One of the best things about living in Beacon is having the iconic American folk hero, Pete Seeger, as a neighbor and frequent performer at local events, such as the annual Martin Luther King commemoration that was held on Monday 1/21/13 at the Howland Cultural Center with the Rivertown Kids and musician friends -- a fitting end to a perfect celebratory inauguration day of the second term of President Obama on the holiday honoring Dr. King.
Many of us in attendance relish the chance to sing along with the songs of the 60's when protesters about the Vietnam war followed in the footsteps of those in the civil rights movement who understood how to use the power of one's voice to take a firm stand.
The tradition continued with Pete leading a rousing rendition of "Study War No More" at the end of the evening's chance to walk down memory lane as Pete had recounted being with Dr. King fifty years ago during the historic marches that led to victory.
The song was used to announce to the audience that a march will be held on Saturday, January 26th in Washington DC for gun control. New lyrics, written by local musicians Roland Mousaa and Mindy Fradkin-Mousaa, that were approved by Pete, now adorn an elegant poster designed by Tim Delaney and inspired by Vincent Condorelli, all in attendance at the first "Hudson Valley Committee Against Gun Violence" meeting held at Fovea on 1/17/13. (A follow-up meeting is scheduled for Thursday, 1/31/13.)
Some food for thought: I've always sensed that deep admiration and respect for Pete Seeger is palpable among all of the people you find in any crowd in his presence. (This year someone actually glowed as they told me that they went up and took a picture with him!) Pete is an American Elder Extraordinaire! He would make an excellent Honorary Chairperson of Vice President Biden's Committee on Gun Control. He would also be my first choice to be #1 Champion of Environmental Concerns for President Obama's revelatory initiatives on climate change that finally appear to be on the horizon. I truly believe Pete Seeger deserves to be the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize for all of his goodwill for humanity. He always leads by his example; you can never get away without singing a song in his presence. With the rallying cry that was posed to the American people in this year's inaugural address, I'd say that now is the time, to pick a cause, and act on it, and please, just do it, for Pete's sake!