Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Pete Seeger 1919-2014

Pete Seeger died on January 27.  Pete was known for his controversial political views. But that is not what I know about him. [If you want to know more, there is a lot of information on the internet - just Google him!] What I know about Pete Seeger was that in 1963 my mother bought an album called Children's Concert at Town Hall. I don't know what made her buy it and I don't know what she thought of his political views but she liked having music for us kids to listen to. I so vividly remember laying on the floor in our old farmhouse south of Greensburg listening to the record player.

We loved listening to
"Henry My Son"
"Here's to Cheshire, Here's to Cheese"
"Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal"
"I've Been Working on the Railroad"
"Riding in My Car"
"Put Your Finger in the Air"
"Michael Row the Boat Ashore"
"Be Kind to Your Parents"
"This Land is Your Land"
and others.

But our favorite song was "Abi Yoyo" - more of a story than a song and we listened to it over and over.

Years later I had the privilege of seeing Pete Seeger in concert at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. Pete Seeger's antiwar sentiments were right in line with the Mennonites. At one point he asked those of us in the audience to sing for him because he knew Mennonites could really sing acapella. So we all sang a song that we knew as "606" but was really called "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow." (This links to a pretty good video - I'm sure there are others) It is a beautiful song and especially when sung acapella by a large group of Mennonites.

I introduced my kids to Pete's songs and we discovered a book in the library "The Foolish Frog" and the song that went with it. My kids loved it. Nothing sticks in your memory quite like music. Farewell to a great musician. You will be missed.


  1. Eldon Esau here. 79-80 was one of the years I was at Bethel and Pete Seeger gave a concert. I did make a photo of him, I don't know if the one in the yearbook is it.

    1. That may be the concert I remember. I believe there was a picture in the campus newspaper as well.