Healing the Gulf through Song: An Evening with Peter Seeger and Friends

seeger_stage_2-cropLast week I got a call from Global Green’s headquarters in Santa Monica. Stanley Kules, a Global Green New York regional committee member, had helped arrange a series of three benefit concerts for Global Green USA and the Gulf Restoration Network at the City Winery in New York City. I was to go and talk about the spill, Global Green’s initiatives, and to thank the audience, musicians, and the City Winery for their support. The opening night was going to be an all star line up including Pete Seeger, Julie Gold, Peter Yarrow, the Roches, and many more.

Based out of Global Green’s New York office, I have not yet been to the Gulf to see the impact of the oil spill first hand. Watching the news, the spill has felt surreal and oftentimes I’ve felt a bit helpless. How great it felt to be able to do something to help New Orleans and neighboring communities.

Stanley Kules, Pete Seeger, Annie White at Reclaim the Coast benefit concert

To a packed house, I explained how Global Green is documenting the impacts of the spill, providing immediate relief to those impacted, and demanding BP provide not only full restitution for the damage caused but also create a $2.5 billion independent fund to invest in clean energy and jobs in the region.

Having been raised on and inspired by the music of Pete Seeger and Peter, Paul & Mary, I shared how honored I felt to be working with these great musicians and how fitting it was that we were able to give back to a region that has given us such a rich musical heritage by raising our voices in song.

And raise our voices we did. Through lining out the music, Pete Seeger led us in singing “Turn, Turn, Turn”, “If I Had a Hammer”, and his new song “Drill Baby Drill…Spill Baby Spill” with the refrain below.

And when drill baby drill turns to spill baby spill,

God’s counting on me, God’s counting on you.

Hoping we’ll all pull through (3x), me and you.

Through singing, I felt more connected to the people in the Gulf and aware of the impacts of the spill, empowered, proud of my colleagues for all their accomplishments in New Orleans, and most importantly, full of hope. This is the power of music and the gift of Pete Seeger. Thank you, Pete. You are an inspiration.

Please join us at the City Winery on July 25th and July 30th for two more Reclaim the Coast Benefit Concerts. Proceeds will be donated to the Gulf Coast Restoration Network and Global Green USA.