To the editor:
There were a couple of times that I had the honor of experiencing the wonderful spirit, heart and talents of Pete Seeger.
Like John Fadden said, I helped organize a benefit concert in Albany for Akwesasne Notes back in the '70s. It was so exciting to have Pete Seeger with us for that benefit. The one thing that impressed me most about Pete was his complete commitment to the cause. Pete didn't charge us for his performance or even his travel. He completely donated his time and talent to the benefit. His ego was not involved in the least. He was truly present for the success of the work at hand. It was just another example of the literally thousands of performances he did to support a cause and bring people together through his presence and his beautiful music. His generosity was truly inspiring.
There was a time when I wanted to do a recording of my Adirondack songs. I had a batch of songs like "Adirondack Blue," "These Mountains" and "The Backwoods at Daybreak" that I had written about the people and places in the Adirondacks. It was my hope with this project to, in my own small way, express my love and connection to my home and help raise pride in the people of our region about being from these beautiful mountains. My good friend and teacher, Ray Fadden, told me of his connection to Pete Seeger and that I should write Pete to possibly get direction for the project, to see if Pete knew of any organizations I could tap into for financial and promotional support for the possible project. I wrote to Pete, and he answered immediately. He was very supportive and gave me a name and a number of a folk music organization in New York City that may be willing to help me realize the project. Although that avenue didn't work out in the way we hoped, I was impressed that such an icon like Pete Seeger would take time to answer my letter and support my musical aspirations.
I think Pete Seeger is the highest example of a believer in the fact that music is a medicine. He was a master at using his music as a powerful tool, to inspire the hearts of us all.