The Power of Song

Pete Seeger sing along tribute in Rockford September 17

ROCKFORD IL - Emmanuel Lutheran Church welcomes back folk singer songwriter Mark Dvorak for “The Power of Song: A Sing Along Tribute to Pete Seeger," on Sunday, September 17 at 3:00 pm. For those interested in joining Dvorak on stage, a workshop / rehearsal “The Power of Song” begins at 1:30 pm. Both events take place at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 920 Third Avenue.

“Thousands upon thousands of people over the years have taken up the banjo, the guitar and began opening their ears to the world of music because of Pete,” said Dvorak. 

“Pete taught us how to use music to grow our communities and celebrate our heritage. He also demonstrated over many decades the importance of using art and song to help build a more just and peaceful world.”

After a long life filled with music and activism, Seeger passed away in January 2014 at age 94.

After WWII, Seeger along with Fred Hellerman, Ronnie Gilbert and Lee Hays enjoyed a number of chart hits as The Weavers, introducing the work of seminal folk artists like Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly, and reintroducing American listeners to their own roots music traditions.

Seeger left The Weavers in the mid-1950s after being called to testify before the House on UnAmerican Activities. He was consequently banned from radio and television. At the same time he and his wife Toshi were raising a family in a log cabin they had built near Beacon, New York on the banks of the Hudson River.

Seeger scrambled to earn an income. He embarked on a long string of performances at community centers, colleges and grade schools, crystallizing the powerful essence of American folk music.

By 1969, The Sloop Clearwater was launched, a 106-foot long replica sailing vessel common on the Hudson in the19th century. The Clearwater served to draw attention to the problem of pollution of the Hudson River, which included mercury contamination, PCBs and raw sewage.

Seeger’s greatest legacy may have been saving the Hudson, according to those who worked with him to preserve the waterway. And his environmental activism didn’t stop with the river. In the autumn of 2013 he put in a surprise appearance with Willie Nelson and Neil Young at a Farm-Aid benefit. Seeger added an extra verse to his anthem, “This Land Is Your Land” by singing, “This land was made to be frack-free.”

"There is a very strong community singing tradition in the Rockford area,” said Dvorak, who is resident artist for the community organization Music & Potlucks, and who also performed with Seeger on a handful of occasions. “Pete has led the way for a lot of years. He’s still leading the way."

Dvorak has performed in thirty-eight states and in parts of Europe and Canada. He has won awards for journalism and children’s music. In 2008 he received the Woodstock Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lantern Bearer Award from Folk Alliance International in 2013. In 2012, WFMT 98.7 fm Midnight Special host Rich Warren named him Chicago’s “official troubadour."

General admission is $15 advance. $20 at the door. For advance ticket information text 815.621.5329. Visit Emmanuel Lutheran Church at Learn more about Mark Dvorak at

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