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We do get the oddest questions sometimes...and we're pleased to answer them.

Was there really a Great Sea Serpent of Cape Ann?

"They told me of a sea serpent, or snake, that lay quoiled up like a cable upon the rock at Cape Ann; a boat passing by with English on board, and two Indians, they would have shot the serpent, but the Indians dissuaded them, saying that if he were not killed outright, they would all be in danger of their lives..." --John Josselyn, 1638

"taken from life as appeared in Gloucester Harbour, August 23, 1817."

How much do you charge?

It depends on when and where, how many performers, for how long, whether or not we need to bring our sound system, whether or not in costume, and how far away from Boston. We love to play for audiences as small as 15-50 people, and we have played for groups of 1500 and up. For each band member, we like to bring home somewhere from $100 per two-hour concert, and we charge extra to bring our sound system and to perform in historical costumes.  Please contact us to see how we can help you meet both your budget and your program plans.

Are you available for my event?

Please call David "Doc" Rosen at 617-522-7020. You can also email djrosen@comcast.net

Who were the American Army of Two?

A sailor's yarn from fellow chantey singer David Kessler. Listen to the song here.

Some stories aren't captured by the standard ship's log. Captain Drew and I sailed in his Tartan 27' Gray Dawn from Salem down to Scituate over Memorial Day weekend. Winds were light at the start of the trip, but somewhere off of Boston they picked up and got progressively stronger right up until we reached Scituate harbor, allowing us to make decent time overall, as we enjoyed the bright sunny day. 

In Scituate we met up with a couple of his friends, took an afternoon sail, and had some dinner on shore before splitting up, his friends back to their B&B and us back to Gray Dawn. We got some sleep, and early the next morning we took the launch to shore to find some breakfast before starting back north for Salem.

Well, Scituate doesn't have any place to get a decent breakfast. We found a Dunkin Donuts and figured that there had to be something better somewhere (how can you have a harbor and not have a greasy spoon of some sort?). As we were walking toward the north end of town, Drew mumbled something, and then asked me if I had ever heard of a Rebecca and Abigail Bates.

The names were familiar, but I was still waking up and couldn't recall why. I followed his eyes to the small, yellow house we were walking by. It was set back slightly from the road, and on the side of the house was a plaque.

Ah yes, I said, and began telling him the story of how the lighthouse keeper's daughters managed to repel a party of redcoats using a combination of musical instruments and pluck, and that this was how these two could be war heroes in a time when women didn't regularly get that distinction.

Drew was a little surprised that I had so many facts of the story ready to tell (especially before breakfast), and asked how I knew the story.

As an explanation I sang him the two choruses of "American Army of Two". I first heard this song almost one year earlier, while getting ready for the Gloucester Hornpipe & Clog Society’s Harborfest concert on George’s Island, and they played it that day as part of their first show (an obvious choice for Independence Day weekend). I had hardly thought about it since, but apparently enough of the song had remained in my memory to be useful that morning.

So for those stories that aren't captured by the standard ship’s log, or by the standard history book, sometimes a good song works just fine.

What do you need from us when you play?

At a minimum, we need chairs (without arms) and bottled water, and an electrical outlet for our sound system if needed. Our sound system requires two 3-prong outlets and provides 16 channels of stereo sound, suitable for audiences up to 300.

While we have performed in some amazingly small venues (including Club Passim and the Wayside Inn), our ideal stage area is a raised platform or stage approximately 8' deep x 24' wide.  For smaller venues, we may be available as a duo, trio, or quartet; please inquire.

If we are providing the sound system, we will need parking and access to the venue 1-2 hours before the event. An elevator and/or moving dollies are always much appreciated, as is help with load-in and take-down.  

What do you need if we provide the sound?

Chairs, bottled water, and an audience!

What happens to an outdoor concert if it rains?

We play outdoors a lot, and we enjoy it. We've learned how to plan ahead with both the organizers and the audience for a successful outdoor music event.

CANCELLATION: We will be happy to discuss your event cancellation plan when making the booking. Unless we have received 24 hours notice, we will expect to play (and be paid).

SHELTER ON STAGE: Our acoustic instruments cannot play in the rain, nor can our sound system. We must reserve the option to delay or cancel if no shelter is available on stage.

SHELTER FOR THE AUDIENCE: We have had audiences happily singing and dancing in the rain! We still recommend a rain plan that provides sheltered seating for our listeners wherever possible. 

RAIN DATES: If your event has a rain date, please include it in your contract. With the understanding that one or more band members may have other commitments on alternate dates, we will make every effort to provide entertainment on your chosen rain date as needed.

How did you get your band's unusual name?

Owen Hartford and David "Doc" Rosen co-founded the band in 1975, and before they had a name he and David played a church supper in Gloucester.  The minister asked what they called themselves. David looked down at his music stand, which held sheet music for a clog and a hornpipe, and replied, "We're the, uh, Hornpipe and Clog ... Society."  The minister turned to the audience and proclaimed, "Ladies and gentlemen, the Gloucester Hornpipe and Clog Society!"  We've had the name ever since.