Pete Seeger, beloved singer, songwriter and activist, was an inspiration in the way he performed folk music to support the causes in which he deeply believed. A true friend to Bread & Roses, he performed with his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger at Bread & Roses 25th Anniversary Benefit with Mimi Fariña at the SF Opera House in 2000.
Again in 2009 at the age of 90, he played banjo and sang at a Bread & Roses institutional show with Tao at The Redwoods, a community for seniors in Mill Valley. Co-sponsored by the Seniors for Peace, an activist group in residence there, Pete and Tao's hour-long set featured several sing-alongs that captivated the enthusiastic audience of 250 people. For a close-up look at that memorable concert, see Jim Welte’s article from the Marin Independent Journal, Sept. 14, 2009.
Coincidentally, singer/activist Ronnie Gilbert, who sang with Pete Seeger in the Weavers from 1949 to 1951, is now a resident at The Redwoods.
Following his passing, The Marin Independent Journal also ran a story "Pete Seeger Touched Marin along With the Rest of the World" that mentions his participation with Bread & Roses and quotes Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper.
We are thankful for all of Pete's masterful work as a folk musician and songwriter, and for his support for so many important causes through the playing of folk music and his work as an activist for the better part of a century. We will never forget him and all his poignant songs, like the anti-war standard "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" which was also the title of his 1993 autobiography.
As we remember him today, we think of the beautiful musical setting of the song he created from the passage in the Book of Ecclesiastes that became a number one hit for The Byrds in 1965 "Turn, Turn, Turn." Our Bread & Roses Founder Mimi Fariña and her sister Joan Baez were inspired by Pete's stellar example to be both musicians and activists. His enduring song lyrics give us strength to continue our mission of bringing hope and healing through live music to those who need it most.
Blog by Marian Hubler
1) Cassandra Flipper shakes hands with Pete Seeger at the Redwoods Retirement Community in 2009. Photo by Andrew deLory
2) Tao Rodriguez and Pete Seeger at The Redwoods in Mill Valley in 2009. Photo by Ken Friedman
Video Edited by Lauren Arrow with photos by Andrew de Lory and Ken Friedman