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  • 06/27/2020 3:12 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    On June 26, 2020 Billboard Magazine published an article on the People's Music Network, our history, and how we have been responding to the pandemic.   It includes in depth interviews with PMN Steering Committee Member, Luci Murphy, and the host of tonight's Hip Hop Livestream (more on that below), Dilson Hernandez.

    The article gives a pretty honest portrayal of how PMN is working to develop music as a tool for social change and also touches on some of the long-term issues our organization has struggled with, especially the role of the musician as a servant of the people as well as building a more racially diverse membership.  Give this a read!

    https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/features/9410055/peoples-music-network-songs-protests-luci-murphy


  • 06/26/2020 3:01 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    From June 11-15, 2020, the People's Music Network hosted an extended weekend of music, socializing, and community discussion. 

    The program included a number of public events that were livestreamed:

    • Thursday night livestreamed “PMN Summer Concert” 
    • Saturday night livestreamed “Round Robin” where members pre-register to get a chance to perform;   

    We also hosted some PMN Member-only events such as: 

    • Friday and Saturday afternoon “Schmooze Rooms” where members got to know other members; 
    • Sunday morning “Songs of the Spirit” where the community will sing together despite the distance between us;   
    • Sunday afternoon "Membership Meeting" where the community will discuss PMN’s future;   
    • And Monday night workshop where members will learn ways to get involved in PMN's ongoing efforts at "Building Online Musical Community".  
  • 03/17/2020 12:19 AM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    How can the transformative power of music lift up people’s spirits and inspire movements for justice in the face of a global pandemic? 

    The People’s Music Network annual Summer Gathering is scheduled from June 12-14, 2020 at the Woolman Hill Retreat Center in Deerfield, MA.  Large groups singing together face-to-face is what makes PMN Gatherings so exciting and inspiring.  During this particular pandemic, it also endangers people’s health.  

    PMN is considering how to move forward in this crisis, with our mission in mind: sustaining and growing a diverse community of performing artists, activists and allies that uses music, poetry, and other forms of cultural work as catalysts for a just and peaceful world.  As we assess our options, the PMN Steering Committee will continue to communicate with our members about our decision making for this year’s Summer Gathering.

    For decades, PMN has sustained our community primarily by hosting major gatherings.  In recent years, we’ve also developed ideas for programs to sustain our community through online platforms.  In response to this crisis, we’re reviving our exploration of how these ideas can help us fulfill our mission right now.  Confronting this challenge is new for PMN and just about everyone else, but we have the capacity to work together, learn, and develop new strategies.


    Your Input is Needed 

    We're interested in collaborating with our PMN community to maintain and strengthen the network even while many of us maintain physical distance from groups to protect ourselves and others.  Here are additional activities we think PMN could focus on during this period, especially with the engagement of a focused team of volunteers:

    • Song Contest for new social justice songs, each with a topical focus.
    • Songwriting prompt followed by sharing what we write.
    • Compiling a list of PMN members who are holding online concerts and collaborating with other organizations to promote them. One new resource is: www.stayathomefest.com
    • Webinar: How independent working musicians can earn a living in a pandemic. One new resource is:  www.covid19freelanceartistresource.wordpress.com
    • Webinar: Tips and Tricks for Home Audio Recording.

    What are your ideas for how the People’s Music Network can strengthen our community while making music for social change during this pandemic?  Please write to us at pmn@peoplesmusic.org  with your own ideas and how you could help organize these or other types of activities.

    Signed in song and solidarity,

    Ben Grosscup, Executive Director
    Tobie Hoffman, President
    Charlie King, Treasurer


  • 01/19/2020 11:19 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    Check out the full workshop program for the People's Music Network Winter Convergence in NYC from Jan 24-26, 2020: https://www.peoplesmusic.org/Winter-Gathering-Workshops


  • 12/11/2019 4:10 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)
    This story features images from the event courtesy of Bev Grant and Jeremy Aaron.

          If you were with us on October 20 for the one-day PMN Fall Convergence at the People’s Forum in NYC, you know what a success it was!  We had 100 registered participants for this one-day local event -- one of the most diverse in PMN’s recent history (See the livestream of the open mic here).  

          The same creative and dynamic NYC Local Organizing Committee that hosted the 2019 Fall Convergence is now busy planning the 2020 PMN Winter Convergence -- a full weekend of musical inspiration at two locations in NYC from January 24-26, 2020 that will draw hundreds of participants from around the Northeast U.S. and beyond.  

    Why Call it a “Convergence”? 
          For years PMN has held Gatherings: weekend-long events with music rooted in struggles for justice and peace.  The NYC Organizing Committee believes that in this moment of global crisis, the role of the People’s Music Network is to help our members join forces -- both musically and politically -- to help inspire and encourage the movements we are part of.  In response, The organizing committee is creating a number of workshop tracks in order to bring together different communities of activist musicians with whom PMN is building ever stronger alliances: 

    1. Activist Choral Music 
    2. Hip Hop
    3. Latin Music and Nueva Cancion

          The elements that many members have come to love about past  PMN Gatherings -- the eclectic Friday night concert; song swaps; jamming; Round Robin; skill sharing; songwriting workshops; shared meals; homestay placements in NYC; Songs of the Spirit; and, we hope, you -- will all be part of this Winter Convergence

    PMN Winter Convergence:
    Musical Collaboration for Global Justice
    @two different locations in NYC
    January 24-26, 2020

    Early Registration opens December 12, 2019. 




    Friday, Jan. 24:  A Concert Bridging Different Generations of Struggle, Musical Styles, and Communities

    The People's Forum -- 320 West 37th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues), NYC
        The show will feature musical performances by the Sing in Solidarity Chorus, Mario Cancel, Jendog Lonewolf, their artistic collaborators, and others.  

    Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25-26: Workshops and Song Sharing
    Central Park East II School -- 433 East 100th Street, NYC
         We are delighted to be back at Central Park East II for the second year in a row!  The Saturday workshop program will highlight the distinctiveness of particular musical forms and traditions.  The evening Round Robin will draw shine to the individual talents and contributions of our diverse community. The Sunday morning Sessions will offer different ways for the community to integrate distinct musical forms into a louder, more united, and more powerful cultural force.  

    *** Propose a Workshop
          To propose a specific workshop for this upcoming Convergence, consider these Guidelines.  Then you can fill out this Workshop Proposal Form.  Deadline for workshop proposals is December 15, 2019.


  • 06/18/2019 4:38 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    The 2020 People’s Music Network Winter Gathering will take place in New York City from January 24-26, 2020. It includes:

    • Music to inspire dreams for a better world.
    • Traditions that strengthen social justice struggles.
    • A community where singers, listeners, songwriters, fans, are welcome in a common space.

    The location for the PMN Friday Night Concert, starting at 7:30pm on January 24, 2020, is yet to be announced. 

    On Saturday and Sunday (January 25 & 26, 2020) at Central Park East II in East Harlem (enter from First Avenue and East 101st Street), we’ll have participatory workshops and song swaps, mentoring sessions, and a Saturday night Round Robin – all highlighting the role of music in progressive social change. A specific track of workshops for youth called the Youth Creative Convergence will take place parallel to the adult workshop. Expect numerous opportunities to share music, sing together, and to join efforts to bring music for progressive social change into the heart of struggles for justice and freedom today.

  • 03/07/2019 7:50 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    This year is the 100th anniversary of Pete Seeger’s birth. Pete was born on May 3, 1919, in New York City. He died on Jan. 27, 2014. Pete and Toshi made a huge impact on our world - working tirelessly together for peace, justice, and the earth. At age 19 Pete dropped out of Harvard and began using music to work for change and he never looked back.

    A series of concerts taking place all over the United States will celebrate Pete’s life and inspire audiences to continue carrying on this important work! Find an up to date event listing compiled by Peter Blood at https://www.riseupandsing.org/seeger/100th/events


  • 03/07/2019 7:16 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    The video recordings from the performances at the January 25, 2019 Friday evening Concert and the January 26, 2019 Round Robin are posted online! 

    Watch the videos here.

    Special thanks to Jasper Lapienski who organized the video recording and did the editing and cataloging work!  Thank also to the volunteers who ran the video equipment and gathered the information about each performance.

  • 03/07/2019 7:15 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    They say every dilemma is an opportunity, so we’re writing you about a great opportunity growing out of a dilemma concerning PMN's plans for a Summer Gathering in 2019. 

    The dilemma, simply put: we have no viable site for a Summer Gathering in 2019.  Every site we approached (mostly camps in rural places) was either unsuitable, unavailable or unaffordable.  We are already looking to solve this issue for Summer 2020, and developing new leadership to make that happen.
     
    The opportunity was suggested by one of our members at the last summer gathering.  Why not join forces with other organizations doing the same work we do?  The first organization that came to mind will be familiar to many of you.

    The Labor Heritage Foundation (LHF) sponsors an annual summer gathering each June, The Great Labor Arts Exchange (GLAE).  It has been going for as long as PMN has.  It is organized by several of our members and attended by many of our members.  Last June it was the site for the annual retreat of the American Federation of Musicians Local 1000, again an organization many of our members belong to.  We’ve been in touch with LHF Director (and former PMN Steering Committee member) Elise Bryant. She is excited to have PMN be a part of their 2019 summer gathering. 

    We can look forward to: bringing our songs to their multiple round robin "arts exchanges"; presenting panels or workshops as we have at our usual summer gatherings; sponsoring one of the various song contests (voted on by attendees with cash prizes offered); convening breakout sessions for PMNers and any interested in joining us. And after GLAE ends with a breakfast feedback session on Sunday the 23rd a session all our own could be a welcome send off. 

    The dates for GLAE are June 20 -23 (Thursday to Sunday) in Silver Spring MD, just outside of Washington DC.  It’s held at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center with great facilities for plenaries and breakouts.  The Center offers private rooms and meals and LHF can help arrange home stays and indicate alternate dining sites for tighter budgets. Registration details will be sent out soon.  We will be sharing more information at the Winter Gathering.

    GLAE will bring us together with activists in the labor movement and with a diverse array of cultural workers - singers, rappers, poets, writers and visual artists.  All the arts are focused on creating progressive change.  We have a lot to offer each other.

    So mark your calendars and join us as we join The Great Labor Arts Exchange for a mutual summer gathering! Read more about the Great Labor Arts Exchange here: https://www.laborheritage.org/great-labor-arts-exchange-2019/

    - The PMN Steering Committee

  • 02/27/2019 9:46 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    By Jasper Lapienski

    As the last of 25 participants in the first Freedom & Struggle Song Swap arrived on Saturday, February 23, 2019, Charlie King -- 2018 PMN Artist-in-Residence and host of this month's swap -- asked us to move our chairs back to accommodate everyone.

    The new, monthly song swap in Greenfield is co-sponsored by Dance Spree, a community group that I lead which hosts weekly freestyle boogies as well as workshops and other community events, such as a debate of candidates for statewide offices who belong to parties that are are excluded from the two party duopoly.  The song Swap has two main objectives: to bring home the singing of freedom songs, and to bring singers and dancers into contact with one another, encouraging crossover between the groups.

    The evening included a whole lot of Pete Seeger songs, and thanks to a loan of songbooks from Peter Blood & Annie Patterson, everyone was able to sing along. Attendees included Ben Grosscup, PMN executive director; Storm, Steering Committee member; and Rob Peck, MC of the 2018 summer concert.

    To be held on the 4th Saturday of every month, the song swap takes place at The Episcopal Church of St James & Andrew in downtown Greenfield, leading up to and into that night's freestyle dance. We hope you'll join us for both the singing and the dancing, month after month!

    For more info on the song swap go to www.peoplesmusic.org/events - more on the dance go to www.dancespree.org

    Upcoming swaps: March 23 with Michael Nix; April 27 with Ben Grosscup; May 25 - still seeking facilitator.

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