Evolving Peace

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Real Man of Hope

There are the rare occurrences in life when you know that you are in the presence of greatness, and on this particular Saturday in the Peoples Republic of Brattleboro, Vermont at the Art-Deco/Greek Revivalist Latchis Theater I and a crowd of nearly eight hundred were amongst an American treasure, Pete Seeger…

I, a man now in my late 30years have fortunately been around hundreds of musicians and political activists prior to this day, however this night was special for I was in complete awe. There upon the stage was a man who has stood up to the xenophobia of McCarthyism, the genocide of African-Americans, the countless acts of American Imperialism, the environmental pollution from the iconic American corporation General Electric, and the latest rounds of American hegemony under the Bush crime family.

Pete Seeger has stood strong throughout the ages and now at eighty-nine years old, he is still able to passionately move a crowd. I along with my wife(Sarah, for those who missed it we are married now) were moved with tears many times throughout the night by the soulful singing of his classics tunes and with new adaptations reflecting the turbulence of the modern times with his grandson Tao Rodriguez, and musical cohort Guy Davis. A classic American sing-along harmonized the blessed souls of the room with “This little light of mine, I am going let it shine” and classics like the 60’s anthem made famous by the Byrd’s filled the room.

“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Contrary to what some may think, the night was not an idealistic nostalgic “love-fest” of the past, but a beacon of hope for the future. I not being the most optimistic of person did leave there feeling that there is hope in the world. Although the message of the night was more about hope and light they still reminded us of the McCarthy like darkeness we are currently faced with.

Appropriately, since Brattleboro was the town that voted to instruct the Sheriff if Bush or Cheney were to be arrested if they came to town ,Tao wore a shirt broadcasting the words “Arrest Bush” along his chest like he was superman,. In addition, an improve performance from Guy Davis with a fellow Montpelierite playing a didgeridoo (I don’t know his name but I’ve seen him on the street), telling the tale of an evil green giant named Halli-Burton. Most important the performance was real and was not a theatrical performance designed to solely appease the crowd.(Please note the show was a benefit for New England Farm Relief.)

Moving forward, Pete, Tao and Guy removed the darkness by singing Pete’s lifetime of words of wisdom. At times it felt that Pete was reflecting on his own life with lines like, “But there's one thing for certain, when it comes my time, I'm gonna leave this old world with a satisfied mind.”

In all the performance was something to remember and I will always be grateful for the experience. I have seen many great performers in my life, but for this day it was more than just a performance, it was spiritual. Pete Seeger is a man, whose legacy is marked upon us all. He has done more for peace, the environment, equality, and justice than any president will or ever will do. Pete is not just an American treasure he is a treasure for the Earth.

Robb Kidd

“Nobody living can ever stop me, As I go walking my freedom highway,
Nobody living can make me turn back, This land was made for you and me.”
Woody Guthrie/However Pete Seeger has performed riveting versions of the song throughout his life.

To read another perspective of the night read my wife’s thoughts here.


At September 18, 2008 11:25 AM, Anonymous JD RYan said...

I had the privilege of meeting Seeger about 20 years ago after a concert with Arlo Guthrie. One of the few legends I've actually had the honor of meeting.

Congrats on yer marriage, BTW.


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