Monday, January 27, 2014
by Larry Geller
We just got the news of Pete Seeger’s death. Already, the New York Times posted a long obituary, the Wikipedia is updated, and there will be much more written and posted by tomorrow morning. The Times chose to document the facts of his life, but failed to capture the depth and breadth of his influence.
It’s very sad for us. Nanette and I sat on the deck of the Clearwater listening to him in concert at the South Street Seaport in New York, but more than that, Pete Seeger and his music and activism were part of our upbringing.
In 2005, former Lt. Governor the late Jean King and I coordinated a national celebration of Seeger’s 86th birthday, with concerts dedicated to him across the country. Jean knew him and even had his phone number. Yup, the whole thing was coordinated from Honolulu, out in middle of the Pacific Ocean someplace. And that was without Facebook or Twitter.
A copy of the website is in a pdf file here.
Major events were held at Paramount Studios and aboard the Clearwater. Pete himself was guest of honor at a concert in Philadelphia. All events were arranged locally in each city.
“Seegerfest” was celebrated in Honolulu by Hawaii Public Radio on Morning Café and The Full Nelson, at the University of Hawaii in conjunction with the screening of a documentary on the life of Koji Ariyoshi, at a tribute held at the UH Campus Center by Cordell, Manuel Frietas and Keiko Bonk, on Perry & Price, at Kealakekua Bay, Captain Cook, on Hawaii Island, and at a potluck at the home of cellist Roxie Berlin.
More than the obituary in the Times even tried to convey, the nationwide celebrations in 2005 demonstrated how much Pete Seeger was known, loved and respected. The Times should try harder. Pete Seeger will be missed.
Thank you for having organized this, Larry. When I thanked you yesterday for "all the things you do," that was including things like this, which I may overlook, but you don't.
A bit of confusion enters the picture for me. I attended a concert honoring Pete at UH Manoa. I THINK it was Keith Haugen who headed the program. But on your pdf archive of the website, it says "Cordell" played. Is that a stage name for Keith?