The Forever Magic of Peter, Paul, & Mary

[Music] We Begin this afternoon with the forever music of Peter Paul and Mary which has framed our history from the 1960s to this very day so as we welcome the stage nol Paul stuki the Paul of Peter Paul and Mary I don't think you would have confused that and his daughter Liz Sundi as they bring alive a lifetime that is making a difference please welcome Liz Sundi and her father nol Paul [Applause] stuki thank you welcome thank you thank [Music] [Applause] you do I I have to sing in that
key yes my life rolls on in Endless song Above Earth's Lamentations I hear the real though far off him that hails the new creation above the tal in The Strife I hear music ringing it sounds an echo in my soul how can we keep from singing how can we keep from [Music] singing and that's my dad
H that's my daughter thanks so much thanks so much it's great to be here with all of you and it's wonderful to romp through the life story here we're going to talk a little bit about your life in music and our work together on an organization we created called music to life so we'll jump right in and I have a funny well he laughed earlier he might not laugh now because he already knows what the question is but my question is uh how does a nerdy Midwestern Rock and roller somehow find the streets of grenwich Village to hook up and be part of a incredibly popular folk music I'm a great believer in coincidence I'm sure that that's true for a lot of people here today who are meeting others for the first time and recognizing a connection that they never knew existed so uh the connective parts of my history which uh built a legacy that Jeff Cole
referred to earlier today as fading uh well that has a certain aspect to it but the thing is music defies that description because some songs you just don't forget the first one I learned as a kid was she'll be coming around the mountain when she comes sang my dad sang Harmony to it my ears buzzed like I had never heard anything so beautiful before in my life from there a young kid in Maryland moving to Michigan going to high school starting a rock and roll band from there to a photographic Chemical Company in New York City that played chess down in the village and they replaced the chess table with a stage and calling on my rock and roll rots I said what do you have to do and they said come down and audition well I was so weird I I was a great lover of Jonathan wyers you know the I i' love to do sound effects my
favorite of course was a toilet but I'll I'll do that for you later it's a great toilet and and I became a Master of Ceremonies at The Gaslight I met Mary Travers who lived across the street did an arrangement brought out the guitar and months later how much of the story do you want you want Albert huh yeah right I mean yeah just okay well for those of you that are taking notes uh the group Peter PA and Mar was actually created in the mind first of Albert Gman a manager who later went on to manage Bob Dylan but that came after the trio that he had conceived of Peter was a uh a singer solo and he wanted Albert had a design for a group with Peter as the lead singer uh they were in a guitar store in New York Peter looked up saw a picture of Mary Travers and said wow who's that and Albert said oh she can sing if you can get her to work we weren't sure what he meant
exactly by that uh because she certainly did as we did for 50 years uh work a lot I think what Albert was referring to was the fact that she was a single mom and doing an incredible job of pulling together income and raising a beautiful daughter named Erica well anyway I came later my first name was NL last name was stuki and though we had the choice of the the group name the Willows which seemed to suit us being Fallen lanky as we were the Willows well anyway John Court Albert's associate suggested well you know if nol changes his name to Paul we could call the group Peter Paul and Mary I don't know how deep your folk roots go but there's a song that says I was born about 10,000 years ago there's nothing in this world that I don't know I saw Peter Paul and Moses playing Ring Around The Rose and I'll whoop the guy that
says it is well the Peter Paul and M alliteration was already there but all I could think of was archal leech and the fact that I didn't want to be I don't want to have an assumed name so I took Paul on as my middle name not realizing that Paul was going to take me on a worldwide trip and develop uh a legacy of sorts we had many wonderful songs uh we met many wonderful people in the course of our singing and introduced some I mean we introduced the answer my friends blowing in the wind the answer is blowing The Wind by Bob Dylan we sang the SE uh pet Seager and Lee ha's song If I Had a Hammer I'd hammer in the morning hammer in the evening all over this land I know you want to clap and sing and do all that but that'll come later when the choir comes out we'll do
this land together and um so some of that music lives on but there's a transition and before turning it over to my daughter to explain where that transition could possibly go well there's me and has gone country h no no go ahead I I I'll do this every once in a familial familial murmuring I'm sure those of you with progeny recognize familial murmuring murmuring the uh the fact is my arrival to music of meaning was late because I loved to do [ __ ] when I was in high school I even wrote bogus folk songs uh when I was in the village trying to be part of the gang but eventually you become aware of the authenticity of intent and that begins to guide your decisions both in terms of the songs that you pick to sing which Peter and
maryan always did we were first accused as a group of being too slick too modern but we did not want to emulate the style of previous folkies you know those who came from cultural culturally identifiable areas we actually had our as you may or may not know our own style and the wonderful thing that we learned about folk music was that yes you can have an intention to make the world a better place but boy you better include the children as well so much of our material much more than just Puff the Magic Dragon became part of our repertoire doing songs like it's raining it's pouring oh just old familiar Tunes but there is a sense of family at Peter Paul and Mary concerts and then when this one came along the first of three for my wife and I who incidentally is my bride of some 60 years now we went to high school together which helps a lot because you speak this invisible
language when you go to high school together yeah I I'll pass that on she she'll be pleased that you thought of her that way um the fact is that I have run out of things to say uh I have given you as much background as I think the time calls for because as broad a repertoire as Folk Music presents it also has an inner core of care and concern that I'm sure that you felt every time you've heard of withs Woody Guthrie singing this land is your land this land is my did you know that he had a number8 hit in America in 1947 with that song hard to believe now that radio has taken a backseat to streaming but nonetheless uh fact is folk music has lasted for a long long time and still exists as this kind of core of concern expressed by some musicians and taken even further now than the rubber chicken
dinner at the benefit that you attended to raise funds for something these musicians are have taken a page out of the activist book and I'm going to turn it over to Liz to explain that right to you well we'll we'll we'll go back and forth a little bit okay but BEC well because it started um your question we had a question um gosh almost 20 years ago which was does this music still exist we had a lot of folks who were feeling that Nostalgia for the 60s and well that was when all the social change music happened so we decided to test that and we ran a songwriting contest for about 10 years and the response was incredible um from not only traditional folk but across genres across Generations sub were 15 200 and then at the end I think more like four and 500 um yeah it was really extraordinary and the other thing that we did as part of this cuz I just wasn't satisfied with just the music I just wanted to ask them
a little bit more okay you're you're these kind of heart-driven musicians um what else are you doing with your music and they came back again really strongly saying oh my gosh well I'm so much more than a musician I'm a Healer I'm an educator I'm a facilitator I'm a I'm a bridge builder I want to go or I am already trying to go into prisons and into opioid clinics and into immigration advocacy centers and into schools I'm trying I'm trying I'm not exactly sure um I I want to interrupt for just a moment because we watched earlier those of you that were here how AI had taken images and projected them in museums and in hallways and I turned to Liz while we were watching that and I said put your fingers in your ear take away the music and watch these images and see if you are similarly moved yeah guess what yeah you were lost you contains an emotional connectivity that can't be
disputed I'm sure it would show up in Mary Lou's uh you know brain scans that she talks about and can break wine glasses if you've got a loud enough voice well let me let me move us on so we do have some slides to share with you about some of our work together um our organization is called music to life um I'll tell you a little bit more about that organization um as we move forward but I wanted to share kind of an image that's that's so much fun for me because this was one of our first so these artists again are coming to us and they're saying we're more than just performing musicians were doing more than just writing a song and this was a moment where we leaned in a little bit and we said all right well let's work together so Bloomberg media commissioned us to do a retrospective sort of a multimedia retrospective on music of change sort of a hundred years of music of change and in the process We Came Upon jaziri X um who's a rap artist and Carolyn Malachi who's this incredible kind of Soul Indie artist and it just kind of snowballed from there we were sort of like wow look at these incredible artist with Incredible
creativity and and we took this on we took this on the road we went to conferences with this we went to schools with this and um and it still I feel like wasn't quite enough because for us to be the producers we were standing kind of in the middle of the artist and the work that they might want to do so we started we started moving into a place where we were helping them realize their own kind of visions and dreams for for Change and so how specifically that that manifested itself yeah well so we so we've been a nonprofit for about 5 years now even though this is a decades old kind of dream for us but um right now we have um the only incubator of its kind for social change musicians to help them become social entrepreneurs so we run trainings we run um we have resources we have a network now of musicians we have probably about 450 all over the country um half of whom are artists of color um in 42 States and
they are coming to us and asking how can we create programs of value that are music infused in our communities such that it also Returns value to us so we don't constantly have to sacrifice and volunteer our time to be in these communities we care about but we can have a win-win right um and so our our program kind of looks like this this is a really fun we just we did this in um Huntsville Alabama um but we have two programs uh these are this is our accelerator program and one is a boot camp and one is a six-month Academy program and again the results are extraordinary and well Dad and I were just at a conference a couple weeks ago and I don't know if you got approached in this way but I I had communities coming up to me and saying like one of the one this commissioner from Las Vegas came up to me and said wait can you come could you do one of your workshops with us in Las Vegas and help us address the fentanyl issue with the musicians that are kind of surrounding our community could you Galvanize them and train them
as these social entrepreneurs so they can figure out you know how am I how am I formulating a program for impact how am I finding Grant resources how am I connecting with Partners can you kind of charge up our musicians so that we can you know fight this from a creative angle amazing and then we had I understand there's somebody from the sou Falls um School District here but we had we also had somebody um working with the levit foundation in soue Falls Idaho who said basically the same thing when you come on to the Rose Bud reservation and work with the native artists there again to sort of give them these social entrepreneurial skills so we can really build up their their talents and just amazing so the fact that it's happening with the artists but now also we have these communities coming to us is is just great so I have a few examples we have some more time um so these are these are artists that um that are coming to us through our our Academy program is six months again our what you look what you see here this kind of dynamic interplay is so much fun and we call it a boot camp for for musicians we drop into we just in Kansas City again
we we've been in boisey and Tulsa um but yeah so let me just introduce one of our one of our Academy graduates so Alisa Harkins is a Native American Artist um composer dancer choreographer and her focus is preserving the Cherokee language and Indigenous musicology and so she is just kind of all over the place she's toured the world with this she is a DJ on several indigenous radio stations um she goes into schools and does druming stuff so she came to us kind of being all over the place she was like oh my gosh this is so important to me how do I focus and so we helped her create a strategic business plan to kind of focus her efforts frankly if it's not a terrible word in the circle brand herself you know in in the best way possible so that she could really see and measure her impact right yeah it's one thing as I'm sure you would understand if you achieve an
National Fame through the singing of a song then your capacity to generate interest in what you do is enhanced but for those that are driven by a concern for their Community this is an amazing breakthrough for them it connects them with I'm not sure that I heard you say that connects them with agencies in the communities correct that sponsor them so they may not make uh an income from royalties generated by songs on records actually nowadays it's Spotify or streaming but they don't generate income that way so how do they how are they able to maintain their care for the community because music has only recently I think been thought of in such healing and directive and corrective terms I just wanted to inter no thank you so much I really appreciate that and the to to tie up Alisa's story um we
helped her um apply for and she's now secured a $50,000 Grant from the creative Capital Foundation which is Andy warhol's Foundation we're very very excited for her so um yeah she's well on her way and all of our students are forever alums right so they come back and their mentors to kind of the next generation of artists that come through our program so she's super super inspiring and then there's Benny I think you all shared yeah you shared a virtual stage at one point with Benny so Benny's um oh by the way Alisa is in Tulsa Oklahoma Benny is in Toronto um he's a Juno nominated um multi-instrumentalist um uh Colombian Refugee he came over with his parents who were fleeing political persecution um from Colombia and he's a incredible Community organizer his program what he's developed is something called wheel it Studios which is a mobile recording van that goes through some of these marginalized um really challenging kind of Toronto neighborhoods crosses those kind of
invisible gang boundaries essentially um to kind of mobilize Youth and find a a neutral zone in the middle of that I think I have a picture of him yeah so they'll find a park or they'll find a plaza or something in the middle um and the kids will come and they'll cross these boundaries because they're doing so in the spirit of sort of music and un unity and and connection and so he has been able to successfully reduce violence in these communities and he's being asked again he's gone through our program so at this point he's a graduate of our Academy program he's being asked by the city of Toronto to contract with them to to replicate this model um and he secured like I don't know $ 39,000 maybe $40,000 worth of Grants through going through this program so it's it's really it's really really exciting stuff the big shot was the melon though thank you Dad yes melon so melon recognized this work um and has been supporting us pretty significantly for the last few
years we're very very happy and thankful for that and also um industry groups so um conquered music and um the Warner uh music global social justice fund which was developed after George Floyd's murder so they also are sort of recognizing particularly with the diversity of of you know again genres and generations and artists that we're working with they're recognizing us too and fingers crossed we are talking with the national academ of recording Arts and Sciences which is the Grammys about embedding our training model in their Grammy chapters around the country um and maybe Beyond and we're looking for an award actually for a music of social concern award for the Grammys I mean it seems way overdue somehow that's not to say that there's not entertainment value in some of these songs although we watch halftime at the Super Bowl or uh we see see a lot of Flash and Dash and I'm sure that some of you are
aching to see the substance reemerge as something important and that certainly is what happens with music to life yeah well with 13 seconds nobody else seemed to pay any attention to the time you know I but look at us we got eight seconds to go this I got a couple of jokes I could tell just this is just a quick scene of of some of the you know emerging artists that we've worked with over the years that happen to be on stage which a with a healthy Peter and uh and Dad and yeah this was just a great closing we will be around by the way after this I'm going to stick around certainly to sing with the choir and we'll be able to answer some questions thank you yeah we'd love to answer questions um music so I didn't write it on the slide it's music so it's great to be here thank you oh do you want okay are you closing and now for a smooth smoth
exit when tyrants tremble sick with fear and hear their death now ringing when friends Rejoice both far and near how can we keep from singing how can we keep from singing keep on singing y'all [Applause] [Music] h