“Pete Seeger was a collaborator, a musician, an artist, and a social activist,” says Laura Ball, a musician, performer, and composer in her own right. She’s also a collaborator, with her popular Unedited series making waves throughout the Charleston music and arts scene.
This year for Piccolo Spoleto, Laura is teaming up with her usual group of musicians (Ann Caldwell, Hazel Ketchum, John Holenko, and Jonathan Gray), as well as local artists, performers, and people connected to the Civil Rights era, to sing the songs of Pete Seeger.
“We already had our normal season planned and going, but we’d left Piccolo open to see if something came up that made sense for the festival,” says Ball. “With Pete Seeger passing this year, it made perfect sense to commemorate his legacy.”
This won’t be a normal sit-and-watch kind of a concert. “We’re bringing in people with great stories to tell, and obviously an incredible song list,” says Ball. “It’s going to be very heavy on audience participation, just like Seeger’s shows. We really want to get the audience to sing along.”
To do that, they’re bringing in secret “cameo” performers, with stories to share about the Civil Rights era. “This isn’t my era,” continues Ball. “I’m too young to have lived through this. But having primary resources — people who were there, with memories to share — is key to keeping the show relevant and personal. We sourced as much as we could from different areas of our community, not just professional musicians. Seeger was a man of the people. We want the show to be true to that. His message, his life’s work, and his legacy. This is truly a product of our collective community.”