Yarrow Seeks To Heal, Unite With Music

Yarrow Seeks To Heal, Unite With Music

Ask Peter Yarrow what he wishes more people would ask but rarely do, and his answer is prompt and certain:

“I’ll tell you what I like to talk about and sometimes people don’t want to do that is the relationship of music to our current very, very problematical situation in America and what I’m doing about it, how it relates to earlier work in the Civil Rights Movement — all the movements — and what I feel about today’s circumstance from the point of view of an organizer who’s been doing this for, oh, 57 years.”

Known for his social and political activism and advocacy throughout his career and as part of the famed folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary — including co-organizing the 1969 March on Washington for half a million people — Yarrow has spent his life using music to bring people together while supporting and fighting for the disenfranchised. And despite his involvement in movements against war, apartheid and bullying, or in support of human rights and positive international relations, Yarrow reveals he has never felt more needed, or more useful, than he does today.

“Even looking at it in a nonpartisan fashion, we have a very painfully divided country,” he says. “And if the country gets split in this way, as it has become, we lose the capacity to be able to stand together when it’s needed and something horrifically egregious that should transcend political boundaries gets threatened.”

As a concrete response, Yarrow has partnered with the Better Angels organization and its coming documentary on its efforts to depolarize the nation through meetings and workshops involving citizens across party affiliations. Without aiming to change political perspectives, the workshops seek to build common ground through exchanges and discussions, unifying the people.

“What it shows is when people come together in this way, they realize that the stereotypes they held for one another are absolutely wrong-handed and false,” Yarrow shares. “This documentary, which was made last April, could become very, very important in terms of making a wave of awareness that this division is artificial.

“And I also feel that music of the sort that I play, where people sing together, has at this point the capacity [to bring people together] that it did when Peter, Paul and Mary started,” he goes on. “These songs will allow people for a few hours to abandon their anxieties about the cloud of separation and division that hangs over all our heads and give us hope. And it’s remarkable because the responses to me are not indicating, ‘Oh, it brought me back,’ the responses are, ‘Oh, thank God. We really needed this, Peter. This was just what the doctor ordered.’ So that makes it very special for me.”

— Jocelyn Murphy




An Evening With

Peter Yarrow

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. March 31

WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — Sold out; call for wait list information

INFO — 443-5600

Categories: Music