masters & mariners music series
Masters & Mariners is a music series held within the Spaulding Marine Center in Sausalito, CA that brings together Maritime Arts and Traditional Music from various locales around the world. A spin on the annual Master Mariners race on the San Francisco Bay, Masters & Mariners celebrates the connections between music and boats and their communities; fostering relationships with the public to engage with these unique traditional art forms.
Located in the heart of Sausalito's waterfront, The Spaulding Marine Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, sharing, and celebrating the Bay Area's maritime history. With its working 20,000 sq. ft. boatyard, nautical library, historic sailboats, and skilled craftspeople, Spaulding is both a link to the past and a promise for the future. Spaulding's educational programs and community events connect people of all age, offering youth and adult classes in boatbuilding, monthly community events, and inviting volunteers to join their various missions. Spaulding’s historic 1885 sloop Freda, "The Matriarch of San Francisco Bay," is the oldest sailing yacht on the West Coast. Founder Myron Spaulding, a master musician and gifted shipwright, was first chair violinist for the SF Symphony before devoting himself full-time to traditional wooden boat building design and preservation. In the spirit of Myron’s work, we hope to bring music back to Spaulding, and celebrating our shared deep connections between song traditions, wayfaring, and boat-building.
The first time I walked through Spaulding Marine Center was a transformative experience; as if I was in a church or someplace holy. It is truly one of the most sacred spaces I’ve ever been in. I have always felt a deep, primordial connection to water, wooden boats, and traditional vocal music. Since that first walk-through (and subsequent years of spotty volunteer work), I have hoped to bring music back to Spaulding. Through an act of serendipity, and some spontaneity, we had a sort of trial run. The State Ensemble of Georgia Basiani (masters of Georgian polyphony) were visiting the Bay Area while on tour in the US. Dave and I, with the immense support of Temple of Light Georgian Choir and Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble, put together a Supra Club! event (the supra is a traditional Georgian ritual feast involving communal dining, music, toasting, and wine) at the Matthew Turner Tall Ship. Neither Basiani nor the boat builders knew what to expect from the other, and each were completely blown away. Stationed beneath the tall ship and its scaffolding, the maritime workers basked in the beauty of Georgian polyphony, presented by some of the best singers in the world, as the singers in turn wandered awe-struck through the massive wooden tall ship, built by some of the most gifted shipwrights in the world. I believe a seed was planted that night to create something truly unique. So began both Supra Club! and Masters & Mariners.