Last night, folkies Peter Yarrow and Noel “Paul” Stookey took the stage together to pay tribute to their former bandmate Mary Travers, who passed away on September 16. The Peter, Paul and Mary co-founders made a surprise appearance at Feel Free: A National Parks Celebration In Central Park. The event took place in the East Meadow section of New York’s Central Park as part of National Parks Week NYC. In addition to short performances by Eric Benet, Gavin DeGraw, Jose Feliciano, Carole King and Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, the free show featured appearances by filmmaker Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Department of Interior Assistant Secretary Tom Strickland, Yosemite National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson, Park Ranger Gerard Baker and other conservationists. Burns also used the occasion to preview clips from his PBS film The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, while current tour companions Counting Crows and Augustana opened the night with a collaborative performance.
Yarrow—who lives in the shadow of Central Park—was originally billed as a solo performer, but took the stage with Stookey for their first joint performance since Travers’ death. The paired performers discussed Travers’ life and commitment to social action, especially her performance at the famed March on Washington. The musicians then covered one of the songs their also played on that historically important day, Woodie Guthrie’s ““This Land Is Your Land.” Partway through the song, most of the evening’s musical performers emerged together to close the number in sing-along fashion.