News and Events
Center for the Arts Hosts Grammy Award-Winning Folk Music Icon Peter Yarrow
The Center for the Arts will present a concert by singer/songwriter Peter Yarrow, a former member of the iconic folk-music group Peter, Paul & Mary, at Pepperdine's Smothers Theatre on Sunday, Mar. 3, at 7 p.m.
Yarrow's gift for songwriting produced some of the most moving songs Peter, Paul & Mary recorded, including "Puff, the Magic Dragon," "Day Is Done," "The Great Mandala," and "Light One Candle." His musical creativity has always gone hand in hand with his commitment to social justice and equity in society. Today he is reaching a whole new generation with his music and advocacy.
Over the years, many issues have moved Yarrow to commit his time and talent: equal rights, peace, the environment, gender equality, homelessness, hospice care, and education. All have utilized his skills as both a performer and an organizer.
Along with his singing partners Noel Paul Stookey and Mary Travers, Yarrow participated in the Civil Rights Movement, which took them to Washington in 1963 to sing for the historic march led by Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the equally historic Selma to Montgomery march in 1965.
He went on to produce and coordinate numerous events for the peace/anti-Vietnam War movement, including festivals at Madison Square Garden and Shea Stadium. These efforts culminated in his co-organizing the 1969 Celebration of Life, the famous march on Washington in which some half-million people participated.
Yarrow has also explored his talents in filmmaking, producing the critically acclaimed feature You Are What You Eat, as well as three animated television specials based on "Puff, the Magic Dragon."
In 2007 he published the first picture book edition of "Puff, the Magic Dragon," which became a bestselling title for Sterling Publishers and was followed by several more "Peter Yarrow Songbook" collections of book/CD sets.
Together with his daughter, Bethany Yarrow, and her musical partner, Rufus Cappadocia, Yarrow also produced a CD called Puff and Other Family Classics (Salasaree Records). The trio produced a public television special, Peter, Bethany & Rufus: The Spirit of Woodstock, a 2008 documentary and live concert production set in historic Woodstock, NY.
Yarrow's most recent efforts are focused on a nonprofit organization he founded in 1999 called Operation Respect, which disseminates a free program utilizing music and video along with curricular materials designed to establish a safe, compassionate, and nurturing environment in schools and summer camps across America. Operation Respect's classroom-based program, "Don't Laugh at Me" (DLAM), is available free to teachers, parents, and all educational advocates at: http://www.operationrespect.org/
At the very active age of 74, Yarrow is not about to give up the demanding path he has chosen. "We've lived through a time in which people have felt they could forge their own future and make a better world," he said. "We may not have achieved our dreams in the time frame that we once believed was possible, but the magnitude of what is yet to be achieved only confirms the importance of our commitment. This is a crucial time in US history, where the avenues of possibility are opening up like never before. Knowing this, we can't stop now."
Tickets, priced at $40, $30, or $20 for the public and $10 for full-time Pepperdine students, are available now by calling (310) 506-4522. Tickets are also available through Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787.
For more information, visit the Center for the Arts website.
Peter, Paul & Mary
The names Peter, Paul & Mary still resound with lovers of classic folk music. As one-third of that group, which won five Grammy Awards and recorded several albums that were certified Gold and Platinum, Yarrow contributed his talents as both performer and songwriter.
Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers made their professional debut as Peter, Paul & Mary at The Bitter End coffee house in New York City's Greenwich Village, center of the mid-20th-century American folk music revival, in 1961 and were an immediate hit with audiences.
The following year Warner Bros. Records released the trio's first album, Peter, Paul & Mary, which included "Lemon Tree," "500 Miles," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" The album remained in the Top 10 for 10 months and the Top 20 for two years, eventually selling more than two million copies.
"Leaving on a Jet Plane," written by the group's friend John Denver, became their only No. 1 hit (as well as their final Top 40 pop hit) in December 1969. It was the group's sixth million-selling Gold single. The track first appeared on their million-selling Album 1700 in 1967 (which also contained their No. 9 hit "I Dig Rock and Roll Music"). "Day Is Done," a No. 21 hit in June 1969, was the last Hot 100 hit the trio recorded.
The group disbanded in 1970 to pursue solo careers, but in 1972 they reunited for a concert at Madison Square Garden to support George McGovern's presidential campaign and again in 1978 for a concert to protest against nuclear energy. A subsequent summer reunion tour proved so popular that the group decided to reunite more or less permanently in 1981. They continued to record albums together and tour, playing around 45 shows a year, until Travers' 2009 death.