FAIRBANKS – The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ new ice-capable research vessel, the R/V Sikuliaq, will slip into the waters of Wisconsin on Saturday to music composed in its name by UAF graduate student Emerson Eads.
Audio and video recordings of the performance of Eads’ “Song of the Sikuliaq” by the Arctic Chamber Orchestra will be played during the official launch ceremony before the vessel slides off the dock Saturday at Marinette Marine Corp., in Marinette, Wis.
“Song of the Sikuliaq” contains three main elements — mezzo-soprano, trumpet and percussion. Eads said “a sense of sobriety” is how one might feel after hearing the piece start to finish. A mezzo-soprano represents the voice of the vessel; the trumpet speaks to the impact of man and industry; and the percussion recreates natural sounds.
The 261-foot R/V Sikuliaq will be owned by the National Science Foundation, operated by UAF and berthed at the Seward Marine Center. As many as 24 scientists can spend 30 days at stations on the new vessel. Its ice capabilities will allow operations in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas throughout much of the year. The R/V Sikuliaq will begin research in January 2014.
Robin Wood is a senior at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, majoring in journalism.