When We All Sing Together: Remembering Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger's death earlier this winter affected many members of the Boston Workmen's Circle community. From his activism around civil and labor rights to his music, Pete Seeger embodied a value that our community holds dear: the belief if we put our voices together, we can create something bigger, stronger, and more beautiful than any of us alone. As a lovely NPR article put it:

"Pete Seeger understood something fundamental about humans and music, which is that many people can't sing on key, but all crowds can. Even without rehearsal, public choirs can be stunning to listen to and thrilling to be part of. And he believed that everyone should do it, that people should retain the ability to get in a room and sing, because it was good for you, and because it taught people to pitch in and be brave."

In the weeks following his death, many in our community passed around articles, videos, and fond rememberances of his life and work, and we're pleased to share some of them here. You can read about (and listen to) one of his last performances, at FarmAid in 2013, and read an obituary for him in The New York Times. And you can watch him performing with Johnny Cash and June Carter in the early 1960s.

He had a rich catalog of Yiddish and Jewish music, too. Listen here to his bilingual rendition of Dzhankoye - a song that our own A Besere Velt (A Better World) performs. And the Forward has a nice collection of "Pete Seeger's 7 Most Jewish Songs," for those of us, as it says, who "often felt most spiritual when we were listening to Pete Seeger."

Make sure to save the date for our next Second Friday Shabes - coming up on March 14 - which will honor the memories of both Pete Seeger and Nelson Mandela with songs, quotes, and reflections. And keep an eye out for an announcement of A Besere Velt (A Better World's) Pete Seeger tribute concert, coming later this spring.