This weekend is the 95th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Cobh was the Titanic's last port of call before setting off toward America, and so they've got stuff going on over the weekend. One of the things I'd read about was a group of musicians who've put together a 5 piece band like the one that played on the Titanic the night it sank, and (part of, anyway) their shtick is to do the music played that night, or an approximation thereof. I thought the thing I read said they were doing a performance at 2pm on the Promenade, but it turned out that was a different band and they were sort of doing the lead-in to the Cobh town events (which included reading a list of the passengers who embarked at Cobh and died that night; there were several people who shared last names with one or two others, and probably they were husbands and wives or brothers and the occasional child, but there was one group of six with the same last name, which probably means the whole family went down with the ship. Gah.). They did six or eight pieces, including one that sounded suspiciously like Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love Of All", and the hymn "Nearer My God To Thee", which is probably the last song played on the Titanic.
So I thought that was pretty nice, but then the MC said that Grupetto, the 5 piece band, would be playing at half three in the heritage centre and also the Queenstown exhibit in the heritage centre was free today. I went down there and wandered through the exhibit (after pausing for hot chocolate and apple pie, because I was freezing and hungry), and being compulsive had to read everything in the exhibit, so I missed the first ten minutes of the concert (and still didn't read the last couple rooms worth of things!), but then sat down and got a wonderful, wonderful 90 minute concert for free.
I cannot for the life of me tell you what they played, except the last couple pieces. They've got a CD of the set, which they call Titanic's Last Waltz, and I'm going to try to find a copy. They did a couple of fantastic ragtime pieces, and more *different-sounding* waltzes than I've ever heard in my life, and a tiny handful of other things in 4/4 time that weren't ragtime but I couldn't tell you what they were. :) Oh, they did one that had sing-along bits, just la-la-la, and they *told* us they were sing-along bits, so of course I sang along, and it didn't appear much of anybody else was (which is weird, amongst the Irish), but the oboeist noticed I was singing and beamed at me. Hee hee. :)
The last couple pieces were the hymn "Nearer My God To Thee", and then a very, very beautiful waltz called "Songe D'Automne" which they believe was the last song played. They explained why they thought it was the last one, but between the accent and the microphone I couldn't quite make it out. It was gorgeous, though, and they got what I felt was a well-deserved standing ovation.
They also came back for a little encore, and did one of the ragtime pieces (again, I /think/; it sounded like one of the ones they'd played, to me), and I'm torn on that. It's like doing a curtain call for Hamlet: sure, everybody likes the accolades of standing there soaking up the applause while you take your bows, but the entire cast is dead and to haul them out for a curtain call breaks the spell. Similarly, when you're listening to music played across a century from the ghost of a drowning ship, to allow your musicians to return for an encore is...not quite right. Still, it's hard to begrudge them the zippier note to leave on. And it sure was a wonderful performance. *God*, I had a good time!
miles to Minas Tirith: 66