Sunday, May 17, 2009


Happy belated birthday party for Pete Seeger over at the Musicians Association of Hawaii today

by Larry Geller

Keith Haugen

Keith Haugen led the singing this afternoon at a short tribute to folk singer Pete Seeger on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

It was only a small party, with a variety of pizzas and drinks. Pete actually had a garden party on May 3, which is his birthday. At Madison Square Garden, with more than 18,000 in attendance.

Keith provided a booklet of music and lyrics, explaining that Pete sang several variations of the same song. He related that to a Polynesian preference to similarly update the lyrics rather than present a mechanical reproduction of the same song each time.

Together we sang “This Land is Your Land,” “Study War No More,” “Cease Fire” (by Keith Haugen), and “Solidarity Forever.”

Thanks to the Musicians Union for keeping knowledge of Pete Seeger and his many accomplishments alive in Hawaii, where young people may not even have heard the name. In fact, under the pressures of No Child Left Behind, more and more schools are dropping music education entirely. The kids may be able to do math and read something, but sadly, that will be about it (oh yeah, and they can Tweet). Our rich artistic and musical culture is at risk of disappearing in a generation.

Videos of the Madison Square Garden event are still scarce, but here’s one and here’s another.


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