Pete Seeger 90th Birthday MSG Celebration on PBS on July 30th

Pete Seegers’s MSG concert to premiere on “Great Performances” on July 30 — Airtime is 8 p.m.

By Business Wire
Posted: June 29, 2009 – 1:01 PM

With a career spanning more than half a century, renowned folk artist, political activist, and avid environmentalist, Pete Seeger, turned 90 in May of 2009.

In honor of the milestone birthday, a multi-generational roster of artists, whose music has been shaped by Seeger’s vision, gathered at Madison Square Garden on May 3 to celebrate his lifetime achievement. Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday Celebration from Madison Square Garden will premiere in HD on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances on Thursday, July 30 at 8 p.m. EST (check local listings).

Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG – one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

Joining Seeger for this extraordinary concert event were more than 40 artists, including Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, Richie Havens, Roger McGuinn, Ani DiFranco, Taj Mahal, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, and many others who performed songs inspired by Seeger’s music and activism. Concert highlights include Seeger leading the audience in a rousing sing-along of “Amazing Grace.“ Other classic favorites compelling the enthusiastic audience to join in were “We Shall Overcome“ and “This Land Is Your Land.“

Born to a large family of musicians, young Peter first learned to play the ukulele, graduating to the five-string banjo in the mid-1930s, ultimately mastering the instrument and, in the process, galvanizing the American folk music movement. A pioneer of protest music, Seeger’s anti-Vietnam War songs, including the now famous “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?“ and “Turn, Turn, Turn,“ as well his interpretation of the Civil Rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome,“ garnered mainstream attention in the 1960’s, revitalizing the genre and paving the way for countless other activist musicians-including Bob Dylan-to achieve widespread acclaim.

The concert was a benefit for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a non-profit, environmental organization created by Seeger to bring awareness to the importance of protecting the Hudson River and our other natural resources.

In February 2008, THIRTEEN co-produced and broadcast the first and only authorized biography of Seeger, American Masters: Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. The film was awarded a Primetime Emmy.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers, and PBS. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.

Visit Great Performances Online at for additional information about this and other programs.



  1. donna vissa said

    Dear Pete,
    Just watching “The Power of Song” and wanted to tell you what an inspiration you have been to me all my life. I’ve been singing your songs since the early 60’s with friends and alone and the words have so much meaning. I’m a Canadian and in the past few years have visted the Hudson River Valley many times and what a wonderful playground it is right up to New York City. Congratulations on your life’s work and a very Happy Birthday.

    Blessings to you and your family.

    Donna Vissa

  2. Marjorie Bruhmuller said

    Happy Birthday Pete! In 1985 I lay in my bathtub singing We Shall Overcome to my unborn child. She was two weeks late. She did finally decide to give me a chance to be her mother and 4 weeks ago as we breathed in and out and tears filled her eyes and pain shot through her in contractions, again I sang her that incredible song. Your voice has carried me through many a hard time and songs are what will change the world. You inspired me to be a poet and I am still working on that! Thank you so much for sharing your strength. We would love to have you play at our cafe, The Church Street Cafe the first Friday of every month from November to July in Lennoxville, QC. Hope to see you there sometime.

    love Marjorie

  3. Jim Klassen said

    Dear Pete!

    I just watched the “Power Of Song”, you are a true hero and a legend in my eyes…It was truly a great story, about a great man..

    Thanks to you.. I have a vaster appreciation in music and in many different cultures…The Power Of Song reached me..

    Just wanted to wish a happy birthday!!!

    Thank -You (again)

    Jim (from Canada)

  4. Dear Pete,
    Wishing you a happy healthy birthday and many more years to come filled with happiness and the joy of seeing those seeds you planted over the years growing so beautifully all over the world.

    Thanks for being courageous and true to yourself. Best wishes to you and your family. You are a hero!

    With all good wishes. Josie and Kendall Brockbank, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

  5. You have sacrificed most of your life for the cause of peace. In the final analysis, that is the most important challenge facing our troubled world, for without a resolution to the many conflicts of our world, all of us are doomed to destruction. In that same spirit, as an eyewitness to the destruction of Dresden, I have written an anti-war book which will probably not be applauded by our popular media. Before I depart this earth, I would like to assure that some of the many innocent residents of our troubled planet are afforded at least a slim chance of survival, as you have worked for in your career. All of the proceeds from my book will be donated toward that effort.

  6. Dear Pete:
    Thirty plus years ago I was practicing in NYC (70 East 10 Stret). I have sinced moved to the desert of California.
    Prior to my leaving NYC I did visit you on your Clearwater docked downtown for a fund raising trip. I spoke with you regarding your knee problem and you commented you had no difficulties at that time.
    I saw you recently on CBS Sunday morning and you continue to be a favorite performer and wonderful person.
    Congradulations on you are now 90 years plus. Keep well and let eveyone enjoy you and your performances.
    Most sincerely-Doc Ed Stemp[ler

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