Fun photos of the Sea Chantey Festival!

Today I enjoyed an extraordinary event. I boarded the Star of India at the Maritime Museum of San Diego and experienced the annual Sea Chantey Festival!

Here come fun photos!

You’ll see two musical groups performing in these photographs: first Raggle Taggle, then Kick up the Dust. Others groups who had the audience clapping their hands and dancing on the ship’s deck were the Jackstraws, Gemini Junction, Sportive Tricks, and The Chanteymen.

I saw many people in costume. I found myself in the company of pirates and sea captains and ladies in Victorian dress. Members of the Maritime Museum’s sail crews hauled ropes and climbed the rigging while traditional sea chanteys were sung.

Everyone jumped when two cannon shots rang out across San Diego Bay. Heads turned. Like a vision from the past, the official tall ship of the State of California, Californian, which is also one of the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s beautiful vessels, sailed on past.

It was pure magic. Every moment.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Scenes at Spreckels Organ on Silent Movie Night.

People gather in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion well before the start of Silent Movie Night.
People begin to gather in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion well before the start of the Silent Movie Night concert.

This evening I headed into Balboa Park to enjoy Silent Movie Night at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. This special annual event, featuring a silent movie accompanied by the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ, is part of every International Summer Organ Festival.

The organist this evening–for the second year in a row–was Steven Ball, who plays the world’s largest indoor pipe organ at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Among his many accomplishments, he might be best known for being the organist at the Miss America beauty pageant!

The hilarious movie tonight was Safety Last (1923), starring physical comedy genius Harold Lloyd, who ranks with Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as one of the most popular silent movie stars. I was interested to learn Harold Lloyd graduated from San Diego High School, which is located in Balboa Park, less than a mile from the Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

About an hour before the concert, I watched people arrive and claim their spots around the pavilion. Unable to sit still that long, I spent a few minutes wandering around nearby areas of Balboa Park, photographing the sun’s last rays in trees and on beautiful buildings.

The screen is set up. The concert will begin with selections by organist Steven Ball. Once darkness falls, the silent movie Safety Last will begin, accompanied by the Spreckels Organ.
The screen is set up. The concert will begin with selections by organist Steven Ball, including Hooray for Hollywood. Once darkness falls, the silent movie Safety Last will begin, accompanied by the Spreckels Organ.
The 31st Annual International Summer Organ Festival in Balboa Park features many of the world's top organists.
The 31st Annual International Summer Organ Festival in Balboa Park features many of the world’s top organists.
Safety Last, 1923, is a comedy that features silent screen star Harold Lloyd, who graduated from nearby San Diego High School.
Safety Last, 1923, is a hilarious, crazy, heartwarming comedy that features popular silent screen star Harold Lloyd, who graduated from nearby San Diego High School.
Lots of people have already staked out their spots on benches and lawn chairs over an hour before the program begins.
Lots of people have already staked out their spots on benches and lawn chairs over an hour before the program begins.
The Spreckels Organ Society Beer Fest inside the nearby Japanese Friendship Garden raised funds to help keep free organ concerts alive.
The Spreckels Organ Society Beer Fest inside the nearby Japanese Friendship Garden raised funds to help keep free organ concerts alive.
I heard bagpipes at the nearby International Cottages. When I investigated, I discovered the House of Scotland Pipe Band was outside practicing.
I heard bagpipes at the nearby International Cottages. When I investigated, I discovered the House of Scotland Pipe Band was outside practicing.
Meanwhile, more people were streaming into the Spreckels Organ Pavilion with about an hour still to go.
Meanwhile, more people were streaming into the Spreckels Organ Pavilion with about an hour still to go.
Some folks are already getting some snacks to enjoy during the concert and silent movie.
Some folks are already getting some snacks to enjoy during the concert and silent movie.
As late light illuminated the buildings of Balboa Park, I walked about to take photos. Here's the House of Hospitality from the Plaza de Panama.
As late sunlight slanted onto the buildings of Balboa Park, I walked about taking a few photos. Here’s the House of Hospitality from the Plaza de Panama.
Here's the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Here’s the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Here's the Bea Evenson Fountain and Fleet Science Center.
Here’s the Bea Evenson Fountain and Fleet Science Center.
When I returned, the crowd had grown! Every year Silent Movie Night draws about 3000 people.
When I returned, the crowd had really grown! Every year Silent Movie Night draws somewhere around 3000 people.
Ten minutes to go, and on come the magical lights of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion! I put my camera away and enjoyed a great time.
Ten minutes to go, and on come the magical lights of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion! As twilight arrived in Balboa Park, I put my camera away and enjoyed a great time.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of Navy Band Southwest Alumni Concert.

I enjoyed another special event today during my visit to Balboa Park. As I walked past the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I was surprised and happy to learn there would be a Navy Band Southwest Alumni Concert in the afternoon.

When I returned to the pavilion to listen to the concert, many present and past members of Navy Band Southwest were posing for a group photo by the colonnade. The concert soon began, and I snapped a few photos as I listened to the often rousing music, played with perfect precision.

All stood for the National Anthem. A few minutes later those braving the hot sun directly in front of the stage were privileged to hear an extremely talented duet sing a superb rendition of The Prayer by David Foster. What amazing voices. Personally, I got goosebumps. Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli have nothing on those two!

I’m sorry to say Cool San Diego Sights does not feature sound. But here are a few photos!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A smile and music brightens a San Diego day!

Gary Reid performs bluesy songs on San Diego's Embarcadero. He always greets me with a big smile when I pass by.
Gary Reid performs bluesy songs on San Diego’s Embarcadero. He always greets me with a big smile when I pass by.

Meet a guy who always makes me smile. His name is Gary Reid. I often pass him performing bluesy songs with his guitar as I walk along the Embarcadero near the USS Midway.

I didn’t realize until today that he has a CD, YouTube videos and other great stuff available online. He tells me he is available for gigs–just contact him by visiting his website here. His Facebook page is here.

His heart can be heard in his music. Give it a listen.

Gary Reid is a fine guitarist, singer and songwriter. Check out his website for some samples!
Gary Reid is a fine guitarist, singer and songwriter. Check out his website for some samples!
Gary Reid spreads gratitude and a love of life through music!
Gary Reid spreads gratitude and a love of life with his music!

Naruwan Taiko’s thundering, unabashed joy!

This afternoon I headed to the Pacific Rim Festival in Chula Vista’s Bayside Park. I’ll blog more about this fun event shortly!

The highlight of my day was an incredible performance by Naruwan Taiko!

Imagine resonant, heart-pounding, pulsing beats, and drummers swinging unstoppable arms in a synchronized dance. Imagine smiles and shouts, muscles and sweat, powered by a pure love of life. For a few moments Bayside Park was stirred by magic. Hearts were lifted by thundering, unabashed joy!

I was ready to leap over the sun!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Exciting debut of San Diego’s new Civic Organist!

Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego's new Civic Organist, raises his arms in greeting.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego’s new Civic Organist, raises his arms in greeting.

I’m still in a state of elation after experiencing the exciting debut this afternoon of San Diego’s new Civic Organist!

The first appearance of Raúl Prieto Ramírez as official organist for the city of San Diego was nothing less than phenomenal. He performed in Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where the public will now enjoy his free performances every Sunday at two o’clock.

His great love of music, his energy, his vivaciousness and his extraordinary skill were apparent from the start. An enormous audience filled the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and welcomed him warmly. At the conclusion of the exciting concert, he received a well-deserved standing ovation.

San Diego is so fortunate. The shoes of previous Civic Organist, Dr. Carol Williams, would be difficult for anyone to fill, but Raúl Prieto Ramírez seems definitely up to the task. His playing is crisp, nimble, precise, and full of expression. His smile is enormous. His mission in life, he told the audience, was to bring to the world great music. That makes him happy.

Raúl Prieto Ramírez comes to San Diego from Barcelona, Spain. He is internationally acclaimed, the founder of the Barcelona-Mataró International Organ Festival. Now he will perform his magic in Balboa Park as Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society. I can tell you right now the future of the 103-year-old Spreckels Organ is incredibly bright.

My photos of today’s concert captures a true artist’s unbounded passion. That passion translates into musical gold.

Jack Lasher, President of the Spreckels Organ Society, welcomes new San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez to the world's largest outdoor organ in Balboa Park.
Jack Lasher, President of the Spreckels Organ Society, welcomes new San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez to the world’s largest outdoor organ in Balboa Park.
A sparkling debut concert is about to begin.
A sparkling debut concert is about to begin.
A tradition for the Sunday organ concerts in Balboa Park, Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays America to get things started.
A tradition for the Sunday organ concerts in Balboa Park, Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays America to get things started.
The San Diego audience loved our new Civic Organist from the word go.
The San Diego audience loved our new Civic Organist from the word go.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about coming to San Diego, before his brilliant performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about coming to San Diego, before his brilliant performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
Playing the Spreckels Organ with style and passion.
Playing the Spreckels Organ with style and passion.
There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.
There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.
Finishing a difficult Classical piece with a triumphant flourish.
Finishing a difficult Classical piece with a triumphant flourish.
With theatrical flair, Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about the next piece, Danse Macabre.
With theatrical flair, Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about the next piece, Danse Macabre.
Concentration.
Concentration.
Feeling.
Feeling.
Intensity.
Intensity.
More smiles.
More smiles.
After a great organ rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, Spreckels Organ Society's Executive Director Ross Porter announces kids are needed for the next number.
After a great organ rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, Spreckels Organ Society’s Executive Director Ross Porter announces kids are needed for the next number.
Kids from the audience take the stage right next to the Spreckels Organ console.
Kids from the audience take the stage right next to the Spreckels Organ console.
Here comes a fifth kid.
Here comes a fifth kid.
Instructions are secretly given.
Instructions are secretly given.
While Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays Batalla Famosa, the kids read a short sentence that introduces each part of the music.
While Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays Batalla Famosa, the kids read a short dramatic sentence that introduces each part of the music.
Too much fun!
Too much fun!
Meet the new San Diego Civic Organist, Raúl Prieto Ramírez!
Meet the new San Diego Civic Organist, Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

New wonders and discoveries in Balboa Park.

A small dog dressed like Santa attracts as much attention as the musician performing by the Balboa Park reflecting pool.
A tiny dog dressed like Santa Claus attracts a lot of attention. The friendly musician performing by the Balboa Park reflecting pool didn’t seem to mind.

Christmas is coming on Monday. So I was given this afternoon off from work.

Even on the second day of winter, San Diego is pure sunshine.

As I got my legs pumping, Balboa Park seemed like the perfect destination. It’s a magical place that’s always full of new wonders and unexpected discoveries.

Something very cool is coming this weekend. I’ve been invited on a special tour of the Modern Masters from Latin America exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art. I’ll probably blog about the experience on Tuesday, the day after Christmas. Meanwhile, I’m going to take a short break here and perhaps do a bit of writing.

I hope you all have a wonderful and very merry next few days!

Young and old peer into a magical fountain near the Botanical Building.
Young and old peer into a magical fountain near the Botanical Building.
Moving through the wonder-filled Casa del Prado, turning a corner.
People move past light-filled archways, turn a corner…
I was told these guys were filming the comic show Cult of Kevin in the outdoor courtyard of the Casa del Prado.
I was told these guys were filming the pilot of a funny show called “Cult of Kyle” in the outdoor courtyard of the Casa del Prado.
Many faces among leaves. Art discovered on Spanish Village's outdoor Studio 10 work table.
Many faces among fallen leaves. Sketches discovered unexpectedly in Spanish Village, on a worktable outside Studio 10.
Sunlight on trunks and leaves at the edge of Palm Canyon.
Bright sunlight on trunks and leaves at the edge of Balboa Park’s Palm Canyon.
The effort to save the Starlight Bowl has made great progress! They finally have a Special Use Permit from the City of San Diego!
The effort to save the Starlight Bowl has made great progress! They finally have a Special Use Permit from the City of San Diego!
I was told that two new marble benches outside the entrance of the San Diego Air and Space Museum are about one month old. They were donated by North American Aviation, Inc.
I was told that two shiny new marble benches outside the entrance of the San Diego Air and Space Museum are about one month old. They were donated by retirees of North American Aviation.
People are entertained on El Prado one beautiful winter's day in Balboa Park. The facade of the Casa del Prado makes a fantastic backdrop.
People are entertained on El Prado one beautiful winter’s day in Balboa Park. The facade of the Casa del Prado makes a fantastic backdrop.
This cool guy had a long rope that generated zillions of bubbles at once!
This cool guy near the Zoro Garden had a long rope that generated zillions of bubbles at once!
I often see this silent, very funny busker in Seaport Village. He was performing his magic today in Balboa Park.
I often see this silent busker in Seaport Village. He was juggling and performing magic today in Balboa Park.
Filling the air with living music in front of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
A musician breathes life into the park. A small scene in front of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Happy Holidays!

Richard