The crowd in Nyack’s Memorial Park was getting antsy after dark fell last night. The several hundred people gathered in the park on the banks of the Hudson River were waiting for one man: legendary folk singer Pete Seeger.
He was the headliner for the Health Care for All rally. The organizers kept assuring the crowd that Pete was on the way, racing to Nyack after an appearance in Manhattan’s Central Park. But by shortly after 7, it started looking like the rally’s 7:30 end time would come and go before Pete got there.
Then someone near the park entrance shouted, “He’s here. Somebody just saw him.” That caused some in the back of the crowd to turn and face the driveway into the park, expecting to see a livery car racing in. Instead, through the gathering darkness strode a rail-thin man in a chambray shirt and jeans, a floppy hat on his had, with two gig bags, one slug from each shoulder.
Yes, it was the 90-year-old folk icon, walking into the park, carrying his own gear. A roar rose up from the crowd, which seemed to double in size as people pushed forward to get a glimpse of Pete.
He apologized for being so late, explaining that this was is fourth event of the day — which he spent racing between his home in Beacon, to NYC to Nyack. And then he launched into energetic performances of a handful of familiar songs, including a “rap” version of “English is Crazy,” a singalong of “This Land is Your Land,” and a beautiful rendition of his 1950 chart-topper “Goodnight, Irene.”
The energy was intense. And I’m sure that the doubters who left before Pete arrived are kicking themselves for missing out on such a vital performance.
A number of other musicians performed brief sets during the nearly four-hour-long rally, including the Roues Brothers of West Nyack, Tom Chapin of Piermont and Emory Joseph of NYC.
Check out the Nyack News & Views report here.
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