Performing familiar songs that largely delighted the people who attended an event to remember the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, Ron Hynes’ set took a sombre turn with the debut of his new song, “Ship of Dreams.”
“All hope is fading, upon a ship of dreams,” he sang. “Her first and last at sea, soon she’ll be history. Our hearts are frantic, because we can’t be gods of how we go, to the cold Atlantic, to be lost and never found.”
The audience gave Hynes a standing ovation for his performance of the song, which was specifically commissioned for the Receiving Titanic Saturday evening commemoration event.
“I think they liked it — I hope they liked it,” said a somewhat modest Hynes following his performance.
A full day of activities took place at Cape Race, Portugal Cove South and in Trepassey to recognize the tragic events of April 14, 1912, when the ship thought to have been unsinkable did indeed plummet 4,000 metres to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
More than 1,500 people died.
As part of Saturday evening’s event, a simulated distress signal was scheduled to be sent from the Azamara Journey above the RMS Titanic’s present resting place to Cape Race.
Cape Race, located almost 500 kilometres due south of the wreckage, is said to have been the first place to receive a distress signal from Titanic.
The signal was received by the late Jimmy Myrick. On Saturday, his nephew David Myrick was set to receive the simulated distress signal.
Filmmaker James Cameron, who directed the blockbuster movie “Titanic,” served as an ambassador for the Receiving Titanic event. He offered greetings from Las Vegas to those gathered in Trepassey during a five-minute phone conversation.
“I’d like to send my voice of support to the people there in Cape Race that are gathered to remember the role of Cape Race,” said Cameron. “I’d like to congratulate you for getting together to remember your own history and to keep that memory alive, because it’s really important to do that.”
Several items autographed by Cameron were available in a silent auction, with proceeds going towards Cape Race-Portugal Cove South Heritage Inc., the non-profit group who organized Receiving Titanic.
Parks Stephenson, an American Titanic expert who has worked with Cameron, was also present Saturday. He spoke at length about the ship’s sinking and mentioned his own theory that Titanic did not hit the iceberg on its side but, instead, sailed over it.
Keith Hutchings, innovation, business and rural development minister and the MHA for Ferryland, commended the volunteers who helped make Receiving Titanic happen.
“We know that the sea for us brings much bounty, but also tragedy, and it’s certainly important to remember that and our history,” he said.
Among those pleased to see the event take place was Larry Daley, lead co-ordinator for Receiving Titanic.
“The event here tonight is great, but until it’s all over and everything works, that’s when I’ll relax,” said Daley, who was on his feet through most of Saturday’s commemoration events.
“I think in some way everyone has been touched by the Titanic tragedy, and especially in Newfoundland and Labrador on the southern shore and the Cape Race area. They have such a great connection to the Titanic story.”