Arts & Entertainment

Legendary Singer Peter Yarrow Performs for Sold-Out Crowd in Montclair

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Credits: Todd Boressoff
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Credits: Todd Boressoff
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Credits: Todd Boressoff
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Credits: Todd Boressoff
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Credits: Todd Boressoff
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Credits: Todd Boressoff
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MONTCLAIR, NJ - There was standing room only at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Saturday evening. Legendary folk icon Peter Yarrow performed his greatest hits to a sold out crowd at the 'Outpost in the Burbs'.  

One-third of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, Peter Yarrow co-wrote and sang hits like "Puff the Magic Dragon." Peter, Paul and Mary played their first show at Greenwich Village's Bitter End, with their first album was released by Warner Brothers Records in 1962. The following year, Yarrow wrote "Puff the Magic Dragon," which was based on a poem written in 1959 by Leonard Lipton, a friend of Yarrow's from Cornell. The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard 100 chart.

Gail Prusslin said, "He performed many classic tunes from his days with Peter, Paul and Mary such as Puff The Magic Dragon, Leaving on a Jet Plane, and If I Had a Hammer, as well as more recent songs he has written."

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Yarrow was born in 1938 in New York City. He learned to play both guitar and violin at a young age, and attended New York City's High School of Music and Art—now LaGuardia High School—before enrolling at Cornell University. After graduating from Cornell in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in psychology, Yarrow then moved back to New York City where he joined Mary Travers and (Noel) Paul Stookey to form the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, and they toured for nearly 10 years.

Yarrow is also known as an activist, having actively participated in the civil rights and anti-war movements of the late 1960s and early '70s. After a hiatus, the trio reunited and toured continuously. In 2000, Yarrow formed the nonprofit organization Operation Respect and continues to perform.

During his performance, Yarrow to the opportunity to work toward peace. Prusslin added, "He talked about the power of music and reminded us of the reasons - in too many ways unfortunate ones - of the relevance of these songs. He engaged the crowd with his conversation and encouraged the audience to sing along (and sing along they did!), stating 'Peace is something we can create in this moment.'  It was a beautiful moment and concert indeed."

In 2000, Yarrow founded Operation Respect, a nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce school violence by teaching children tolerance and respect for diversity. 

Yarrow had the audience singing and swaying to his songs and at one point invited participants to join him on stage.

For more information on future Outpost in the Burbs performances, visit http://outpostintheburbs.org/

Here's a snippet of the performance.

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