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Will sing for peace

You have to admire her tenacity: Joan Baez gave her heart and soul to peace activism during the Vietnam War, and even when the U.S. government is dumb enough to get us involved in yet another quagmire, she is still dedicated to spreading peace through song. Joan said before she performed for us tonight, "I didn't need an invitation to come here-- I had already bought my plane ticket!!"

It was understandably an amazing experience for, ahem, older Camp Casey supporters to hear Joan sing years after they had first heard her during the 60's. And even though my previous experience with Joan Baez was limited to Jenny's idolization of her in "Forrest Gump," her presence alone on the stage reminded me how just how historic Camp Casey is.

Listen to Joan sing "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" from tonight's performance

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What a remarkable person she is!

Between 1972 and 1976 I was a teacher at a "Gymnasium" in Hamburg, Germany. I took an opera buff friend of mine who had been an anti-Nazi protester between 1929 and 1945. He had been imprisoned in a KZ in Hamburg for a number of years; in any case, Willy Boege had no need to show his credentials when it came to his anti-war stance.

I went to the Joan Baez concert in Hamburg with my friend. Willy was absolutely overwhelmed by Joan Baez, her singing, her voice control.... there is no more beautiful sound in nature than Joan's voice. Willy Boege, the well-known opera critic in Hamburg so praised her performance it was almost embarrassing... and he had reviewed Maria Callas, et al.

On a lark, I passed a note to an usher for Ms. Baez invititing her to a Thanksgiving celebration I had organized where I taught school (Gymnasiumn Langenhorn). I never expected her to get the note, however, she came, sang, played guitar with me, ate food, laughed... made the kids speak English. It was wonderful. (I informed her I lived in Newport, RI until 1965 and had seen her a number of times in the Folk Festival). I was there when Arlo Guthrie premiered his song, "Alice's Restaurant".

I will always be grateful for her willing sacrifice and the carefully planned musical accompaniment to the entire anti-war (Viet Nam/Southeast Asia) and civil rights movement of the 60's and 70's she gave us.

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