This album was inspired by our participation in Seattle’s Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition. (http://figgypuddingpmsc.org). This venerable event is a fundraiser for the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank. Every year on the first Friday of December, the shopping hub around Pike Street and the Westlake Mall is closed to traffic and dozens of choruses, drawn from the downtown community and greater Seattle sing their hearts out for an hour, raising holiday spirits and raising money for the center.
Because the mission of the chorus is to sing for and about social justice, we have taken the famous melodies of the christmas season and changed the lyrics to explicitly address issues that might interest the concerned and caring citizen. And we were delighted to find some excellent parodies and some beautiful serious songs of peace that we felt would be appropriate to this event.
After all these years, we had quite a collection and decided to create this compilation so that at Figgy 2008, we could have this CD whose profits would benefit the senior center. You, dear listener, get to support that effort by helping to defray expenses through your purchase.
And besides, the songs are really cool!
In case you’re interested, here’s more background on the SLC: The Seattle Labor Chorus was created in 1997 to respond to a need of the Northwest Folklife Festival, a 30-yr old Seattle institution. The legendary Pete Seeger had finally accepted their invitation to come be a featured performer but he would only consent if he had a labor chorus to back him up. And so the SLC was born. The inaugural version had about 100 singers from all walks of life who crammed for 6 weeks to learn a dozen or so songs that were performed with Pete and on our own over the whole Festival weekend. It was a transforming experience for these ardent folk music enthusiasts to perform with this voice of “the people”. After the festival, a core of about 20 decided to go on in a totally non-auditioned community chorus that would sing for and about issues of justice. The chorus quickly grew to around 50 and has served the community for almost 12 years. Our members are mostly folks in their 50’s and 60’s, although we do have one very ardent 14 year old. And we continue to broaden the communities for whom we sing – from picketlines to concert halls.