What Is Before The Mast?

Before The Mast is nine guys who sing the sea shanties and sea songs that working men sang aboard ships in the age of sail.  They sing with gusto and energy, balanced with heartfelt ballads and carefully-arranged harmonies.  Like the sailors of old, they sing a-cappella (without instruments), allowing the beautiful blend of male voices in harmony to shine through.  

How did the group start? 

As a young man, Gary Caines had a strong desire to start a group to sing the sea songs that he grew up listening to.  His father, a Coast Guard captain, would occasionally sing "come all ye's", which piqued Gary's interest a a boy.  In 2008 he gathered a couple of friends (Paul-Emile and Greg among them) and started singing these songs just for fun.  Public performances soon followed and more crew were added. Today there are nine guys who perform regularly. 

Where Does The Group Perform?

Before The Mast has performed in venues ranging from living rooms to large theatres.  We regularly perform for fundraisers and at nursing and long-term care homes as well as regular shows and festivals.

Some notable past shows include:

  • St-Jean Port-Joli Festival des Chants de Marins (Quebec)
  • Fundy Trail Parkway Concert Series (several years) (St. Martins)
  • Trinity Church Music Series (Saint John)
  • King's Square (Saint John)
  • Miramichi Folksong Festival
  • Several years for the Road Scholar Educational Travel and Learning Program (St. Martins)
  • Tay Creek Folk Festival (Tay Creek, NB)
  • Campobello Fogfest (Campobello Island, NB)
  • Swallowtail Lighthouse Benefit (Grand Manan, NB)
  • Canada Day at Fundy National Park (NB)

What is a Before The Mast show like?

Their shows mainly consist of singing a mixture of sea shanties, sea songs, and related folk ballads.  Stories, humour, and education about the types of shanties and life about ships in the Age ofSail is added where appropriate.  Show content is adjusted to fit event and audience requirements.

Is Before The Mast available for my event?

Before The Mast is able to perform at nearly any type of event.  Please contact us for more information.


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