virtual visit to one of the Museum’s ships and a chat with a member of the crew.

The New York Packet was established over 30 years ago as the official maritime singing group of South Street Seaport Museum. First singing on the iconic vessel Peking, they have endeavored ever since to keep chantey singing alive in lower Manhattan. Even when the Seaport encountered “heavy weather” during and after hurricane Sandy, the Packet found places to fill with sound while awaiting a return to their beloved ships at the Seaport. In May of 2019, the moment came when the Packet could return and sing aboard Wavertree. It was a magical and welcome moment.


About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.