Reminder: Sno-King School Retirees to host Feb. 15 program on folksinger Woody Guthrie

Joel Underwood

Sno-King School Retirees organization and Humanities Washington invite the community to a free in-person Humanities Washington program “That Ribbon of Highway: Guthrie in the Pacific Northwest,” at noon Thursday, Feb. 15.

The program will be presented by Joel Underwood, a member of the 2024-2025 Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau. It will be held in the Edmonds School District Educational Service Center board room, 20420 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood. The meeting begins with a meet and greet and short business meeting, followed at 1 p.m. by the Joel Underwood program.

About the talk

In 1941, folksinger and activist Woody Guthrie composed 26 songs in 30 days while riding along the Columbia River and touring the Grand Coulee Dam Project. His songs and his unique, authentic voice chronicled both the grandeur and the perils of what he called “The Greatest Thing That Man Has Ever Done” as an employee of the Bonneville Power Administration. His time here in the Pacific Northwest inspired a swell of patriotism that led Guthrie to enlist in the U.S. Merchant Marines in World War II. After his time with the Merchant Marines, he returned home to fame and notoriety, but also tragedy and great personal loss.

Joel Underwood blends his talents, skills and experience to perform a program that is part concert, part theatrical drama, and part lecture. Audience members will sing along to “Roll on Columbia,” “Pastures of Plenty” and the ever popular “This Land is Your Land,” and learn of the sometime tragic stories behind the songs.

As a teacher, folksinger, historian and actor, Underwood began his career with 25 years teaching high school history. This led to his drive to get his master’s degree in American history with a focus on folk and protest music. He received a Woody Guthrie Fellowship and was granted access to the Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he researched Gutherie’s time in the World War II Merchant Marines. He continues to tour as a musician, both solo and with his daughter. He lives in Olympia and clearly has an affinity for the Washington state and its unique history.

 About Humanities Washingtons Speakers Bureau
Humanities Washington is a statewide nonprofit. In communities throughout Washington state, speakers bureau presenters give free public presentations on history, politics, music, philosophy, spiritual traditions and everything in between.

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