To get to this village, named Quinhagak (Kwin-a-hahk), you have to fly in a small plane from Bethel, about 70 miles away, a 30- to 45-minute flight, depending on the size of the plane.
Bethel is the hub for some 56 villages in the Lower Kuskokwim Region, an area 300 – 400 miles west of Anchorage that is sparsely inhabited, mainly by native Alaskans, mostly Yup’ik Eskimos.
What’s remarkable about this village is that one of the school’s teachers made a video last year with his class, featuring students and villagers“performing” the Hallelujah chorus.
The video was posted to You-Tube and has had more than a million-and-a-half hits. In other words, it has gone viral.Going viral sounds like something you’d stay away from at all costs if you had any sense. You wouldn’t touch it with the proverbial 10-foot pole.
In those days Cannery Row was little more than a string of mostly abandoned buildings with twisted corrugated walls slowly rusting in the fog and the salty sea air.
Several beat up old railroads cars sat akimbo on the sidings above the dusty, deserted street, and one could easily imagine Doc and all those other colorful characters from the Steinbeck novels lounging suspiciously on the relics or searching for specimens amid the chaos of the pounding surf, the sting of the high-flying spray and the crisp, ear-numbing hiss as the cold, blue-green water rose and fell with each passing wave.
Little coffee houses like Tilly Gorts (still in business today, by the way) wouldn’t pay entertainers, but they’d let a traveling musician like me play for an hour or so and pass the hat. Usually, they’d offer a free meal, too.