SOMERVILLE, NJ – Woody Guthrie would be proud.
The legendary social activist, songwriter and guitarist who helped to elevate the social consciousness of America in the 1940s and 1950s, while supporting good causes, is being honored on Saturday, Aug. 6 by the Friends of Somerset County Youth.
The organization has put out a call for 500 acoustic guitar players, as well as those who prefer banjos, ukuleles and mandolins, to all strum along and play Guthrie’s classic “This Land is Your Land” at the same time.
Guthrie’s songs and lyrics spawned a movement; he married simple, folksy music with sharp, edgy lyrics that combined to challenge convention and question authority. His contemporaries and fellow activists/musicians included Pete Seeger and the Weavers; together, they inspired Guthrie’s son, Arlo, as well as Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs to carry on the tradition of balladeers imbued with a passion for righting wrongs through music and song.
Musicians are asked to gather on the Division Street pedestrian mall between 2-6 p.m.
The organizers have extended their invitation to anyone that wants to help establish a New Jersey record for the most guitarists playing together in a group at the same time.
Polished professionals and part-time pickers are all encouraged to sign up and bring a friend – that includes those who can carry a tune or keep a beat on an overturned bucket.
Chord and lyric charts are available online at www.friendsofsomersetcountyyouth.org.
There will be a raffle of a Yamaha acoustic guitar donated by the Guitar Center, Route 28, Bridgewater as well as contests and prizes.
The Friends of Somerset County Youth is a non-profit corporation dedicated to charitable causes that benefit Somerset County youth.
The organization supports the efforts of local community volunteers to offer prevention programs and activities. The objective of Friends is to help identify risk factors that lead to juvenile delinquency, advocate for the needs of youth, and provide a variety of educational opportunities for professionals who serve children and families and for parents.
It costs $10 to register online or at the event. A full schedule is also available on the website, www.friendsofsomersetcountyyouth.org.