Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 16, 2011 Harry Chapin Memorial Concert

On a beautiful summer’s eve, the Chapin family came to pay tribute to Harry Chapin on the thirtieth anniversary of his tragic death. The overflow crowd exceeded anyone’s expectations. There was a sense of the wonderful in the air. If tears were shed, they were shed privately. Instead, the Chapin family—Tom, Steve, Abigail, Lily, Jessica, and Harry’s daughter Jen—all performed lovingly both Harry’s songs and their own, each capturing the spirit of Harry that lives on through Long Island Cares an organization that he founded, on a stage in Huntington’s Hechscher Park, named after him, the Chapin Rainbow Stage, to an audience who grew up on every song. The whole night made you wonder how much goodness can be compressed into one family who continue to give so much to the larger community. At a time when the nation as a whole seems so polarized and hostile toward the plight of the poor, demands cynically that the poor pay their fair share, and hands out generous tax breaks to the richest one percent who give so little, you grow more fond of Harry who donated a third of the proceeds from his concerts to social causes. It is no wonder that he posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal for humanitarian work. If there were more like Harry in the world, and fewer like David and Charles Koch, how much better off would the country be? Songs like Taxi and Cat’s in the Cradle, W*O*L*D and Circle brought Harry back to life if only for an evening.

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