Thursday, February 06, 2014

Remembering Pete - Part 3

"Once upon a time, wasn't singing a part of everyday life, as much as talking, physical exercise, and religion? Our distant ancestors, wherever they were in the world, sang while pounding grain and paddling canoes, or walking long journeys.

"Can we begin to make our lives, once more, all about peace? Finding the right song and singing it over and over is a great way to start.

"And when one person taps out a beat while another leads into the melody, or when three people discover a new harmony they never new existed, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world."
--Pete Seeger

Singing along. That's what Pete wanted the world to do. Sing along with him; sing along with each other; sing along with the tune of the universe. Singing would break down the barriers that kept people apart. Singing would express the depths of emotion and hope and Pete wanted people to do that. He wanted people to overcome the distances between them and the music, the wall of indifference that kept people sitting in the audience while the "pros" entertained.

In that sense Pete wasn't an entertainer- he was a music leader. Even when he was on his own with some of the more complex melodies he would devise, he was singing with us, not for us. The melody lines, the words, and ultimately the message of the music brought people together.

This video shows that in all the joy and wonder that Pete could bring to a song. Woody Guthrie's American anthem, This Land is Your Land being sung with Bruce Springsteen at the Inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009, just a few months prior to his 90th birthday. Watch Pete and Bruce, watch the singers, but most importantly, watch the people as music highlighted the historic significance of the event.

THIS is what Pete's life was all about. I am sure he was grateful that he lived long enough to be able to see this event become reality.

No comments: