Harbor Symphony

Do you (or a friend) have access to a boat (ship, tug, tanker, trawler, yacht…) with a loud horn or whistle? Do you play a loud, low acoustic instrument audible from at least 200 yards (Sousaphone, tuba, trombone, foghorn, chain saw, Alphorn, hammer/anvil, church carillon, or are you part of a drum circle or Dykes on Bikes)? Are you near Duluth-Superior on Labor Day Saturday and available to premiere a giant piece of music during DS Pride celebrations? We need your help!

Philip Blackburn, St. Paul based environmental sound artist, through an Artist Initiative fellowship from the Minnesota State Arts Board, is composing a Harbor Serenade for as many community participants as possible; all honking, blowing, hooting and tooting across the water (and a few on the shoreline). His 2003 Harbor Symphony for St. John’s, Newfoundland involved 6 ships’ horns and can be heard here: http://soundcloud.com/innovadotmu/harbour-symphony

Now he is bringing the idea to Lake Superior for the first time, as a way to bring fresh attention to the soundscape of this special place. Philip will provide a simple set of instructions (no musical knowledge required). You just need to get into position somewhere on the lake within earshot of Bayfront Festival Park, start at the appointed time (3pm precisely), and honk or play according to the chart. It should all be over in 8 minutes or so and we expect there will be an audience of a few hundred thousand. Think of it as a flash mob maritime symphony orchestra.

Please spread this invitation around and respond if you have questions, would like to participate, or have suggestions about contacts. We don’t want this to be a surprise so let’s get the word out to media ahead of time.

Thanks. Looking forward to making some noise with you.

Visit philipblackburn.com for background on the artist.
Phone: 651 714-4963

Please respond to this invitation if you have great ideas, want to help organize, have questions, or can play on the day.



about 13 years ago

So we need a drum circle or two, a couple harley riders, some tubas and some watercraft. 

I think this could be a really unique way to showcase the harbor during a quirky weekend festival!

Kala S

about 13 years ago

I have a sousaphone, a trombone and a vuvuzella. I would love to participate!! Problem... I don't have a boat or access to one. Is there going to be any space on land that's okay to play from or would any kind people that would be willing to make space on theirs for a couple of people, a couple normal sized and one really large instrument? 

Please and thank you!

mary hallsten

about 13 years ago

How about me joining you with my Bari Saxophone? I've been told my low tones will raise the lift bridge! HA!
Just let me know where and when.


about 13 years ago

I own an ashiko that is badly in need of a tune, and a couple of singing bowls and tingshaw.


about 13 years ago

Have trombone, would like to play!

Philip Blackburn

about 13 years ago

Thanks for responding! The answers are yes, yes, yes.  If you are Facebook members please sign up as Attending at the Event page for "Duluth Harbor Serenade" so we can share developments and instructions.

Being aboard a boat is not a requirement at all, we will have a few dozen players around the perimeter walking path, surround the audience on the lawn.

Even if you don't have an instrument but would like to play I will bring a few to share. We'll meet at the park at 2pm on the day to go through the game plan.

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