By DON GLYNN email@example.com
Niagara Gazette — Pete Seeger, the legendary singer and songwriter who sparked a revival in folk music in the U.S. during the 1950s and 1960s and spent decades championing social change made a surprise side visit to Buffalo in November. That was just two months before his death Monday at a New York City hospital.
Seeger, 94, virtually stole the spotlight last Nov. 9 when he dropped into the Great Lakes-Midwest Council of the American Newspaper Guild meeting at the Hampton Inn. He was in the Queen City for a performance to benefit the Western New York Peace Center.
Some 40 participants at the guild event were thrilled when he walked into that conference room and climbed onto a chair to sing — without any accompaniment — the satirical “Newspapermen Meet Such Interesting People.” Later, he talked with the delegates about his early interests in pursuing a career in journalism.
With the famous Weavers, he sang such hits as “Goodnight, Irene” — it soared to No. 1 on the charts — and “If I Had a Hammer,” which he wrote with Lee Hays, another member of the Weavers. Perhaps one of his most famous songs was “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” an anti-war number. Many people will recall that Seeger performed Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” at President Obama’s inaugural in 2009. On Seeger’s 90th birthday celebrated at Madison Square Garden, Bruce Springsteen introduced him as “a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.”
As the news spread about Seeger’s death, countless Americans were recalling his incredible contributions to music. The New York Post, however, was quick to point out that during the McCarthy era, Seeger was blacklisted in the entertainment industry for his Communist Party membership in the 1940s. He later was indicted for contempt of Congress.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Niagara Gazette Chief Photographer Jim Neiss’ recent photo of Prospect Point covered by snow after the polar vortex was featured in the National Geographic Daily, a division of the splendid monthly magazine.
ON THE TAXPAYERS: John Q. Public picked up about $500,000 of the tab to host that Super Bowl media bash in Manhattan Tuesday. In addition, those same state taxpayers provided $1 million for a vehicle to circulate in the New York metropolitan region to promote the championship game between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. It was disclosed that the funds for booze and food flowed from the $5 million which Gov. Cuomo provided through the state budget for the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee. A spokesman for the governor said the committee is using the money to market the Empire State, its products and tourism venues.
THE FAST ROUTE: Private airports closest to the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey are expecting upward of 1,200 extra planes landing at their facilities, enroute to the Super Bowl. Many of those luxury jets, of course, are from Seattle and Denver.
TRAVEL NOTE: Southwest Airlines, among the major carriers servicing the Buffalo Niagara Airport, has started selling tickets for its first international flights under its own brand. Starting July 1, will offer service to Aruba; Nassau, the Bahamas; and Montego Bay, Jamaica.
THINK GREEN: Robert Koryl, a local attorney, reminds us that spring is just around the corner. Well, at least it’s only 45 days until the St. Patrick’s Day Party at the Moose Lodge-584 in Lewiston. The event will feature music by Dave Stayner and the McCarthy School of Irish Dancers. The corn beef and cabbage dinners ($5) will be served from 6 to 8 p.m.
OUT OF THE PAST: The Old Fort Niagara Visitor Center is featuring an exhibit of selected works by the late Robert Averill, a local artist whose skill at depicting historic scenes and maritime subjects has delighted many observers over the years. While at the visitors facility, you’ll also have a chance to see, among other historical treasures, the War of 1812 flag that the Old Fort Niagara Association had restored after it was discovered in a home in Scotland. It had been captured by the British when they attacked the fort in December 1813.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Name the NFL player who faces a $100,000 fine if he continues to violate the league rule by refusing to talk with the media. (Answer Sunday)
Contact Reporter Don Glynnat 282-2311, ext. 2246.
Contact Reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.