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“Just Wild About Harry” Chapin Concert Set for July 16
July 16 @ 3:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Photo Credit: Robert Berkowitz/RSBImageWorks.com
More than three-dozen of Long Island’s top musicians and songwriters will take to the stage at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow to perform the music of Harry Chapin, the late Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and social activist, on Sunday, July 16, starting at 3:30 p.m. and extending late into the evening. The annual “Just Wild About Harry” tribute concert will feature 25 or more acts — including concert organizer Stuart Markus and his trio Gathering Time — performing some of Chapin’s classics including “Taxi” and “Cat’s in the Cradle,” plus many lesser hits and fan favorites like “WOLD” and “Story of a Life.” The concert is free, but concertgoers are asked to bring donations of nonperishable food to support Long Island Cares, Inc., the regional food bank founded by Chapin in 1980.
This year’s concert takes place on the actual anniversary of Chapin’s tragic death on the Long Island Expressway in 1981 on the day he was supposed to do a show on that stage, since renamed for him as The Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre. Several tribute show regulars were among the crowd in 1981 when what was supposed to be a joyous event turned into a vigil, Markus said.
Because this 20th-anniversary show is on a Sunday, Markus said, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman proposed making it an all-day event. “Each year, the community comes together to, in effect, give the concert that Harry might have given, with the participating artists putting their own interpretations on his songs. We’ve had some amazing arrangements, from folky to country, from torch-song style to hard rock.” There will also be food trucks and a bounce-house for kids.
The concert will also be a benefit for Long Island Cares, the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “The annual Harry Chapin Tribute Concert in Eisenhower Park is always a very special event for all of us at Long Island Cares because so many of Harry’s fans attend and are extremely supportive of Long Island Cares and the work we do to assist the more than 316,000 Long Islanders struggling with domestic hunger and high food insecurity,” said Paule Pachter, the nonprofit organization’s chief executive officer.
As in past years, the Just Wild About Harry concert is being co-promoted by the Folk Music Society of Huntington, of which Markus is a board member. Harry Chapin lived in Huntington with his family.
Besides Markus and Gathering Time, this year’s roster of performers includes newcomers Matthew Ponsot, Roger Silverberg, and Lisa Ann & Akiva Wharton, plus touring English folk musician Daniel Cainer. Other performers include Hank Stone, Frank Walker, Roger Street Friedman, Martha Trachtenberg, Debra Lynn & Lora Kendall, Media Crime, Talya Smilowitz, Joe Iadanza, Miles & Mafale, Russ Seeger, Robin Eve, Joanne Amante, Christine Solimeno, Mara Levine, Judith Zweiman & Duane Michael Tucker, Patricia Shih & Stephen Fricker, the ensemble Will Sing for Food, Grand Folk Railroad, and Robin Greenstein, with the possibility of other acts to be added. There will also be guest speakers and awards presentations.
Long Island Cares’ staff and volunteers will be collecting donations of non-perishable food items at a tent at the entrance to The Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre. They also will be selling t-shirts and Harry Chapin CDs, as well as distributing literature about the organization’s programs and services.
The concert will be held rain or shine, precluded only by thunderstorms. For more information, see https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/1767/Parks-Recreation-Museums.