Peter Yarrow and Paul Noel Stookey, of Peter, Paul and Mary, will appear at the Chautauqua Institution on Friday, July 27, to sign their new book, "It's Raining, It's Pouring," and follow it up with a live performance in the Amphitheater.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak with Yarrow before the event, and the material the interview produced seemed appropriate for both a feature article and an opinion piece.
In the process of transcribing the interview I found Yarrow's words to be simply, transcendental.
Not everything he said will be appearing in the feature article that will be printed next week, so, I figured I'd speak about it here.
Yarrow, who has spent a fair amount of time at Chautauqua Institution, had much to say about the difference between his experience there, and what he has seen elsewhere.
"The concert is so focused now on material things, on greed, rather than togetherness," said Yarrow. "I'm not just talking about that perspective for those who have an enormous amount because of the disparity between the haves and have nots. I'm talking about ordinary people who are brought into the idea that you are your money, your things, and that it is your identity."
It is that hunger for power and fame based on dysfunctionality, acting out and excess that titillates the public, he continued, adding that we are now in a situation where the existence of Chautauqua Institution is a blessing.
"The existence of islands of sanity, that have as their tradition or point of view, that relates to giving, caring and the admiration for intellect, creativity and heart, is so important," said Yarrow.
The importance of these "islands of sanity" stems from the fact that our democracy is, for many reasons, in great jeopardy, according to Yarrow. Especially because money will win elections, and then the people who supply it are owed favors, Yarrow said.
"That's how business will defeat what democracy is all about," said Yarrow. "Money will defeat it; corporate money and individual wealth now with the Roberts court decision that says a corporation is a person. It's skewing the entire democratic system in very dangerous and destructive ways. The entire premise of democracy is about educated people making decisions for themselves, and not having that process of honest deliberation interfered with."
These are things that Peter, Paul and Mary, together, worked to fight against. Although Mary Travers is no longer among us, her spirit and contribution continues to be honored through the work of those she left behind.
"We were partners, friends and allies for almost 50 years together," said Yarrow. "Our work is not a memorial to her, but it is a continuation of something that she left us all in very powerful ways. Her absence is sound, but not just as something that is lacking, but as something that is present, and reaffirmed."
However, the problem of greed has even extended to the world of music business. According to Yarrow, it has been commodified and turned into an issue of making profit, rather than music that is constructive, and helpful for the heart to find its place. Music has such an active place in the world, both as a means of advocacy, and of gathering people to a sense of mutual commitment. That's why when Yarrow performs live his message is always the same: "We want fairness, we want kindness, we want a bright future," he said.
Yarrow and Stookey may no longer be in their prime, and that's why they need youth to stand up and fight for their beliefs. When I stated to Yarrow that even though business may not be interested in the next "Blowin' in the Wind," the people are, he responded: "At least it's there, but it needs to be shepherded."
Yarrow and Stookey will appear at Chautauqua Institution on Friday, July 27, first for a signing of their book at 1 p.m. at the Chautauqua Bookstore, and second for their live performance at 8:15 p.m. For more information visit peterpaulandmary.com. To purchase tickets visit ciweb.org.
Westfield Arts And Crafts Festival To Host Live Music For The First Time: A diverse lineup of area performers have volunteered their support for the upcoming Westfield Arts and Crafts Festival. For the first time in its 40 year history, the festival will feature a program of live music on July 27 and 28. The program will be hosted by Doc and Bill and will include two days of music.
Performances on Friday, July 27, include: Doc and Bill from 11 a.m. to noon, The Bonnie Loch Fiddlers from noon to 1 p.m., Jim Turner from 1 to 2 p.m., Infinity from 2 to 3 p.m., Bill Ward from 3 to 4 p.m. and Doc and Bill from 4 to 5 p.m.
Performances on Saturday, July 28, include: Doc and Bill from 10 to 11 a.m., Dave Issler from 11 a.m. to noon, Dan O'Connell from 12 to 1 p.m., Doc and Bill from 1 to 2 p.m., Crippled Fingers from 2 to 3 p.m. and TBA from 3 to 4 p.m.
All of the performers are donating their services to the festival, which serves as the primary annual fundraising event for the nonprofit Westfield YWCA.
The Westfield Arts and Crafts Festival will be held at Moore Park, US 20/NY 39 in Westfield. For more information visit ywcawestfield.org or search for "YWCA Westfield Arts & Crafts Festival" on Facebook.
Unique Glass Music Concert To Be Presented At Opera House: The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will present one of its most unique programs ever when renowned glass music expert Dennis James presents Glassical Music on Saturday, at 7 p.m.
Glassical Music is a witty survey of the complete history of glass music focusing on the development of Benjamin Franklin's glass armonica. Original 18th-20th century compositions specifically composed for glass instruments by such composers as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig von Beethoven, Joseph Schmittbaur and many others are interspersed throughout the 90-minute presentation.
The program features James' own glass armonica, a recreation of the 18th-century musical instrument invented by Franklin. Franklin created his armonica after attending a concert played on musical glasses. He wrote in his diary the he was "charmed by the sweetness of its tones." His mechanized improvements resulted in what is now considered to be the first truly American musical instrument. The armonica quickly became the rage of Europe's music community and was enjoyed in performance throughout the Old World in salons and concert halls for nearly 50 years.
Tickets are $10 general admission and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 679-1891, from 1 to 5 p.m., through Friday. Tickets may also be purchased online at fredopera.org.
Shadyside Blues Band Reunites Under New Banner For A String Of Live Performances: The Spellcasters evolved from the Shadyside Blues Band, which started in western New York in 2005 and enjoyed a successful three year run. In 2012, guitarist Tony Flaminio, lead singer Charlie "Big C" Clark, bassist Mike Comitz and drummer Don Ross, all original members of the Shadyside Blues Band, joined forces with sax player and keyboardist, Katie Flaminio, to form the Spellcasters, and the result has been magical.
Blues-rock band the Spellcasters put an aggressive spin on danceable modern, west coast blues with a mix of originals and covers of rockin' blues standards by artists such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Bonamassa, Jeff Healy and Huey Lewis and the News.
Fans can catch the Spellcasters performing at a variety of venues in and around Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. The band's next scheduled show is set for Friday, July 27, from 8 to 11 p.m., at the Bellini Lounge of Chautauqua Suites in Mayville.
Babes Of Wrath Continue Season With Faceoff Against The Rubber City Roller Girls: Chautauqua County's flat-track roller derby team, the Babes of Wrath, faceoff against the Rubber City Roller Girls from Akron, Ohio, on Saturday. The game will take place at Allen Park Ice Rink at 200 Elizabeth Ave., in Jamestown. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the whistle blows at 7 p.m. Admission for children 12 and under is free, and halftime features games for kids and cupcakes for all. Purchase pre-sale tickets at Labyrinth Press Company at 12 E. Fourth St., in Jamestown, at Spike Dailey's on the boardwalk in Dunkirk, or contact your favorite derby girl. $10 tickets are available at the door.
The Babes of Wrath will be holding a 50/50 drawing and will match funds raised for Caring for Life, a donation funded nonprofit organization from Warren County. Caring for Life's mission is to help area families, who have a child with a serious illness, by providing care packages, medical expense reimbursement and emotional support. As a volunteer organization, Caring for Life relies heavily on help from their community. Visit caring4/life.org to make a donation, or bring a care package item to the bout. A list of items needed is available at babesofwrath.com.
After the game, join the Babes at the Ramada 150 W. 4th St., in Jamestown, for an after party featuring dancing, fun and funky beats courtesy of Good City Records.
To include an upcoming show or event in this column, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 487-1111 ext. 253 by Tuesday.
Tiny B: 6 to 8 p.m., The Brick Cafe at Chautauqua Institution.
Brian Hanna: 6 to 9 p.m., Pine Junction, 9757 Bailey Hill Road, Sherman.
Old Dawg Bluegrass: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Cherry Creek summer gazebo concert at Cherry Creek Memorial Park, Cherry Creek.
Blue Grass Jam: 7 to 10 p.m., Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron. Area bluegrass musicians are welcome to sit in and play.
Cindy Haight: 6 to 8 p.m., Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.
Infinity Big Band: 7 to 9 p.m., Infinity Cafe, 115 E. Third St. in Jamestown.
Matt Homan and The Bluegrass Disciples: 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., Webb's on the deck in Mayville.
Old Dawg Bluegrass: 2 to 4 p.m., Warren Ribfest at Betts Park, Warren, Pa.
Joint Effort Band: 7 p.m., Busti Gazebo, Beatles, Elvis, classic rock, country, blues and jazz from the '50s, '60s and '70s.
Happy Days: 8 p.m. to midnight, Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron.
Kris Meekins: 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., Webb's on the Deck in Mayville.
Kev Rowe: 6 to 9 p.m., The Hadley House Restaurant in Stow.
Brian Hanna: 9 p.m. to midnight, Webb's on the deck in Mayville.