“I never died, says he”—and thus Paul Robeson sings of the union organizer Joe Hill, a man who did die for his cause. Perhaps today, as so much is said about dark times we live in, it is critical to remember there were much darker. And the society grew through such struggles, and eventually grew that much stronger. Progress is never inevitable. But music, when in the service of protest against injustice—meaning in the service of progress—cuts to our heart, as this song does. Quicker, more effective than many speeches and declamations, it tells us that ideals never die. And that, with sacrifice, human spirit does—inevitably—find its way to truth.
Alfred Hayes/Earl Robinson: Joe Hill
author: Hudson Hall
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In anticipation of the upcoming New York Festival of Song’s PROTEST at Hudson Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House on March 3 at 7pm, members of Hudson Hall community – staff, friends, and artists – have selected their favorite songs in the program. For tickets, visit hudsonhall.org or phone (518) 822 1438.
Our final post is by actor and singer John Van Ness Philip, who recently performed in the critically acclaimed production of “The Mother of Us All” at Hudson Hall.