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UAF’s new research vessel to get a musical voice


Fairbanks, Alaska—The Research Vessel Sikuliaq is gaining another unique attribute this month – an original soundtrack.

Emerson Eads, a graduate student in the music department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, composed Song of the Sikuliaq in honor of R/V Sikuliaq. His work was supported by a grant from the UAF People’s Endowment. The Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Eduard Zilberkant, agreed to rehearse the piece and will perform it in a recording session Sept. 29.

The recording session is closed to the public to ensure the best audio quality, but a rehearsal at the Davis Concert Hall on Sept. 25 from 6:30 – 7 p.m. will be open to the media. Interview opportunities with Eads, Zilberkant and Michael Castellini, dean of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, will be offered before the rehearsal from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. and after the rehearsal from 7 – 7:30 p.m.

“The piece celebrates the magnificence of the ship and its significance for the university,” said Eads, “Song of the Sikuliaq is a song for mezzo-soprano, trumpet, percussion and chamber orchestra. The mezzo-soprano sings without words. She represents the voice of the ship as well as the voice of the earth calling for somber reflection and subsequent passionate stewardship.”

The R/V Sikuliaq (pronounced see-KOO-lee-ack), currently under construction in Marinette, WI, is scheduled for christening and launch Oct. 13. The 261-foot ship is owned by the National Science Foundation and will be operated by the UAF as a member of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System fleet. The R/V Sikuliaq is expected to arrive in its homeport of Seward by January 2014.

The People's Endowment was established at the UA Foundation in 1986. Grants are intended to be used for a special project or to fill a critical need at UAF that would likely remain unfunded due to institutional priorities.

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