Virtually Pete

Barrington Area Library celebrates the life and songs of Pete Seeger June 11

BARRINGTON IL - The Barrington Area Library's Second Friday Concert series will present a live stream event, “Virtually Pete,” on Friday, June 11 at 7:00 pm CDT. The concert features Midwest folk singer and songwriter Mark Dvorak telling stories and performing a selection of Pete Seeger’s most enduring songs. 

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“Thousands upon thousands of people over the years have taken up the banjo, the guitar and began opening their ears to the world of music because of Pete,” said Dvorak. 

“Pete taught us how to use music to grow our communities and celebrate our heritage. He also demonstrated over many decades the importance of using art and song to help build a more just and peaceful world.”

After a long life filled with music and activism, Seeger passed away in January 2014 at age 94.

After WWII, Seeger along with Fred Hellerman, Ronnie Gilbert and Lee Hays enjoyed a number of chart hits as The Weavers, introducing the work of seminal folk artists like Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly, and reintroducing American listeners to their own roots music traditions.

Seeger left The Weavers in the mid-1950s after being called to testify before the House on UnAmerican Activities. He was consequently banned from radio and television. At the same time he and his wife Toshi were raising a family in a log cabin they had built near Beacon, New York on the banks of the Hudson River.

Seeger scrambled to earn an income. He embarked on a long string of performances at community centers, colleges and grade schools, crystallizing the powerful essence of American folk music.

By 1969, The Sloop Clearwater was launched, a 106-foot long replica sailing vessel common on the Hudson in the19th century. The Clearwater served to draw attention to the problem of pollution of the Hudson River, which included mercury contamination, PCBs and raw sewage.

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Seeger’s greatest legacy may have been saving the Hudson, according to those who worked with him to preserve the waterway. And his environmental activism didn’t stop with the river. In the autumn of 2013 he put in a surprise appearance with Willie Nelson and Neil Young at a Farm-Aid benefit. Seeger added an extra verse to his anthem, “This Land Is Your Land” by singing, “This land was made to be frack-free.”

"There is a very strong community singing tradition here in the Chicago area,” said Dvorak, who is resident artist for the community organization Music & Potlucks, and who also performed with Seeger on a handful of occasions. “Pete has led the way for a lot of years. He’s still leading the way."

Dvorak has performed in thirty-eight states and in parts of Europe and Canada. He has won awards for journalism and children’s music. In 2008 he received the Woodstock Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lantern Bearer Award from Folk Alliance International in 2013. In 2012, WFMT 98.7 fm Midnight Special host Rich Warren named him Chicago’s “official troubadour."

Admission is free. For information and registration contact the Barrington Area Library at www.balibrary.org. Learn more about Mark Dvorak at www.markdvorak.com.


Stay in touch • info AT markdvorak.com • PO Box 181 • Brookfield IL 60513 • 312 315 4273