Rental Accordions and Yoga with Deany: The McMurdo Music Scene

For a community that has a population of about 800-1000 people, McMurdo has a vibrant music scene.

I suspect the band room and gear issue have something to do with it. At McMurdo’s gear issue room, you can borrow musical instruments of all kinds for free (with a deposit). I’ve seen lots of percussion instruments, several keyboards, a few ukuleles, an accordion, a concertina, some wind instruments, and several guitars there. I donated my red plastic p-bone trombone, since I hadn’t played it in ages and thought it might be good for some giggles here.

The band room is a music lover’s paradise. Specifically, it’s an electric guitar lover’s paradise. But it also has several electric basses, a drum set, keyboard, banjo, ukulele, and acoustic-electric violin that I was overjoyed to see, since I had elected not to bring my own violin. Allegedly there’s a cello somewhere on the band room loft, but I haven’t gone up to investigate.

I was invited to join a bluegrass band called “Sugarfoot” less than two weeks after arriving. I sat next to a man with a digital recorder in the computer room one evening and was nosy enough to ask him about it. Turns out he was Sugarfoot’s mandolin player, and they were looking for a fiddle player.

That will teach me to be nosy in computer rooms.

We have had one gig so far, at Gallagher’s pub. It was a lot of fun and it was the first time I had ever played in a bar.

I really like playing with Sugarfoot. Being in a band was near the top of my McMurdo wish list, and playing music here has helped me miss my band back home a little less. If I come back next year, which I’m hoping to do, I might try to form a singing group.

Most of the bands I’ve heard or heard of so far are rock bands. Cover bands seem to be pretty common. One of my bandmates told me there was once a Weezer cover band here called “Freezer.” McMurdo-themed names abound. When Sugarfoot played at Gallagher’s, we were opening for a saxophone-led rock band called “Yoga with Deany,” named after one of McMurdo’s beloved volunteer yoga instructors.


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