TRAVERSE CITY -- Donna Wilson Probes was in high school when folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary were in their heyday.
“When I was wearing the grooves off of my Peter, Paul and Mary records, I was just starting to play the baritone ukulele,” said Probes, a longtime folk musician. “I would get out my ukulele and figure out what key they were playing in and sing along. I wanted to be Mary, and in my fantasy mind, I would be shaking my hair like she does.”
Now Probes gets to play her idol, Mary Travers, in the folk trio, Peter, Paul & Mary Remembered. The Traverse City-based group pays tribute to the 1960s and ‘70s trio known for hits like “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Leaving On a Jet Plane” and ”Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
They'll perform those tunes and more on Saturday, May 18, at the Williamsburg Theater. Probes said the two-set act will include more than two dozen Peter, Paul and Mary favorites.
The tribute group formed in 2010, after getting the stamp of approval from Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey following an Interlochen concert the two played after Travers' death in 2009. Since then, the group has played mostly benefit concerts, raising nearly $100,000 for organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Zonta International, Safe Harbor and Love, INC.
“Since this isn’t our music, we don’t have ownership of it, we feel it's important to perform in a spirit of social activism that was so much a part of who they are,” Probes said.
"They're really passionate about (giving back)," said Katie Koeppen, relational ministry coordinator for Love, INC., which provides goods and services to people with disadvantages. "They are phenomenal. They are a gifted group and they work really hard to sound like Peter, Paul and Mary. It's just a great concert."