St. Louis-based diva Christine Brewer, who usually sings in the great opera houses and orchestra halls of the world, clung to the piano on the stage of a cruise ship’s gaudy show lounge, fighting to maintain her balance. The ship listed severely to starboard; so did she.

Brewer and her accompanist, pianist Craig Rutenberg, performed songs by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss over considerable engine noise as the MS Veendam left the harbor at Tallinn, Estonia. But they were finally defeated when the captain made a long-winded announcement to explain the alarming tilt. When he finished, they started again.


Part of me wants to say, “Humbug!” But there’s this other part that says, “Gee, it kind of sounds like fun!”

I’ve never been on a cruise. I was asked to play on a trio once that was going to do an Alaska cruise, but the kiddos were small and it wasn’t the right time. Now I wonder if I could stand the feeling of being trapped on a ship. I dunno. I probably won’t ever know, since I think my cruise opportunities are gone. I know, though, I wouldn’t be like Brewer when she says, “any time I’m in a public area, I’m sort of ‘on.’ I can’t be too casual; I have to have some makeup on. And remembering everybody’s names is hard.”

Makeup? Um. Not usually. And names? Really bad with names.

But of course she is a star (and I’ve heard her and she really is a star) and a lowly oboist wouldn’t be the center of attention. Certainly not this lowly oboe player. (Maybe the famous oboe folk (FOF™) would be, but even that’s doubtful; how many FOFs can you name that would draw in a crowd?)

Now a Reed Making Cruise … that’s sure to be a hit.

Um. Right?


  1. I just got back from my first cruise a week or so ago. Just a little three-day Mexico thing. It was fun, but I’m not sure I would like anything longer than that – I guess it would depend on the ports of call and the ship (I would’ve run out of things to do on the ship I was just on if the cruise had been much longer).

    As for the entertainment, I definitely thought about whether or not I could do something like that. They didn’t feature any classical music. The final night they had a singing/dancing show, and it was really cheesy. I’m not sure I could’ve done it. Well, I could’ve, but I doubt I would’ve enjoyed it. It’s nice to know that there are boats out there that feature something other than over-choreographed, hideously-costumed revues.

  2. Well, I know for certain that some of my classical music pals have done cruises … I’m not sure, though, if it was completely classical music that was on the cruise, or if it was just one choice for the patrons.

    Me? I just don’t think a cruise is my cuppa. Now a train trip … I do dream of those! 🙂

    I think I like solid ground.