Many evenings, when walking past the Glazer Lounge on Deck 7 of the MV Explorer, absolutely lovely piano music can be heard. This is no recording. Lifelong Learner Peter Divine, of Boulder, Colorado, is once again gracing the piano in the lounge used by faculty, staff and Lifelong Learners. On his first voyage with the Semester at Sea study abroad program, the Spring 2007 semester, he made lasting friends and was a prominent fixture at the piano during evening gatherings. Then, his first day onboard for this Fall 2011 voyage brought a surprising link to that first journey.
After boarding in Montreal, Peter was re-orienting himself with the ship and went to see if the lounge piano was as he remembered it. Realizing he did not have his music with him, he looked in the bench to see if there was any sheet music, and found something he had not expected. There in the bench were his notebooks of music, now four and a half years old. Several days later, he went to the library to see if they had any more music he could check out, only to be offered another of his old notebooks!
The continuity with the past, as well as the many new friends and experiences, is at the heart of what Semester at Sea is really about. When asked about his favorite memories from Spring 2007, Peter discussed Ruby, the fellow Lifelong Learner who asked him to play “Goodnight Irene” each night before she left to go to sleep. He spoke about Lynn, the woman with whom he performed in a shipboard talent show, and whose daughter he will be visiting in Ghana this week.
Peter’s music is both lively and calming, and those listening to him play in the Glazer Lounge now are in esteemed company. During his first voyage, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, our distinguished guest in South Africa, sailed for the entire voyage. Several evenings he was the only other person in the lounge, and he would do his work while listening to Peter play. After the voyage, the Archbishop sent Peter a message thanking him for his music.
The Spring 2007 itinerary was very similar to ours, so there are just a few new countries that Peter will be visiting. However, he feels that that the best experiences of the voyage are the social interactions, not just with people in port, but those aboard the ship as well. He spoke of events that united students, faculty, staff and Lifelong Learners and created the community he remembers so fondly. As we reach our second port and continue to get to know one another, Peter’s words are the perfect guidance for all of us. And when we are again at sea, I strongly recommend stopping by Glazer around 5:30pm to hear a wonderful evening concert.