Probably, the only certainty right now is that everything is uncertain. Most of us cling to the notion that we can handle anything as long as we know what is happening, what is expected and what the rules are. As of today, we are 0 for 3 in terms of the current crisis. How we handle our 2021 sailings may not be at the top of anyone’s agenda, but it is the driving force for The Weekender, so I thought it would make sense to share some thoughts with you on that subject.
First, and foremost, the safety of our guests will not be compromised. So, what does that mean? It means that we are not sailing unless there is a plan in place to ensure the safety of everyone. Clearly, if a vaccine is discovered, that would be the silver bullet for safety. Short of that, I believe it is reasonable to assume that a test will be available before our 2021 sailings that will be able to determine on the spot if someone has COVID-19. In my discussions with Celebrity Cruises, 100 percent certain testing is what they are seeking as well. This would include all guests, crew, artists, staff, etc. The ultimate standard is to make sure every individual sailing is 100 percent clear of the virus. Our mantra must be “Sail in Safety.”
Can this be done? Most people believe that a rock solid test is achievable in the near term. Certainly in the time frame we need. We are monitoring this development in real time. The entire scientific world is pursuing this objective together, without ego or jealousy. My faith in them is high. There must be a Jonas Salk or a Louis Pasteur about to emerge.
Working towards the goal of safe sailings in 2021 is inspiring. Music and the shared experience of enjoying live music is important. Doing so provides us with joy, excitement and punctuates our love of life. More than 50 staterooms were reserved this week alone for our jazz programs in 2021. Our patrons will be ready to sail when the time comes.
Being cavalier about the dangers of uncontrollable disease is foolish, but fighting hard to overcome its grip and live our lives to the fullest is both noble and essential. Walking the line between safety and fulfillment is a difficult task, but we are hell bent to do it right. We believe that Celebrity Cruises, together with CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) will and must create a safe environment for cruise ships in the near term. They have to do this.
Our cruise programs are a business, one that entertains over 8,000 guests, employs hundreds of people, and pays musicians more than $4 million each year. Keeping that business healthy in this environment is no small task. Yet, the health of the business will always play the understudy to the health of our guests. Those roles will never change.
What do each of us need to do right now? Be patient. Follow the rules. Hope for the best. Believe in the future. Trust that people of skill and good will are fighting every day for a solution. Do not give in or give up.
Our Take is written by Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of The Jazz Cruise, The Smooth Jazz Cruise and Blue Note at Sea. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tune In: This Week’s Online Show Lineup
With venues and festivals on hiatus during the pandemic, more and more artists are keeping the music going by streaming songs, concerts or workshops online. Each week we’re going to spotlight a couple of our favorite artists by co-hosting one of their live shows on the Facebook pages of The Smooth Jazz Cruise and The Jazz Cruise.
This spring Kurt Elling was all set to tour with pianist Danilo Pérez to support the release of their album Secrets Are the Best Stories. Now, with the tour postponed, Kurt is sheltering in place in New York City with his wife and two children. Every Friday at 6 p.m. EDT, he hosts “The Cocktail Hour, with Kurt Elling” on Facebook, where he talks about music, plays some cuts and takes questions from the viewers. We’re proud to co-host the next edition: Friday, April 17, at 6 p.m. EDT on The Jazz Cruise’s Facebook page. Just imagine you’re sitting in the Martini Bar on the ship.
The Jazz House Kids organization, founded by Melissa Walker and her husband Christian McBride, who both sailed with us on The Jazz Cruise and Blue Note at Sea earlier this year, is hosting Master Classes every Wednesday for not only its students but also for any interested young musicians. In addition, they’re presenting “Hang @ Home with Christian” – almost like a talk show featuring Christian as the host with various guests around a particular theme. Last week’s edition was on drummers. Next week we’re pleased to co-host “Hang @ Home with Christian” in which he’ll talk sax and spin music with noted saxophonists Steve Wilson, Bruce Williams, Ron Blake and Lauren Sevian. Tune in on The Jazz Cruise’s Facebook page at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17.
That’s some great music to fill your soul as we continue to shelter in place. Stay tuned to The Weekender and our Facebook pages for more online show announcements!
BC’s New Album Is Available Right Now!
Brian Culbertson’s 20th album project, aptly titled “XX,” is a genre-bending ride through tracks reminiscent of all of BC’s amazing albums and performances.
“There’s a lot of funky instrumentals, some pop-sounding tracks, a couple slow jams, straight-ahead jazz, gospel, some vocals, lots of horns and some straight-up funk,” Brian said.
The new album’s retro-charged first single, “Get Up!” is already in the Billboard Top 6. Featuring awesome collaborations, songs conceived during soundchecks on tour and big-scale productions, this album embodies strength, grace, creativity and positivity with a mesmerizing Zen vibe. All of the reasons why we love music and Brian Culbertson.
Brian said he hopes the collection will uplift listeners during this time of social distancing. We know what we’re listening to this weekend!