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Tag Archives | Pete Seeger

When We Reach Them

Let Your Voice Be HeardWe’re out of school today in obser­vance of Oaks Day here in our area. This morn­ing, Ani­ta Sil­vey, chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture expert and resource, remind­ed us on Face­book that Pete Seeger cel­e­brates a birth­day today. 100 years. I might not have known that with­out her post. How many of us would? How many of us would have known that Ani­ta Sil­vey has writ­ten one of the best non­fic­tion looks at Seeger’s life and work?

Adam did.

And, as you will see, as luck might have it, I had Adam’s project to share with you out in the van. Here is that project. As you will see in the pho­tos below, Adam’s instal­la­tion is built like a stage that dis­plays a bro­ken-down ban­jo Adam found at the Ped­dler’s Mall right before the project.

Adam's stage display for Pete Seeger's life

Stage dis­play of Pete Seeger’s life and music

Adam had no aware­ness of Seeger or his music or his influ­ence on many of the artists Adam did know. When Adam was stuck in his sub­ject choice, we had just fin­ished watch­ing clips of Bruce Spring­steen’s Broad­way show to inspire some writ­ing in Room 407. I thought that Pete Seeger would be a great sub­ject to tie into the idea of the theme of an Amer­i­can Creed and how music can be the lan­guage we use to express our per­son­al creed as Americans.

This is a moment that we might stop and remind our­selves that our stu­dents do not read 100% of the books and they do not write 100% of the pieces they might if we don’t know about them, shelve and share them, and work these with stu­dents while they are in our build­ings. I had Sil­vey’s book in the room as well as oth­er resources you see in Adam’s Anno­tat­ed Bib­li­og­ra­phy. I had Seeger CDs at the ready or I would not have made a rec­om­men­da­tion to him to pur­sue the project.

Watch as Adam lists his Table of Con­tents right after the orig­i­nal tracks on this album set (and that his project is tucked inside of a vin­tage boxed record set). His review of Sil­vey’s book (post­ed to Ama­zon) is also includ­ed with­in the project. A lit­tle book­let is tucked inside of the project that serves like “Lin­er Notes” for the project.

Cover of the project

Cov­er of the project, a riff on the ban­jo Pete Seeger played through­out his life, which bore the inscrip­tion, “This machine sur­rounds hate and forces it to surrender.”

Boxed set

Adam lists his Table of Con­tents right after the orig­i­nal tracks on this album set.

Detail of project enclosure

Table of Contents

I sim­ply love the earnest­ness of this project as it is pre­sent­ed. Adam nar­rates the “turns” in the project as well as how it all comes togeth­er in the end. Adam has (and he will not mind or push back against this) been a lit­tle late on some of the pieces along the way. All I want­ed for him this spring is that a project could come in that reflect­ed his love for music. All I want­ed for Adam was to take a deep­er look at the roots of the music he lis­tens to today. That’s what I want­ed. And Adam deliv­ers here.

project statement

Adam nar­rates the “turns” in the project as well as how it all comes togeth­er in the end.

Introduction to the Project

Book Review

Adam’s book review of Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger, writ­ten by Ani­ta Silvey

annotated bibliography

Anno­tat­ed bib­li­og­ra­phy for the project

As a side note, Adam’s project caught the eye of senior, Calvin, and he want­ed to know more about the ban­jo Adam had found (Calvin is a pick­er). This led to an IRP (study hall) con­ver­sa­tion between two stu­dents who might not oth­er­wise had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to share an inter­est in the instru­ment and the music.

It is a joy to share Adam’s project with you today on Seeger’s birthday.

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My Work-Study Internship

World Telegram photo by Al Aumuller, Library of Congress, Creative Commons

World Telegram pho­to by Al Aumuller, Library of Con­gress, Cre­ative Commons

The first col­lege I attend­ed was Anti­och Col­lege in Yel­low Springs, Ohio. It had a work-study cur­ricu­lum in which half your year was spent work­ing off-cam­pus on some job relat­ing to your pro­fes­sion­al aspi­ra­tions. At that time, being inter­est­ed in the the­atre, I was offered and took a job at a Cleve­land tele­vi­sion sta­tion. A few days before the job began it was can­celed. I was offered a job at a book­store, but decid­ed to find a job on my own.

A fam­i­ly friend was Lee Hays, the bari­tone singer for the pop­u­lar folk group, The Weavers. Lee also was a men­tor to me and my would-be writ­ing career. I don’t recall the cir­cum­stances but hav­ing learned that I was look­ing for a job, he sent me to Harold Lev­en­thal, who man­aged The Weavers. Lev­en­thal offered me a job.

It appeared that Mr. Lev­en­thal was involved in some way with the estate of the late Woody Guthrie. What was the job? Guthrie was not just a famous per­former, and a song writer, he was a writer. In 1943, he had pub­lished a “par­tial­ly fic­tion­al­ized” auto­bi­og­ra­phy. Indeed, he left box­es of man­u­scripts. What job was I offered? Read through all those box­es and let Mr. Lev­en­thal know if any­thing was worth pub­lish­ing. I was next inter­viewed by Pete Seeger who was also involved in the Guthrie estate.

I got what I thought was a glam­orous job. If this seems an odd job to be giv­en to a nine­teen-year-old — I would, in ret­ro­spect, agree The many box­es arrived.

I held myself to work­ing an eight-hour day.

The prob­lem was that Guthrie had Hunt­ing­ton’s dis­ease, which is “a fatal genet­ic dis­or­der that caus­es the pro­gres­sive break­down of nerve cells in the brain. It dete­ri­o­rates a per­son­’s phys­i­cal and men­tal abil­i­ties dur­ing their prime work­ing years and has no cure.”

Thus the Guthrie writ­ing I had to read — from his late years — was at best errat­ic, and often dis­turb­ing. What­ev­er hero wor­ship I might have had about this vital, huge­ly cre­ative and impor­tant man, rapid­ly dis­in­te­grat­ed. But being the age I was, I dogged­ly read on, eight hours a day for three months.

When, after the three months were up and I came in to report to Mr. Lev­en­thal, he asked, “Is there any­thing worth pub­lish­ing?” To which I replied, “Noth­ing.”

Why these folks trust­ed my judg­ment — or even if they did trust my judg­ment — I nev­er learned. But I am per­haps one of the few peo­ple who — ever since — can­not bear to lis­ten to the dis­tinc­tive voice of Woody Guthrie. I had got­ten too much into his ill mind.

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Word Search: Let Your Voice Be Heard

Let Your Voice Be HeardPete Seeger was a mas­ter musi­cian, a long-time pro­po­nent of peo­ple and racial equal­i­ty and fair wages and work­ers’ rights and ecol­o­gy and con­ser­va­tion. He cared about the world you and I live in and want­ed it to be a bet­ter world for every­one. We’re hon­or­ing Ani­ta Sil­vey’s biog­ra­phy this month, Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger. It’s a book that will inspire you to do more to help the world … and to sing. If you love puz­zles and games, we hope you have a good time solv­ing this Word Search. 

Sim­ply use your mouse or touch pad to draw a line over your found words and the pro­gram will mark them off for you. Words can be found for­wards, back­wards, hor­i­zon­tal­ly, ver­ti­cal­ly, and diag­o­nal­ly. As you find a word, it will be high­light­ed on the board and it will dis­ap­pear from the word list.

Have fun!

Hid­den Words

Puz­zle by mypuzzle.org
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Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Inspired by our Book­storm fea­ture this month, Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger, there was a pot of stew bub­bling in many a hobo camp dur­ing the Great Depres­sion and many a hoo­te­nan­ny in the ’50s and 60s’. This quick-to-assem­ble ver­sion can stay in your slow cook­er until you’re ready to eat.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 hrs
Serv­ings: 8

Ingredients

  • 3.5 lb bone­less chuck or round or stew meat
  • 1 Tbsp Kitchen Bou­quet
  • 1 12 oz can flat beer
  • 1 enve­lope onion soup mix
  • 1 enve­lope brown gravy mix
  • 1 tsp Worces­ter­shire sauce
  • 1 can cream of mush­room soup
  • 4 cups assort­ed frozen veg­eta­bles of your choice

Instructions

  • Cut beef into 1.5” cubes. Place them in the slow cook­er and mix in Kitchen Bou­quet. Add beer, onion soup mix, brown gravy mix, and Worces­ter­shire sauce. Set pot to 200 degrees (low) and let cook for 8 to 10 hours. Stir in mush­room soup and veg­eta­bles and cook an addi­tion­al 30 to 40 min­utes. Makes about 8 servings.
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Bookstorm™: Let Your Voice Be Heard

Bookmap Let Your Voice Be Heard

Let Your Voice Be HeardWhether you include social jus­tice, com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice, activism, or social action in your cur­ricu­lum or at your library, this is the ide­al book for you. A biog­ra­phy of Pete Seeger, recip­i­ent of our Nation­al Medal for the Arts, and cham­pi­on of the peo­ple for his 94 years, our Book­storm this month, Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger, cel­e­brates his life while it inspires each read­er to car­ry on his work. At once infor­ma­tive and enter­tain­ing, Ani­ta Sil­vey has writ­ten a book that looks at Seeger’s child­hood, his evo­lu­tion from singer to world­wide change leader to deeply admired man. Emi­nent­ly read­able, this would be a good book to share with stu­dents as  you lead into deep­er dis­cus­sions about involve­ment and ser­vice in your own community.

The book is writ­ten at a lev­el for 4th to 6th grade read­ers, so you can use this with these stu­dents, but we also encour­age you to use the book in mid­dle school, high school, and with adult groups. It’s an excel­lent choice for a book club discussion.

In each Book­storm™, we offer a bib­li­og­ra­phy of books that have close ties to the the fea­tured book. You’ll find books, arti­cles, web­sites, and videos for a vari­ety of tastes and inter­ests. This month, we’re focus­ing on books about the ways in which Pete Seeger influ­enced our world. 

Downloadables

 

 

You’ll find more infor­ma­tion about Ani­ta Sil­vey on her web­site.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

About Pete Seeger. To sup­ple­ment the infor­ma­tion Ani­ta Sil­vey has includ­ed in her biog­ra­phy, we’ve sug­gest­ed a few oth­er books that offer anoth­er perspective.

Writ­ten by Pete Seeger. He was remark­ably pro­lif­ic in writ­ing books, or intro­duc­tions, or col­lab­o­rat­ing on quite a few books. You’ll cer­tain­ly rec­og­nize Abiy­oyo but there are more books for study, enjoy­ment, and for singing!

Pete Seeger’s Music. He’s so well-known for his music and he record­ed a great num­ber of folk songs for chil­dren and all ages. We’ve point­ed you in the direc­tion of some of the best that you can share in your class­room or library. 

Civ­il Rights. Well-known for his efforts on behalf of the Civ­il Rights Move­ment, for over  70 years, we offer rec­om­men­da­tions so you can gath­er a shelf full of paired books includ­ing fic­tion, true sto­ries, and poetry.

Labor Move­ment. Sep­tem­ber is the month when we hon­or the hard work of those who have fought for work­ers’ rights, out­law­ing child labor, ensur­ing health and vaca­tion and sick leave ben­e­fits. Pete Seeger was a tire­less pro­po­nent of this work. You’ll find a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions to sup­port this aspect of his biog­ra­phy, cer­tain­ly engen­der­ing dis­cus­sion. We’ve includ­ed rec­om­men­da­tions for songs to accom­pa­ny this study.

Folk Music, Col­lect­ing, Play­ing, Singing. Do you know the work of Alan and John Lomax, Woody Guthrie, Charles and Ruth Seeger, Smith­son­ian Folk­ways, and oth­er musi­col­o­gists? This is a fas­ci­nat­ing aspect of Pete Seeger’s life that can lead to dis­cus­sions of pre­serv­ing cul­ture, the intrin­sic place of music with­in a cul­ture … and more singing! Sug­ges­tions are made for fur­ther study of many indi­vid­u­als impor­tant to the preser­va­tion of folk music.

Pol­i­tics: Under Sus­pi­cion and Black­list­ed (Cen­sor­ship). Dur­ing those times of the year when your class­room or library is focus­ing on cen­sor­ship, Ani­ta Sil­vey focus­es on the House Un-Amer­i­can Activ­i­ties Com­mit­tee of the 1950s, Com­mu­nism, and black­list­ing. All of these can be com­pared to the polit­i­cal cli­mate in con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­ca. We have includ­ed a vari­ety of fic­tion and non­fic­tion recommendations.

Protest­ing War (Viet­nam). The protests of the 1960s and 1970s in Amer­i­ca left an indeli­ble change on the coun­try that a num­ber of anthro­pol­o­gists argue con­tin­ues to affect Amer­i­ca today. Pete Seeger was active in this protest move­ment. Books on the war, its after­math, and songs of protest are a part of this Bookstorm.

Think Glob­al­ly, Act Local­ly. Pete Seeger’s social action with The Clear­wa­ter Project, gath­er­ing com­mu­ni­ties to clean up The Hud­son Riv­er in New York, was accom­plished through song, com­mu­ni­ty gath­er­ings, fundrais­ing, and hard work. We pro­vide quotes, videos, web­sites, and a lot of books for stu­dents to use for learn­ing more and mak­ing their own plans for involvement.

Let us know how you are mak­ing use of this Book­storm™. Share your ideas and any oth­er books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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