Before the Mast has just completed a series of successful performances:
June 24 – Fundy Trail Parkway -1 song for official opening at 1:00 pm. followed by a performance from 2:00 - 3:00 pm
June 25 - Trinity Church Music Series, Saint John, 7:15 – 8:15 pm
July 7 – King’s Square Courtyard Music Series, 12:00 - 2:00 pm
For the remainder of the summer, Before the Mast will be entertaining small groups in a variety of venues, ranging from a country inn to a local eating establishment, where the group will be doing shanty singing in a workshop format for visitors from away.
Presently the men of Before the Mast are also busy rehearsing and developing new material for the coming season. The group hopes to perform at a number of festivals and other events this spring, summer and fall.
The group has begun work recording songs for a new CD.
- John Martin has recently joined the group, bringing the complement of the crew back up to nine.
- For the past few years, Before the Mast has regularly performed for the Road Scholar Educational Travel and Learning Program hosted by the Tidal Watch Inn in St. Martins. Singing for visitors from all over North America, in a community that was once famous for its fine wooden ships, is very satisfying.
- Before the Mast has also performed Canada Day concerts at Fundy National Park on two occasions and has sung at the Miramichi Folksong Festival four times. Before the Mast has also been invited twice to "La Fête des chants de marins" in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, a festival that attracts groups from around the world. In addition, the group has sung at the Tay Creek Folk Festival, Fogfest on Campobello Island, Swallowtail Lighthouse Benefit concerts on Grand Manan, the Pirate Festival in Eastport, Maine as well as a number of community concerts around New Brunswick.
- Over the years, Before the Mast has had a number of very successful collaborative ventures. The group has sung a number of times with an a cappella women’s group from the Moncton area called Riversong and has sung with Saint Mary’s Band in a joint concert at the Imperial in Saint John. The group also enjoyed singing with the Yarmouth Shantymen in a series of concerts in Yarmouth, Saint John and Grand Manan. During the last few years, Before the Mast has also had the great privilege of singing with Pressgang Mutiny, an amazing shanty group from Toronto.
Louise Fortin, President, Fête des chants de marins, Saint-Jean Port-Joli wrote about Before the Mast:
“Well, I am still hearing great things about your performances here in Saint-Jean Port-Joli, I do believe you were this year's favorite group!!! In French, Le coup de coeur du festival !! You will definitely be on our list of groups to ask back.”
Jean-Francois Blais commented on his internet radio show Bordel de Mer, recorded at "La Fête des chants de marins" in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec:
"Before the Mast has great energy and presence on stage, rich harmonies , and a wonderful rapport with audiences. Group members don't merely sing shanties, they live them !"
The following comments were posted on Facebook:
"Wow... there's something so moving about the sound of a number of people all singing a simple tune together that literally resonates in my soul. I've grown to enjoy singing very much, but usually only at work or when I am alone... this inspires me to go and find a group and join in !"
"Fabulous concert last night! I love your harmonies, the way you build the music and also the banter between the songs. I was thinking of the relationship between music and work this afternoon, as I was kneading my bread to the rhythm of Shenendoah. I think what groups like yours and the Yarmouth group do, in keeping this part of our history alive, is essential."
"Loved your show last night! Very enjoyable music and commentary in a unique and yet somehow appropriate venue."
"We really enjoyed the show last evening. Each group brought its own special interpretation of the music and presentation, and the sound produced when you performed together in that great space was amazing."
Music columnist Gerry Taylor wrote in the Telegraph-Journal:
"... the Saint John area's premier folk act Before the Mast makes shanties and other sea songs an art form. An a cappella group that varies the lead and harmony voices, Before the Mast pays homage to our maritime heritage....Before the Mast is just about as energetic as a traditional sea-song singing chorus can get ..."