This has turned out to be a busy week at Maplethorpe. Went up to Georgetown to hear the Men of the Deeps concert on Tuesday night. The Kings Playhouse in Georgetown is a great community theatre and is in the process of doubling its size. (Your tax dollars at work!) We hadn’t been up there in a few years–last time was to see Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellas. (Also a super show!) We ran into a few people we knew at the concert who couldn’t believe we had driven all the way from Bedeque for a music concert.
Now let’s put this into perspective.
Georgetown is about an hour and a half drive from Bedeque. As Islanders say, Georgetown is ‘down east,’ on the other side of the world from where we live. From our perspective as westerners, Georgetown is easily half the distance we often drove to watch a high school basketball game when our boys were playing in Montana. An hour and a half was a crosstown drive to work when we lived in St. Louis. For us, Georgetown just isn’t that far. And since Georgetown was the only place on PEI where we could hear the Men of the Deeps, well, that was that.
Date Night Thwarted…Again
We had planned to leave early, see the sights and get some supper in Charlottetown, but that was not to be. The restaurant was just swamped with people at lunch and the last ones didn’t leave until after our 3:00 pm closing. That morning I was informed the daughter needed to be picked up from school at 4:30. Husband Jim was tutoring a math student until 5:30. We had overnight guests expected for the B&B, and they got checked in at around 5:45. So, we snarfed down sandwiches while standing in the kitchen and dashed out the door at 6:00 pm. Story of my life.
But we had a nice drive and got to Georgetown at 7:30 for the 8:00 show. The place was mostly full, but not sold out. We ran into some people we knew and even people who don’t know you on PEI are friendly. We had great seats 4 rows back from the stage, right in the middle. The show started on time at 8:00 when the place went dark and the miners came in from the back, singing, their path illuminated by the lamps on their hardhats.
They were great.
Well, you expected me to say that, didn’t you? We paid $35 a ticket and drove an hour and a half. I would never admit it if the concert was a disaster. The Men of the Deeps is a choir made up of professional Cape Breton coal miners–one requirement for prospective choir members is 2 years work in the employ of a mine. Most of the song were about mining work…loving the mine, hating the mine, mine disasters, mines closing forever. You could tell these guys were really singing from their hearts. At the end of the concert the choir members came out in the audience to shake hands and thank us for coming. We were touched.
We’ll give the kids the url and tell them to google it.
I wondered most of the drive home how much longer the Men of the Deeps will last. Several of the singers looked to be in their 70s. With the Cape Breton coal mines long ago closed, I wonder where the group will get replacements when these elders are ready to pass the torch. Maybe this will become another story we’ll have to tell our grandkids to imagine, like where fishermen used to be and where farmers used to be. Where coal mines used to be and where miners used to sing harmony together, celebrating a communal life above and below the ground.