Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger: "It sounds so good when you all join in."

Singing "If I Had a Hammer" at a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Rally in Greenwood, MS, 1963.
I woke up this morning to the news that Pete Seeger had died.  He is, perhaps the biggest influence on me as a singer and leader of songs.  If you have time, I recommend you watch the documentary film Pete Seeger: The Power of Songit is a tribute to his life and will inspire you to song and action.

As I bounced around the internet watching YouTube clips, I found this example of the song he made ubiquitous: Michael, Row the Boat Ashore. Just watch the joy in Seeger's face when the audience really starts singing and he can step away from the microphone and join with them as their voices resound off the walls.

I found myself reworking In paradisum from the requiem mass. It is my prayer for Pete Seeger: 

Pete, may singing angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs join the song and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the choirs of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, once a poor man, may you have harmonious rest.