Remember Pete Seeger, rich of voice, deep in commitment



Over my two decades covering music for the big daily in Syracuse, I got the opportunity to talk with a whole lot of interesting people.

One morning, I talked to Pete Seeger on the phone.

He agreed to the interview because he would be coming that little stretch north and west to Central New York to appear at a benefit concert for the Syracuse Peace Council.

In his 80s, Seeger was still standing up for what he believed in.

As I recall, he talked wisely during that 15 minutes or so, about his affection for his beloved Hudson River Valley, and the need for diligently making sure that everybody treated it with proper respect. He covered the state of humankind, and the obligation for making the world better for future generations.

And then I got to watch Pete Seeger perform in the Landmark Theatre, voice still rich, soul still shining.

He shared the stage with a community chorus. I watched him interact with the singers, of all ages.

It was obvious that their eyes and ears were wide open, evaluating the moment.

That’s the way Pete Seeger wanted it.

He died at age 94 Monday.

The picture and quote above is from the appreciation page posted on

Pete Seeger was a folk singer in a time when that meant he stood up for folks all over the world, using his voice, instrument, insight and platform to shine his light. He was a pioneer voice in the protest movement. He was a protector, of people and nature. He was a champion.

Remember: We Shall Overcome. Turn, Turn, Turn.

20 thoughts on “Remember Pete Seeger, rich of voice, deep in commitment

  1. This was a special memorial for a man who was a legend and now, since you had a chance to actually speak with him, we know he was considerate, ‘real’ and a peaceful man. I thought he would be nice, just never got to see him in person! Great post, Mark! Smiles, Robin


    • My past life as music writer and critic for the Syracuse daily afforded me the opportunity to talk to and observe the work of many famous people. It was quite enlightening and oftentimes enriching. Thanks, Robin.


  2. oh, this is a beautiful tribute to this very special man, mark. how lucky you are to have had the opportunity to have a conversation with him, and to see him perform and interact with the local people. he will be missed by so many –


  3. Mr. Seeger was a surprise guest at last Farm Aid 2013, which was held at Saratoga. Of course, he wasn’t on the bill, and his stepping on stage sprung a SPAC-wide standing ovation (for those who were actually sitting). He initiated a sing-a-long, belting out a line and waited for the crowd to repeat, and this all led to the chorus–singing in unison–where we all were reminded that “this land was made for you and me.”

    It was a fantastic blessing to have gotten to see Seeger, and listen to his messages that have resonated throughout all these years.


  4. Thank you for this, Mark.

    My son goes to sleep away camp in upstate NY, right near where Pete Seeger lived. Every summer, even at his advanced age, he came and gave musical workshops with the kids. For the pure joy of being with them. I’m so glad my son was able to experience a tiny bit of his magic.


    • Being a man of the people and for the people is what made him so special, and you saw that firsthand, Samara.

      Lucky you and your son.

      In my twitter post to tease the story this morning I hash-tagged it #FolkHero. I think that says it, too.


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