On Friday, October 5, the Center of Labor and Employment Law kicked off its two-day concert series at the Catholic Worker Maryhouse in Manhattan.
After Hugh Blumenfeld’s spectacular performance at the Theology and the Dignity of Work Conference in 2011, many were eager to hear more of his original folk songs and his interpretations of familiar favorites. He especially delighted the audience by playing one of his original songs about Dorothy Day and offered up-to-the-minute verses for a traditional labor song that sparked discussion during intermission. Everyone enjoyed his music and stories. Many observed that the evening reminded them of the power of protest songs to inspire people who are working in the labor movement and beyond.
The following evening, Saturday, October 6, the Center brought Hugh Blumenfeld back to the St. John’s Manhattan Campus for another evening of songs. There were several numbers that became lively sing-alongs and plenty of opportunities for those who attended the event to spend time together. Those who attended the event remarked that his version of “This Land Is Your Land” was particularly stirring. It was also very fitting that he played this song because the event commemorated the centennial of the birth of Woody Guthrie.
By the end of the show, it was clear to all in attendance why AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka asked the audience to give Hugh Blumenfeld a second round of applause after his performance in 2011!