Concerts ahoy! Shifty Sailors to perform Saturday

Landlubbers are invited to experience a mini concert by two musical groups who have joined together.

Landlubbers are invited to experience a mini concert this weekend by two musical groups who have joined together for the very first time.

The Shifty Sailors, a men’s choir that has been singing songs about the sea for the past 28 years, will be accompanied by string instruments from the Saratoga Orchestra.

“The Wellerman” and other songs will come to the South Whidbey Community Center courtyard at 1 p.m. and the Coupeville Town Park Pavilion at 4 p.m. July 24.

Both concerts, which are about 45 minutes long, are free of charge, although ticket reservations made online at will help the event organizers know how many people to prepare for.

The orchestra will be playing a few songs on its own, including hits from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” For the duration of four songs, the strings will accompany the singers. Oak Harbor musician Sean Brown, who is part of the Saratoga Orchestra, composed the arrangements for the songs.

Larry Heidel, the executive director for the Saratoga Orchestra, said this is the first time the orchestra and the choir have performed together. The concert will feature the song that has become an internationally known TikTok sensation.

“We thought it would be kind of fun to have the music from social media played,” Heidel said.

Shifty Sailor Jim Lightner said the group has gotten several requests to sing the newly popular sea shanty, “The Wellerman.”

“It’s an old, old song that went viral on the internet this winter when a guy from the U.K. decided to sing this song,” said Lightner, who has been part of the Shifty Sailors for the past 17 years.

The choir will also sing another popular sea shanty, “Drunken Sailor,” as well as “Away to America” and “Greenland Fishery.” The songs date back to the 1700s and 1800s.

As always, the group will give the history and the background of each song being sung.

“We sing harmony, and most shanty groups do not,” Lightner said. “We have four-part harmony so we have a little bit more entertaining sounds than typical shanty groups.”

The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend at the two outdoor performances.

“Bring a hat and a lawn chair,” Heidel advised.

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