Testimonials

JAMISON SMELTZ

My wife Karla and I were along on CTTE '14 because I hit 50 and wanted it. I'm a big Prog fan, she less so; we both are musicians too, and we were both excited to join other fans for the jams as part of the AHEPJ.

I quit my last 'day job' in '99, opting to see if I could make it as a full-time musician. Since then I make most of my living teaching music, from recorder classes for K-3 kids to School Band for 3-6th graders to a kids' non-profit group for middle and high school kids, plus private lessons on sax and clarinet.

I've played as well in bands of every stripe, from polka to classical to jazz to chamber performance metal. I've done a tiny bit of touring, and a few wonderful trips to Vegas and Toronto and the Pacific Coast and even the US and Europe as a player.

I'm a competent player. I have moments of genius but many more of competence. But if it weren't for teaching I wouldn't be able to make it as a musician. Just a fact of the last 15 years.

There is a small amount of sax in classic prog. I have never had the opportunity to perform most of this, as finding like-minded souls who are interested and able to play it is daunting. When Rael and JoJo (both of whom I know, as their SF Bay-Area neighbor) announced their plan, I saw my opportunity to finally make this happen.

So I got to play on classic Floyd and Crimson tunes. And got to sing on a few as well. And play some bass on some old Genesis. And yes, it was just as amazing as I always knew it would be.

I am still a fan, mostly on the outside looking in. I consider myself often a "semi-pro," for though I have the instrumental competence and pro gear, I have never found a situation that will make me a peer with my musical heroes. My work with miRthkon gives me great pride, but despite 2 tours, 2 well-received albums and a live DVD, we're very much an 'acquired taste' that even Prog fans find a bit 'dense.' And so we gig sporadically, if at all. And despite playing locally with about 10 bands, my calendar has far too many empty weekends.

CTTE gave me the opportunity to play this music I love, that has shaped me as a musician, with other fans, most of them quite astounding players. To an appreciative and enthusiastic crowd of other fans, who get this music and are as moved by it as I have been, And as our heroes looked on from the bar, I felt a little closer to my dream of being ... One of Us.







VAUGHAN MERLYN

When I first heard about Cruise to the Edge (CTTE) 2014, I was excited to sign up because of Yes and the other outstanding prog-rock talent that was going to be on the cruise. Then a friend who had been on CTTE 2013 told me about the After Hours Electric Prog Jam (AHEPJ)葉his sounded very much up my street, so I found the AHEPJ space on FaceBook, and signed up. This was when the fun REALLY began!

I was astounded at how well organized AHEPJ was由ael and JoJo were superb organizers and hosts (and turned out to be great performers, too!). There was a comprehensive slate of prog songs to sign up for容verything from Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, to Marillion, King Crimson, etc. For each song, you could sign up for bass, guitar, vocals, drums, keys, etc. Signing up to participate in the AHEPJ was a fun process in its own right要ery thorough and very fair容veryone got a chance to play something!

As an added bonus, there was a pre-cruise opportunity to perform at the wonderful Hard Rock Cafe in Miami, Florida on the night before the cruise. This was a great time to meet our hosts, fellow jammers and cruisers.

Then came the cruise itself. Of course, with so much prog talent, it felt like wall-to-wall heaven窯uite incredible. But when the 素ormal bands (paid talent) finished for the night, the AHEPJ fired up, and what an absolute blast! These jams (not really jams, as everyone came well-prepared, and knew their parts) were all night affairs, and the quality of the 疎mateur talent was outstanding! On the first night, our audience was fairly small熔utnumbered by the jammers. On night 2, the word had got around, and the lounge was starting to pack with cruise guests who壇 heard about the amazing amateur performances. By the third night, even the pros had heard about and came to listen to, and in several cases, join in with the AHEPJ.

The net result葉his was a cruise like no other! 24 hours of proj heaven, and a chance to meet new people and perform rock music痴 finest works預ll in a beautiful setting! I can recommend the 2015 CTTE without an reservations遥ou will have the time of your life, and will make friends for a lifetime. If I知 ever having a down day, I look at the photos and videos from the AHEPJ預nd the day immediately feels better, and a wide smile comes to my face!







VANCE GLOSTER

AHEPJ helped me to discover I am a prog changeling. I was raised in a non-prog family in a non-prog community, and was unaware that my *real* tribe--people who love and play the same music I love and play--was gathering on the cruise. Playing complex prog tunes with great musicians--without rehearsal--and having it sound great: priceless. It was like coming home to the prog parallel universe I never knew existed!







ALEX KEYBOARDS

I had the extreme pleasure of attending Cruise To The Edge 2014. I had heard about the previous (2013) CTTE from my friend who had attended who had reported having a great time.

I was attracted by the headliners, primarily UK who almost never appears in public, as well as Patrick Moraz, Steve Hackett and friends and, of course Yes.

What I didn't expect was the opportunity to play Progressive Rock with players ranging from semi-professional (like myself) to world class, for an audience of Progressive Rock fans who totally love this kind of music. What I really didn't expect was for the composers and performers of the very music we were playing to be enthusiastically witnessing our playing and responding with approval and excitement.

This was the absolute high point in my musical life.

Then, when they announced CTTE 2015, I, and several of the friends I made on CTTE 2014 waited to hear who the headliners would be this year. Many of us found the lineup to be disappointing and waivered between attending and not. Quite a few alumni will not be there this year for that reason, although we still hope the production company will make one or more surprise announcements of some more of the performers we crave to see.

In my case, the main reason I will be attending CTTE 2015 is the After Hours Electric Prog Jam (AHEPJ). I am sure I will enjoy Lifesigns, Yes and some of the other acts as well, but were it not for AHEPJ, I would not be attending this year.