How does the hybrid in-person and online Chantey Sing work?
Participants may join remotely or in-person. All will be participating in the same simultaneous event, able to see and hear all the featured singers, remote and virtual, Both remote and in-person participants are able to lead songs which will be heard by all.
When you register, you will choose if you want to participate “Onsite,” “Virtually,” or “Undecided.” If you choose “Undecided,” we’ll follow up with you a few days before the Sing to check whether you will be attending in-person or online.
How do I participate remotely?
When you register for the Chantey Sing, you will get a confirmation email, and then you will receive another email with the Zoom link 24 hours before the Sing. At the time of registration, you may choose to sign up to lead a song.
On the first Sunday of each month, the Zoom “door” to the Sing opens a little before 2pm ET, giving guests a few minutes to greet each other. Shortly after 2pm, we mute your mics, and the MC begins the program. The next three singers are announced throughout the event. Participants keep themselves muted unless they are the featured singer. At 4pm we do a closing song, then give folks a few minutes to bid each other farewell before shutting down the Zoom.
We encourage all participants to use the chat feature to share their comments throughout the event.
Where do I attend in person?
When you register for the Chantey Sing, you will get a confirmation email, and you may also choose to sign up to lead a song.
The in-person event will take place at 12 Fulton Street in the Seaport Museum galleries in Lower Manhattan. On the first Sunday of each month, doors open at 1:45 pm ET, and the program begins at 2. The MC introduces the singers, both remote and in-person, throughout the program. On-site singers move to the front of the room in their turn to present their song to the in-person and remote audience. At 4pm we do a closing song, then give folks a few minutes to bid each other farewell before shutting down the Zoom and opening the physical space for the next event. Before or after the Sing, participants are invited to tour the Seaport Museum gallery exhibitions, as well as visit the 1885 tall ship Wavertree and the 1908 lightship Ambrose on Pier 16.
What COVID safety measures are in place for in-person participation?
All guests must show proof of full vaccination and a booster upon arrival. Capacity will be limited to allow for appropriate social distancing. All participants are required to wear masks for this indoor activity. Song-leaders will sit 6 feet away from the rest of the company when leading their song, to allow them to remove their masks, if they wish.
What will the experience be like in-person?
There is a projection screen and speakers so that we will all be able to hear and see our friends leading songs from near and far. An onsite camera will capture the image of our in-person guests together, and that image will be one part of the gallery screen for virtual guests. When a virtual guest is singing the onsite mic will be muted, but we can all sing along and enjoy each other’s voices. Onsite song-leaders will also appear on camera and mic so that all Zoom participants can hear and see the performance, just as they do for remote song-leaders. The onsite mic will also pick up the gathered guests singing along behind their masks.
Who can lead a song?
Every month we have over 100 guests joining us for the Chantey Sing. In order for the Sing to proceed smoothly with so many participants, and to ensure fairness in picking singers, we arrange the set list in advance.
Our goal is to create a well-balanced yet inclusive and welcoming program. When you register, as long as it is a week or more before the Sing, you may select either “Yes, I”d like to lead a song,” “Maybe, can I decide later?” or “No, I’ll just be listening.”
About a week before the Sing, we make the set list, prioritizing singers who haven’t led a song for us before, within a balanced program of amateurs and professionals, locals and distant guests. If we have too many singers to accommodate them all we create an Alternates list. If you don’t get to lead a song one month, we hope to get you on the next.
If you said Maybe, we’ll reach out to you to see if you want to bump up to a Yes.
Once the set list is complete, we will email you to confirm that you are on the program, or to let you know if you are on the Alternates list. If you will be unavailable after all, just let us know right away, and we can put an Alternate in your slot.
What if I can’t commit so far in advance? What if I can’t sing after all?
If you aren’t sure, just sign up as a Maybe. We’ll give you a chance to switch to a Yes.
If you said you wanted to lead a song but can’t after all, let us know when you get your singer confirmation, so we can put an Alternate in your place. Or if you have a problem at the last minute, shoot us an email then. Give us as much notice as you can. Please avoid simply not showing up — we could slot an Alternate in your spot.
What if I want to lead a song in-person?
Just as for virtual song leaders, onsite song-leaders should sign up at least a week in advance to get onto the set list. It is sometimes possible for on-site guests to present a song as an Alternate, if we have time in the schedule.
Choosing a Song
Bear these ideas in mind:
- Lots of singers are scheduled to present. Please help us make room for them all by choosing a not-too-long song.
- Please review the list of songs sung in recent months. It is fine if you want to repeat a song, but this will allow you to sing something new if you prefer.
- Though we aren’t recording for publication, it is best when possible to avoid copyright complications by choosing either a traditional song or one of your own.
- All songs should be in the maritime tradition, including chanteys, forecastle songs, maritime ballads, and contemporary songs in the maritime tradition.
Song origins and themes:
- We try to avoid racist and misogynistic songs. Some people change lyrics, some leave out verses, some skip particular songs altogether.
- There are some beloved songs which are of racist origin of which we were unaware. It is good to find out. Sometimes exploring and discussing a song is more valuable than automatically censoring it.
- We therefore ask that you do a few minutes of internet research on the song you will be leading. At the Sing, when you share with us the title of the song, also share (very briefly!) the origin or context. Other participants may weigh in through the chat or in the room, and we will all be enlarged by the discussion.
How long have you been doing Chantey Sings at the Seaport Museum?
The Seaport Museum has been hosting Chantey Sings for over 50 years, beginning under the street lamps on the pier, and later aboard tall ship Peking. After Hurricane Sandy, the Chantey Sings were paused, returning aboard tall ship Wavertree in May 2019. Our virtual Chantey Sing has been a pandemic favorite since May 2020, joined by hundreds of singers from across the street, across the country, and across the pond.
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