April 3, 2024

Princeton Folk Music Society Celebrates Pete Seeger

PROFESSOR PETE: Retired history professor Allan Winkler sings the music of folk legend Pete Seeger at a concert at Christ Congregation Church on April 19.

On Friday, April 19 at 8 p.m., the Princeton Folk Music Society presents a celebration of the legacy of Pete Seeger with Professor Allan Winkler. The concert will be held at Christ Congregation Church, 50 Walnut Lane.

Seeger (1919-2014) is one of the most influential figures in American folk music. Singing first with the Almanac Singers, then the Weavers, and finally on his own, Seeger found himself in the forefront of every important social movement of the past 70 years. In the 1950s, he found himself under attack during the Red Scare for his radical past. In the 1960s, he became the minstrel of the civil rights movement.

Toward the end of the decade, he turned his talents against the war in Vietnam and, like many of its critics, drew fire from those who attacked his dissent as treason. Finally, in the 1970s, he led the drive to clean up the Hudson River, and lent his voice to the growing environmental movement. Seeger wrote or popularized many of the landmarks of the folk song movement, including “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn Turn Turn,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

Winkler is a retired history professor and a performing musician. Over a 50-year period, he taught at Yale University, the University of Oregon, and Miami University of Ohio, with year-long stints at the University of Helsinki in Finland, the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and the University of Nairobi in Kenya. He is the author of To Everything There is a Season: Pete Seeger and the Power of Song.

Winkler’s presentation for the Princeton Folk Music Society is scholarly, focusing on Seeger’s participation in every major reform movement in the 20th century. But it also is founded on Seeger’s belief that music is meant to be sung, and on his commitment to getting audiences to join in singing songs including “We Shall Overcome,” “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” and “Sailing Down My Golden River.”

Tickets are $25 in advance or at the door. Visit princetonfolk.org for information.