remembering Pete SeegerPosted: February 13, 2014
After Pete Seeger’s death I paid tribute in Sacred Music Friday, but I didn’t write anything. Certainly I admire Pete greatly, but I couldn’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t sound trivial and a repetition of what everyone else was writing. Then Terry pointed out Leah Garchik’s tribute in last Friday’s San Francisco Chronicle, itself somewhat belated because she was in Europe at the time of his death. I never had the privilege of seeing Pete in person, but Garchik did. She writes about seeing Seeger at summer music camp when she was thirteen.
When we responded to his irresistible invitation to join in and sing, our individual voices were swallowed up in the full sound of the chorus he’d created. The thrill was not only in the sound, but it was as though the sound was a metaphor for the whole Seeger ethos, his social and political idealism; yes, we can all do this together.
She concludes the tribute by telling us:
Years later, as adults trying to pass along some of his magic, we took our kids to hear him at Stern Grove. Not much had changed. Fans listened to Seeger, loved him and walked away from his performances a little more optimistic about life’s possibilities.
That’s it. I walk away from hearing Pete sing a little more optimistic about life’s possibilities.
Thank you, Leah.
And thank you, Pete, for all you gave us. We miss you.