In June of 1941 a book of lyrics was printed by Star Island for use by island guests and even for mainland engagements. This book, while just a small dot on the timeline of Star Island’s history, speaks to the power of music that so many people have felt when visiting the Isles of Shoals. From the salons of Celia Thaxter to last year’s September weekend featuring both Chamber Music and the Fall Back to Star concert series, the power of lyrics and music have been a hallmark of this island community.
A note from the editors “To All Shoalers” share how the songs printed in the booklet “typify the life and spirit of Shoals Fellowship — a most loyal group of people numbering well into the thousands.” And in each instance the songs, often re-worked lyrics to popular tunes, capture either a very particular aspect of Star Island or grasps the overarching sentiments one feels when stepping foot on island.
A song like “Island Treasures” touches on the histry of Star mentioning both the “fishermen sturdy and strong” and how “today we are gathered for work and for play.”
The sense of passion for Star Island is present in each song, especially one like “Star Island, I Love You” which includes such lines as “You are the isles of my dreams;” “Just like a perfect jewel,” and concludes with “Star Island, oh I love you, and there are twenty thousand others like me.”
While not suggesting you post videos on Youtube of you and your friends harmonizing “Shoals Hymn” it would make a great challenge. The song is written to the tune of “Materna” which most people know as “America The Beautiful”. Written in 1930 by Josiah R. Bartlett, this song speaks to Star Island’s current vision statement with lyrics like “Star Island, thou art the source of ideals high and true, and may thy torch, which guides us on, burn brighter, ever new.” What is our vision statement? Click here to find out.
Credit for the booklet goes to Robert and Carola Hinke who designed, illustrated and printed it at the Easterwood Press in East Orange, NJ. Their publication brought this remark from the editors: “The collection has been housed in a durable and attractive form” which could easily be said of Star Island.
Take a look at a few of the songs from the Shoals Song Book and remember the closing words of editors Pauline Wood Cutten, Frederick T. McGill, Dorothy Nugent, and Carl B. Wetherell: “Singing people are happy people!”
Want to sing these songs on Star Island? Registration for 2016 summer conferences starts on January 1, 2016