Why did Pete Seeger continue to exert great effort in promoting peace?
The American music industry has lost one of its greatest and oldest singers as the widely-known American Folk Singer Pete Seeger died in a clinic in New York last Monday, January 27. The 94-year old singer’s death is due to natural causes after having been confined six consecutive days in the hospital. Moreover, as he passed away, many of his memories are looked back by those who are able to see and hear his voice during his heydays.
Born in 1919 at in French Hospital in New York City, Pete, as his friends called him, is very fortunate enough to have parents who are inclined into music. Charles Louis Seeger Jr., his father, is known to be a composer and ethnomusicologist while his mother, Constance De Clyver Edson, is not only a teacher but also a violinist whose interest is in classical music. Given his family background, it is not surprising that Pete turns out to be the most recognized singer in his generation.
Before venturing into the music industry, Pete attends classes at the Harvard College. However, due to the fact that he is a politically-inclined individual to the extent that he often participates in demonstrations in order to promote the so-called radical politics, his grades suffer, and then he loses his scholarship and eventually leads him to drop in 1938. Throughout his music career, his songs’ lyrics reflect his own ideology.
In 1941, Pete becomes a founding member of The Almanac Singers with Millard Lampell and Arkansas singer and activist Lee Hays. Together, their songs gain irk from political individuals since they are critical to the present condition of their time. Even if they are disbanded and he is able to create his own band, The Weavers, Pete continues to exert great effort in promoting peace, freedom and socialism as these principles are embedded in his egalitarian democratic and somehow communist ideologies.
Being a recipient of the National Medal for the Arts, Pete continues to live his advocacies. During his last decades, he has been active in socio-political as well as environmental concerns. His last appearance in public is when he joins the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011. With “If I Had a Hammer”; “Turn Turn Turn”; and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” as among his fans’ all-time favorite songs, Pete will stay on the hearts of people who share and live up his advocacies.