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Baby Boomers: Joan Baez: An American icon

On Thursday, June 6, my wife, daughter and I attended the Joan Baez concert at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

A concert at the zoo? Yes, it is called Music in the Zoo with 30 acts playing every type of music from folk (Baez) to country (Willie Nelson) to rock (Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys) and everything in between this summer.

To baby boomers (1,400 in attendance), Baez is more than a folk singer. We know her as an activist in social and political causes.

She was inspired by Martin Luther King and participated in many marches and demonstrations. She was with King as he marched to Selma, Ala., in 1965. In 1966, she marched with Cesar Chavez, supporting the California migrant workers.

Baez toured the world supporting human rights by her presence and music. She opposed the death penalty; she supported gay and lesbian rights; and she worked for environmental and poverty causes.

But nothing was said at the concert about her causes as the concert-goers hung on to every word of her lyrics. Baez just sang — she was not political — and she was well received on a cool evening in Minnesota.

With her was her band of two — one percussionist using a box as a drum and a set of bongos, and another who played and sang. What he played was a guitar, bass guitar, fiddle, mandolin, piano, banjo and accordion, but not all at once.

Half of the show was just Baez and two musical instruments — her guitar and her voice.

A number of standing ovations were given as two encores ended the evening. “Imagine” by John Lennon was the last number of the evening as Baez had the audience sing along.

The Minnesota Zoo does this every summer. Check the zoo website for this year’s concert performers. If there aren’t any artists you might want to see, there is always next summer.