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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Water Music: An Instrumental Boat Visits the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 1:25 PM

click to enlarge Is this a vehicle or an instrument? Yes. - ULLAPOOL COASTAL ROWING CLUB
  • Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club
  • Is this a vehicle or an instrument? Yes.

Elementary school music classes instruct youngsters on the fine art of making musical instruments out of rubber bands and cans of beans. Woodturning artist Michael Brolly has taken that same impulse much, much further. He’s made an instrument out of a seagoing vessel.

Sephira is the name of his creation, and it’s described as “half boat and half musical instrument.” Built by students and staff at Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, Penn., where Brolly is a woodworking instructor, Sephira is a 22-foot-long St. Ayles-style skiff into which has been built a fully functioning Aeolian harp. And not just any Aeolian harp — an instrument whose tones are generated by the wind — but one that has been strung and tuned to produce sounds that resonate with  the frequency of whale song.

Not since prehistoric times have whales frolicked in Lake Champlain, but that hasn’t stopped Vergennes’ Lake Champlain Maritime Museum from inviting Brolly and Sephira to take part in their St. Ayles Skiff/Challenge Race this weekend. On Saturday afternoon, July 12, visitors can watch as Brolly strings the harp, and can take their turn making their own boat music.
The two-day event includes a low-key race on Saturday that is free for all comers. On Sunday, the museum hosts its annual three-mile race across the lake, for which the $20 registration fee includes museum admission.

For more info, visit the website.

  • Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club

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About The Author

Ethan de Seife

Ethan de Seife

Ethan de Seife is an arts writer at Seven Days. He is the author of Tashlinesque: The Hollywood Comedies of Frank Tashlin, published in 2012 by Wesleyan University Press.

More by Ethan de Seife


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