Long Island Musicians Pay Tribute to Harry Chapin 8/31/09

Late Singer-Songwriter-Activist’s Drummer to Join Them

In these tough economic times, hunger is an even greater problem than usual on Long Island , with local food pantries and soup kitchens struggling to keep up with the need.

On Monday evening, August 31, many talented Long Island musical artists will gather at East Meadow’s Eisenhower Park to present a concert and food drive in tribute to the late singer-songwriter and anti-hunger activist Harry Chapin — playing his songs for a cause to which he dedicated himself. As an added bonus, Chapin’s own drummer, Howard Fields, will be sitting in with a number of the acts.

More than 3,000 people have attended the Eisenhower Park concerts during the past four years, according to Markus, who anticipates another good showing this year.  Entitled “Just Wild About Harry,” the concert, set to begin at
7:30 p.m., will include 18 covers of Chapin’s story songs, ranging from classics like “Cat’s In the Cradle,” “Taxi” and “WOLD” to lesser-known numbers like “Story of a Life” and “Shooting Star.”  In addition to Markus’ folk harmony trio Gathering Time, artists slated to perform include Lucky 13, Doc Butler & JC Cob, Lisa Itts, Josh Joffen, Doug Kwartler, Debra Lynne & Chris Tursi, MediaCrime, Robin Eve, Ed Ryan, Walter Sargent, Russ Seeger, Christine Solemino, Spoonwalk, Judith Zweiman, and members of the Defibrillators & Tornado Alley.

Guests should bring their own lawn chairs or picnic blankets to the park, which is located off Merrick and Stewart Avenues in East Meadow. The event is scheduled rain or shine, barring lightning storms.

“Twenty-eight years after Harry Chapin’s death, the need to fight hunger is still as urgent as ever,” says Stuart Markus, a LI-based singer-songwriter who has been organizing Harry Chapin tribute concerts on Long Island for six years. Although the Aug. 31 concert is free, guests are encouraged to bring canned goods and other non-perishable food items for distribution to needy Long Islanders through Long Island Cares, a food bank founded by Chapin in 1980 that works to relieve hunger on Long Island .

Chapin, who resided in Huntington Bay , was killed in a car accident on the Long Island Expressway on his way to perform a free concert at that same stage one summer night in 1981. His music and his giving, community spirit, however, have lived on, and the concert venue has been renamed the Harry Chapin Lakeside Stage in his honor.

In assigning Chapin songs to the various artists, Markus said he “tried to keep in mind which one would suit each performer’s style, or which would have personal meaning for them.”  Apart from that, the performers have carte blanche with respect to interpretation.  “The results have been some really creative treatments and performances,” adds Markus.

One Response

  1. The concert will also be broadcast live on the internet & archived for later viewing at: http://www.B2BVid.com (click on the “Live Webcasts” tab to view the concert).
    You can also make donations by clicking on the “Long Island Cares” banner.

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