Or, Vineyard Musicians Against the Shark Tournament
A CD Release Concert, Sunday June 3
Katharine Cornell Theater, 7 pm, $10 donation
Why have a dozen or more Vineyard musicians come together to record original songs against the shark tournament?
Already 50 of the world's 307 shark species are registered as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered.
Over the past decade the worldwide catch of large sharks has increased as the demand for shark meat and shark fins has risen sharply. Ocean biologists now estimate that every year over 100 million sharks are killed, primarily for their fins. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. One pound of dried shark fin can retail for more than $300. And shark meat has been promoted heavily for sale as an alternative to fish, despite that it is dangerously unhealthy due to high levels of mercury.
Moreover, the damage already done to the ecosystem by decimating the apex predator sharks is beginning to endanger East Coast shellfish populations – oysters, scallops and clams –consumed by rays, skates and smaller sharks that have now flourished.
So why are there tournaments like the one in Oak Bluffs in July every summer?
The Boston Big Game Fishing Club calls it the Monster Shark Tournament in order to create fear and excitement, on the one hand, by tapping into the Jaws zeitgeist and, on the other, to justify the unnecessary and wanton bloodshed and drunkenness that invades our island towns.
It’s easy to see why the Oak Bluffs merchants tolerate this Not Very Vineyard spectacle -- over 500 registered shark fishermen spending, the BBGFC estimates, between $2.5 and $3.5 million.
But is it necessary to promote killing sharks to have a successful shark-fishing tournament?
More than a few shark tournaments in Florida, California and Hawaii have converted to a catch-and-release format, although the jury is still out on whether enough sharks can survive the exhausting struggle even when released.
But enough of the facts.
Come and hear the hearts and minds of Vineyard Musicians singing out Against the Shark Tournament.
And bring a few extra dollars to purchase the CD that Steve and Joyce Maxner produced to bring attention to ending this shark slaughter.
Here is the track list:
Hold On…We’re Comin’
Save the Sharks – William Marks
For the Stray and Estranged – Dan Waters
Hang ‘Em High – Steve and Joyce Maxner
Shanty for Sharky – Al Schackman
Day of Days – Kenny Lockwood
Shark Hunt – Rico Holley
Truth – Nancy Jephcote
Lament of Deep – Porchlight (Allie and Noah Maxner)
Betting on Sharks – Nikki Patton
Blood in the Water – Michael West
All for the Killing – Dan Waters
The Last Shark – Joyce and Steve Maxner
Hold On…We’re Comin’ – Steve Maxner and Jen Powers, sung by Darby Patterson
I was personally thrilled and honored when Steve Maxner asked me to write a song for this CD, and with his patient help we got my vocal and guitar track down (after maybe 10 takes). Then Al Schackman added bass and guitar to the mix and, when Steve played the cut for me, I could not believe how amazing it sounded.
Schackman is a wizard. If you don’t know him, he’s the guy in the rehearsal shots above with the baseball cap, a mellow dude, a real pro (guitarist and musical director for Nina Simone, has performed and recorded with Dinah Washington,The Drifters, Carole King, Miriam Makeba, Ben E. King, Sarah Vaughan and Burt Bacharach).
Anyway, it is my privilege to be part of this project and to perform with wonderful Vineyard musicians on Sunday night.
All proceeds, after the initial $800 of production costs, will go directly to expenses such as advertising, publicity and posters associated with ending the Oak Bluffs Annual Monster Shark Tournament. Date: July 19-21.
Oak Bluffs Selectpersons have been invited and sent complimentary tickets to the event.
They probably will not show up, but you should make plans to go right now.
You will especially not want to miss the performance of the CD’s title song – a moving tribute to the humanity in all of us sung by 14-year-old Darby Patterson -- Hold On, We’re Comin’ …