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Joan Baez: Where have all the flowers gone

For my generation the memory of the Viet Nam War is not just a matter of history; the Viet Nam war is still vivid in our minds. As a young man I remember the horrors of this conflict, one that nobody really comprehended, yet millions had to go and fight not knowing if they would come back safe. Many did not, and others came back with problems and memories that would haunt them forever. This song encapsulates the tragic feeling of that era. I particularly love Baez expressive voice and one cannot say enough about her artistry, stage presence and her wonderful skills with the guitar.

Joan Baez sings Bob Dylan’s Forever Young

What is a populist voice? People talk about Johnny Cash and sometimes Willy Nelson as authentic folksters, singing about the American experience, failures  and aspirations. NYFOS was recently at Exeter Academy, one of our finest prep schools. I was busy conducting  the orchestra, and Steve Blier was giving a vocal master class in another room.  He mentioned Joan Baez as a vocal example. The student politely asked “who’s Joan Baez?” Boys and Girls, here is Joan Baez. She was big in the 60’s and 70’s and is still big as far as I’m concerned. I knew she was good when I was a kid, because my Dad couldn’t stand her. He also hated Barbara Streisand, so I figured they were both fabulous singers. I was right. Here she is singing Bob Dylan’s song “Forever Young” . NYFOS did this song recently at Juilliard for the Bolcom/Corigliano 80th birthday celebration. It was John Corigliano’s setting. I did it for John Guare’s 80th birthday. It’s a real beauty. Thanks, Bob.

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