Spook Handy will give a Sermon in Song on the topic "A Time to Build Up: The 3rd Part of “Resist, Protect, Rebuild” Sunday at Christ Unity of Chattanooga, 105 McBrien Road during the 11 a.m. service.
Review for Spook Handy:
Folk Musician and National Medal of the Arts recipient Pete Seeger said, “You don’t have to tear down a house in order to rebuild its foundation.” How often do we hear someone say they would like to make the world a better place? Would you believe that each one of us has a profound impact every day on the world we live in – starting with ourselves and extending out to our communities and the world as a whole? In the personal lives, our communities and our work, our actions reflect and promote our values. So, the question becomes: What values are we reflecting and promoting? Are we promoting cynicism, division and individualism or are we promoting empowerment, integrity and solidarity? Are we helping to rebuild the foundation or are we only helping to tear down the house?
A Student of Pete Seeger: No individual has had as profound an effect on Spook Handy’s outer path as Pete Seeger. Spook performed alongside Pete at festivals and concerts more than 50 times from 2003-2013. He learned firsthand many of Pete’s songs and the stories behind them. Even more, he learned who Pete Seeger was and what he stood for. To Spook, Pete was the embodiment of the highest ideals – a man who lived the belief that we have all the tools we need to shape ourselves and our world into what we wish them to be.
The “Remembering Pete Seeger” World Tour: In the months after Pete passed away in 2014, Spook took it upon himself to “Keep the Flame Alive” – continuing Pete’s tradition of using songs and stories as tools to build and nurture community. He embarked on an ambitious “Remembering Pete Seeger” World Tour with the goal of bringing Pete’s songs, stories and especially his message to all 50 U.S states, all 10 Canadian provinces and many other countries, as well as all 21 New Jersey counties.
“Pete, Woody & Me, Volume I – Keep the Flame Alive”: In 2016, Spook released his fifth full length CD. Recorded with his backup band “The Seed Planters,” the CD is more than just a tribute to Pete. Heeding Pete’s advice to “write new verses to old songs to keep them up to date,” Spook reworked “Banks of Marble,” (a song recorded by The Weavers in 1950) to include new verses he wrote about the college loan burdens of the “bright eyed student” and the low wage burdens of the “retail worker.” The song charted at no.3 for two months on the Folk DJ Charts. Heeding Pete’s advice to “write new songs that everybody can sing,” Spook wrote “Vote” which Pete Seeger himself sang at concerts. The song charted at no. 2 on those same charts. Other songs from this CD and past CDs have received ample airplay and have charted in the top 20. And new songs that build on the tradition are being written for a follow up CD.
An Evolving Message: In 2017, Spook added a new element to his offers. At the International Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City, Spook introduced his new workshop/panel “A Time to Build Up: part 3 of ‘Resist, Protect, Rebuild.’” The message is clear. Pete once told Spook, “You don’t have to tear down a house in order to rebuild its foundation.” The workshop/panel addresses the profound influence that songwriters, performers, presenters, DJs and even volunteers have on the public consciousness through the values reflected in the songs we bring to the world. It asks: Are we promoting cynicism, division and individualism or are we promoting empowerment, integrity and solidarity? Spook carries even further his mission to “Keep the Flame Alive” by bringing his workshops and panels to conferences and festivals around the country. A variety of workshops Spook offer is described at www.spookhandy.com/wp/workshops.