He Had a Hammer...
Published in In Memoriam
“This world is going to be saved not by big things but by millions and millions of little things,” folk music legend and environmental activist Pete Seeger told listeners in 2009 when he performed in Russell Courtyard at TC's Rockin' Earth Day Festival. Switching between his banjo and 12-string guitar, Seeger sang classics that day such as “This Land is Your Land” and “Take It from Dr. King.” Then-student Jaymie Stein, who organized the event, said she chose Seeger "because of his commitment to the environment and the way he lives his life” but also because "Pete has a way of reaching newborn babies all the way up to elderly people. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and be a part of.”
Six years earlier, after receiving TC's Medal for Distinguished Service, Seeger had led an audience at the College's commencement ceremonies in singing, "Turn, Turn, Turn." Afterwards, his assertion that Musicians can teach the politicians that not everyone has to sing the melody" drew a standing ovation.
To learn more about Seeger, read the obituary in The New York Times.
- In the fall of 2012 my husband Ed and I had the serendipitous pleasure of meeting Pete Seeger at an event where he was honoring fellow folk singer Judy Collins. Actually Ed and I boldly went up to him and briefly thanked him for everything he had done. He did not say much in response but the look in his eyes was friendly. Later when he sang, he was robust as he made it clear that we should all sing and keep singing. How fortunate we are to have had a powerful example of one who lived and worked according to firm principles, decade after decade. His passing represents not the passing of one era, but of many. - Celia G.
- Pete Seeger was a source of inspiration and action. He will be missed, but his music will live on worldwide. His songs resonate in peace marches in Israel-Palestine as they do in other places where good people need resilience, patience, and focus. - Ari S.
- Pete Seeger taught by example. His effectiveness in a group lay in the simplicity of his approach and the straightforwardness of his message, which cut right to our common humanity. His music taught without gimmickry and was not arranged to impress. It's easy to say "the world will never see his like again", but (as someone else said) he would not have liked that kind of eulogy. Why? "His like" exists in all of us; it's there to be discovered and nurtured. - Howard W.
- Our family had the delight and privilege of being together at the concert on Earth Day 2009 at TC. We wanted our children to see and hear the real deal, Pete Seeger. The world has lost a rare pure spirit. He lived what he sang, and joyfully urged all of us to do our small part for a better world thru song and deed. - Julia, Sam, Risa, Corey and Lori
- I have listened to Pete's music for many years and it is always an inspiration. Bringing folk music to the forefront and his dedication to social justice will be the 2 things that I will always remember him for. - Diana