Pete Seeger and Friends Celebrating Our Tradition
General Assembly 2005 Event 2031
A wonderful concert was offered on Friday at General Assembly by "Pete Seeger and Friends." Seeger, a longtime Unitarian Universalist who had performed at the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA's) Opening Celebration on Thursday evening, returned to the stage with other groups of musicians—most of them Unitarian Universalists—for a stirring concert of peace and social justice music.
The audience was thrilled to sing along and be sung to by a variety of groups, all of whom blended together very well, and seemed to know each other's songs and the harmonies that went with them.
In addition to Pete Seeger, the other performers were:
- We Four: Gene Glickman, Hope Johnson, James Backmon, Janice Marie Johnson
- emma's revolution: Pat Humphries and Sandy O.
- Kim and Reggie Harris
- Geoff Kaufman
Seeger, now 86 years old, started the concert off with "Take It From Dr. King." This included the lines:
The battle's just begun.
Take it from Dr King
You, too, can learn to sing
So drop the gun
That was followed by "This Little Light of Mine," sung by Kim and Reggie Harris. The group "We Four" then sang "You Can Get It If You Really Want."
One of the highlights of the evening was Seeger's rendition of "Guantanamera" in Spanish and in English. The whole audience joined in enthusiastically and loudly on the chorus. "emma's revolution," the duo of Pat Humphries and Sandy O., then sang their big hit "Swimming to the Other Side." Kim and Reggie Harris followed with "Windows of the Heart," followed by Pete Seeger singing his satire on the English language, "English is cuh-ray-zee."
Geoff Kaufman performed "There'll Come a Day" and "Oh, Had I a Golden Thread," and emma's revolution followed up by singing one of Pete Seeger's best known hits, "If I Had a Hammer."
Dr. Charlie Clements, Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), was instrumental in securing Seeger's presence and performance at General Assembly this year. Clements announced that Seeger's autobiography "Where have all the flowers gone?" is coming out soon in its second edition and will be available through the UUSC website. The money earned from Pete's concerts often goes back to the families of those who composed the songs.
The crowd who attended this concert agreed that it was a stunning moment for General Assembly attendees—to have a living legend on stage as part of his own faith tradition's annual gathering.
Reported by Allan Stern; edited by Deborah Weiner.