Victoria Nautical Song Circle

We have a Nautical Song Circle in Victoria, BC, Canada on Vancouver Island. Started in November 1998, it generally took place a couple of Saturday evenings a month. While the VNSC was canceled at the Bent Mast Restaurant as of end of Oct 09, the circle continues to operate, albeit not in the public/semi-public style it had. Please view the Sailing Orders page for word on how to attend.

Over the last few years, the VNSC has hosted the: 

2nd Sea Song Sing Out Friday 27 June 2008

VNSC turned 10! Friday 28 November 2008

and has been hanging out at:

Sailors inland, the Princeton Traditional Music Festival 21/23 Aug 09 and 20-22 Aug 2010.

Sea Shanty Camp - Victoria, B.C. happened 19/20 Sep 2009 - Hank Cramer and shipmates, at the MMBC. See the SSC info page for updated resource list (2010.05.14). 

enjoyed a musical visit from Charlie Ipcar during his trip to the West coast which included an opportunity for him to conduct some more research on C. Fox Smith.

Shanties, Stamp & Go's and Forebitters

Shanties were the means of keeping a crew or the Watch On Deck co-ordinated when conducting a seamanship evolution like hoisting a sail, sweating it tight, hauling on a line, turning the capstan by heaving at it or working the pumps. Apparently the merchant navy was the predominant home of the shanty, which was less frequently used in the Royal Navy (British). In the RN a stamp and go might be employed for activities such as weighing anchor, singing considered to be a little too light hearted for the "Senior Service", who also tended to have many personnel available, at least when the guns were't manned. Off watch time for the crew, in those pre-VCR/DVD/satellite TV days might see the Other Ranks, other than officers that is, for'ard(foward) on the fo'c'sle(forecastle) engaged in the leisure pursuits of playing musical instruments; concertina, fiddle; singing or dancing. The forward "bitts" or bollards were convenient items to sit on or define the area of the fo'c'sle deck. Consequently these non-work songs or non-shanties became known as forebitters. Our friends to the south (Americans) sometimes call these fo'c'sle shanties to differentiate between them and the working songs or work versions. There is a nice set of definitions at the Roll and Go site.

Bent Mast venue cancellation news/timeline:

The VNSC, VSC & Celtic music Session were canceled at the Bent Mast  as of end of Oct 09.
Liquor license undergoing updating to allow "entertainment". News as we have it.

News: BM management are proceeding through the application process for a new class of license which may allow life to return to normal in the spring of 2010.

2010.05.14 Heard a band has played the BM, however scuttlebutt has it that performers may not drink, or some such, so patrons may not "perform". Hmm, try to stop me singing in the head, I tell you.

2010.05.24 Heard the license will not allow for what we participate in, only for paid entertainment that does not drink while it performs. I wonder what happens if someone sings Happy Birthday.

2011.01.05 Multiple scuttlebutt.
- It appears there is indeed some weird classification of BC Liquor law that offers and requires a class of liquor license for an establishment with the category of the nature, "patron self entertainment". Hmm, no more Happy Birthday singing just anywhere you go I guess.
- Our host for these many years, Jerry Seto of the Bent Mast has crossed the bar on 30 Dec 2010. Thanks for all your support Jerry. I'm sure you'll have a nice corner in Fiddler's Green, where you may sit and tell sailing stories.
- It seems quite unlikely the BM will be available for a song circle or session for the foreseeable future. Russ is in communication with another local establishment who are working on their allowed-to-sing-Happy-Birthday classification.


SPAM, don't buy it!

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Site updated 2012/10/29