A tribute to Pete Seeger and the Clearwater

SARANAC LAKE — Pete Seeger’s banjo is inscribed with the words, “This banjo surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” On May 4 at 7 p.m., people are invited to gather again at the First Presbyterian Church of Saranac Lake’s Great Hall to celebrate Seeger’s life work by sharing his music together.

Over 50 years ago Seeger and his wife, Toshi, spearheaded an effort to build the Hudson River sloop Clearwater. They hoped if people had intimate knowledge of the pollution on the Hudson and could feel the wind and the water, they would be inspired to solve big problems one song at a time. The Clearwater project’s efforts helped to pass the Clean Water Act in 1972. The act’s preamble declared that our nation’s waters would be swimmable and fishable within a decade, with no discharges of pollutants within a dozen years but our public waters remain under threat. The Clearwater continues to be a leader in ensuring clean water for all people.

“I guess I’ve learned more from the Clearwater than anything else. All I did was help plant a seed,” Seeger once said.

On May 4, local performers are offering their energy to celebrate Seeger’s life and to help continue to clean the water and the earth. Travis Jeffery, a former captain of the Clearwater and friend of the Seeger’s, will share stories and will perform. He will be joined by Curt Stager and Kary Johnson, Keith and Sarah Gorgas, Duane Gould, Lisa and Klaus Meissner of the Rustic Riders, Tom Techman and Slo’ Jam, and poet Yvona Fast and others. Free refreshments provided by the bakers of the Presbyterian Church will be available.

Donations for the Clearwater will be accepted. To learn more, visit www.clearwater.org.

“The First Presbyterian Church of Saranac Lake is a Certified Earth Care Congregation,” a news release reads. “To obtain and retain this certification it not only continually upgrades its facility to reduce carbon emissions and pollution, but also actively works to help its members and our community to care for God’s creation.”


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