Sharon Abreu & Michael Hurwicz
Sharon Abreu was singing harmony by the age of three. When she was six, she learned Pete Seeger’s song “If I Had a Hammer” and it sparked her passion for the peace and social justice music of the 1960s. Sharon was studying singing in New York City when she joined the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater environmental group and started learning about her drinking water. This led her to understand the relationship between politics, the environment and people’s health, and inspired her to use her voice and songs to raise awareness.
Michael Hurwicz always sang. When he was six, he heard Pete Seeger’s “American Industrial Ballads” playing in a record store and did childish things until his mother bought it for him.
Sharon and Michael met at the People’s Voice coffeehouse in Greenwich Village. Sharon started backing Michael up on vocals, fiddle, guitar, and making funny faces. Michael started backing Sharon up on vocals, guitar, harmonica, and carrying her stuff around. Later on he added bass fiddle so that she would have to carry her own stuff.
They had the privilege of doing several concerts with legendary folk singer and social movement leader Pete Seeger. In 2006, Sharon had the honor of singing for Wangari Maathai, the first African woman and first environmentalist to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1999, Sharon and Michael satisfied New York State academic standards for science to bring their environmental musical show Turn the World Upside Down into the NYC public schools, through the Brooklyn Arts Council.
In 2002, they started Irthlingz Arts-Based Environmental Education to engage, inspire and empower people of all ages to become stewards of the Earth.
In 2007, their climate change musical revue Penguins on Thin Ice was performed by high school students at the United Nations for the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development, receiving a standing ovation from a full auditorium of international delegates.
In March 2011, Sharon received the “Spirit of Nature, Ecology & Society” Environmental Justice Award from the Professional Staff Congress Union at City University of New York for her presentation of her climate change show The Climate Monologues. Sharon has performed The Climate Monologues for church groups, climate action groups and conferences, as well as in the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival in 2016. In September, 2016, she will perform the show in the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City.
In 2015, Irthlingz partnered with another local nonprofit, Kwiaht, for the “Youth Eco Arts Action” program (“YEAA!”), working with 5th graders at the Orcas Island Elementary School to prepare and perform an original musical-theatrical presentation for the community about the problem of stormwater runoff in our local community. The students performed their show to an enthusiastic and supportive crowd on March 15, 2015.
In early 2016, Michael Hurwicz published his book, The Meltese Dodo, a fun and entertaining short history of climate change science, was published.
In June, 2016, Sharon and Michael started Choirherence, a community choir on Orcas Island.
In August, 2016, Irthlingz released the initial demo version of Choirherence Practice Companion, an iOS (iPhone, iPad) app that allows people to practice Choirherence songs easily and effectively on their own.
In August, 2016, Sharon and Michael provided music for events on San Juan Island and in Bellingham, WA for The Golden Rule Project, an environmental and peace project of Veterans for Peace.
Some additional events they’ve performed for include:
- U.N. World Environment Day (San Francisco)
- World Summit on Sustainable Development (South Africa)
- Seattle Green Festival
- Climate Change & the West conference (Boulder, CO)
- Network of Spiritual Progressives Conference (D.C.)
- March for Peaceful Energy (D.C.)
- Climate Change Knows No Borders rally (Peace Arch, U.S.-Canadian border) (9/14)
- Peace Forum with Dennis Kucinich (Seattle, WA) (10/4)
Sharon and Michael are featured in Mark Pedelty’s book Ecomusicology published in n 2012. Professor Pedelty is including a chapter on The Climate Monologues in his new book, A Song to Save the Salish Sea: Environmentalist Musicians in the Pacific Northwest, scheduled for release in the fall of 2016.
Sharon’s & Michael’s songs have been played on radio stations including WBAI (Wakeup Call & Eco-Logic) and WFUV (Woody’s Children) in New York, KUNI (Live from Studio One) in Iowa, KSVR (Speak Up, Speak Out!) and KSER (The Power of Peace) in Wa. State. Sharon’s song Change in the Climate became Betsy Rosenberg’s climate change theme song for her nationally-syndicated radio show EcoTalk on Air America.
From 1998-2007, Sharon was a Trade Union delegate to the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development, serving as a liaison to the Energy and Education caucuses of the CSD. Sharon is a member of the Network of Spiritual Progressives and the Local 1000 North American Traveling Musicians Union, American Federation of Musicians, AFL-CIO. As executive director of Irthlingz and as a community member, she works with the San Juans Alliance to prevent large shipments of coal and oil through the narrow straits of the San Juan Islands, and with the Islands Energy group in San Juan County, WA, promoting and facilitating energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Sharon Abreu’s interview in the LA Progressive:
Sharon Abreu’s interview in Yale Climate Connections:
Sharon Abreu’s interview on The Joe Show, KBAI radio, Bellingham, WA:
Sharon Abreu on The Many Shades of Green internet radio show 12/10/14:
Sharon Abreu on Environmentalism and Religion panel, The Environment TV 12/21/14:
Contact Sharon Abreu:
POB 969, Eastsound, WA 98245
Phone: (360) 376-5773 / (917) 626-5781 (cell)