May 2, 2009
90th Birthday celebration — proceeds benefitted Pete’s Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
Our part of the coordinated worldwide celebration of Pete Seeger’s birthday on May 3, and seeking a Nobel Peace prize for Pete
Pete Seeger was 90 years young on Sunday, May 3, 2009 and the Folk Music Society of Huntington presented a tribute concert to celebrate the contributions that Pete has made to our lives and our musical heritage.
Pete Seeger is an ambassador for Peace and Social Justice and has been over the course of his lifetime. He uses his prowess as a musician to engage other people from all walks of life and across generations in causes to build a better and more civilized world. His work shows up wherever you look in the history of labor solidarity, the growth of the mass effort to end the Vietnam war, the ban of nuclear weapons, work for international diplomacy, support of the Civil Rights Movement, for cleaning up the Hudson River and for environmental responsibility in general. Pete knit the world together with songs from China, the Soviet Union, Israel, Cuba, South Africa and Republican Spain.
Inspiration for the concert came from the Nobel Peace Prize for Pete Seeger organization that is petitioning for Pete's nomination. They wrote in January:
The petition has grown to over 21 thousand signatures. Go to our web site at www.nobelprize4pete.org to see what moving and sincere comments people have made about how Pete opened their consciousness in so many ways. I want to keep this petition open until the end of the year so that the final document will be sent to the Smithsonian Institution, or where ever Pete’s archives will eventually be housed, as a document for posterity.
That again brings me to emphasis that this campaign is not to make a hero of Pete. It has to do with creativity and community. Its meaning has to do with understanding that the arts are not frivolity, not a means to fame or entertainment, but for deepening the meaning of civilization. The “music biz” has distorted our interpretation of culture and this campaign is one effort to correct it!
The campaign has spread in exciting ways. Marie Goonan, an activist in Melbourne, Australia, suggested that May 3, 2009, Pete’s 90th birthday, be designated as “For Pete’s Sake, Sing!” with concerts coordinated around the world. She is producing a concert in Melbourne, another is being planned in Copenhagen, Denmark, and several are planned in the US of A. Big production is not the issue: just imagine what a thrill it would be to know that thousands of people around the world are coming together on one day to join voices for peace, justice, the environment, and honor to a model of personal integrity.
We were thrilled to be able to present as headliners for this concert the outstanding group Work O' the Weavers who Pete has called "Four people who’ve picked up where the Weavers left off. Fantastic!".
David Bernz, James Durst, Martha Sandefer and Mark Murphy celebrate America’s pioneering folk quartet with faithful adherence to the original arrangements of the Weavers, providing an echo of their music and insight into their story - with the Weavers timeless music and the timeless messages on the spirit of the American people.
R.ounding out our evening we invited special guests to perform other of Pete's songs for our open mic segment. The performers were:
Ira Perlman & Denise Romas
All concert photos above by Kenny Hahn
Praises by others for Work O' the Weavers: