During the holiday season, they usually play the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, over and over and over again on one network or another. For many years, I’d watch my dad watch this movie over and over again wondering if it was really that good. And then one day I sat down and watched it with him. And yeah, it is that good. It’s about a community coming together to support each other, and it’s about the Christmas spirit, but mostly it’s about how even the littlest decisions we make can have a huge affect on the world around us.
This morning I found out that multi-instrumentalist, Pete Sutherland, from Pete’s Posse, has cancer once again and is in hospice. When I heard this news I immediately thought of George Bailey (the main character in It’s a Wonderful Life), and how his decisions, no matter how small, made an impact to so many. Unfortunately, sometimes, we don’t get to know the impact we make until it’s too late.
Those who know Pete, know that he is a huge influence in teaching and sharing traditional music to not only Young Tradition Vermont, but to literally musicians and listeners all over the world.
Though I don’t know Pete personally, I have seen him perform many times and I could see from his demeanor and musicianship that he is a special person filled with music, joy, and compassion and loves to share what he knows.
I am so saddened by this news but I hope Pete, his family and friends, know that he is and will always be an inspiration to the music community and his impact has reached far beyond what he can imagine.
My heart goes out to him, his family, his friends, his students, and all those who have listened to his music throughout the years. His music will forever be remembered in the hearts of many. And I know that with all the people he touched, his torched will surely be passed and his legend will live on.
Vermont Folklife set up a fund called For the Love of Pete, for those who want to help support Young Tradition Vermont programs in his name.
Thank you Pete for the music and the inspiration!