Pete Seeger was fond of saying that if the human race survives another hundred years, music will be a big part of the reason.
His passing has prompted me to think a great deal about the role of music in our lives and in our world. I believe, and Pete certainly believed, that music can be something other than a commodity.
I made my living playing music for several years (many years ago). As much as I enjoyed being a “professional musician” I can tell you that much of the downside of doing it had to do with the often inherent conflict between the marketplace and the muse. I can also say without any doubt that some of the most enjoyable and rewarding moments of my life singing and playing music have been impromptu jam sessions with other musicians, singing at church, singing in the car with my kids and other such situations where no money changed hands.
There ought to be opportunities in every community for regular people to come together and sing for the joy of singing. Before the days of mass media, people did more of that. People sang together while they worked, they sang together in their homes, they sang together (and for each other) at parties and other community gatherings. They didn’t need the constant intervention of an electronic device to keep them entertained and engaged.
There is a rich tradition of Folk Music in the United States, with songs that tell the story of our country and that help us better understand our history and heritage. I think that Folk songs can also help us better understand what’s going on in the world today, and help us better understand each other.
It’s with all of this in mind that I am working to organize the Key City Singalong. I hope that you’ll join in.