In Honor of Harry Chapin: A Family Reunion Concert

Written by Long Island  |  04. August 2011

“I don't know when, but we'll get together then; son, you know we'll have a good time then…” ~Harry Chapin, “Cats in the Cradle” The life and legacy of renowned singer, song-writer, and social activist Harry Chapin was honored last July 16th at Heckscher Park, as part of the 46th Annual Huntington Summer Arts Festival produced by the Huntington Arts Council. The concert, a Chapin family reunion that featured Harry’s brothers Tom and Steve, his daughter Jen, his nieces the Chapin Sisters, and other performers, marked the 30th anniversary of the automobile crash that took Chapin’s life. Thousands of fans joined under the stars in memory of the singer, while the Chapin Rainbow Stage, on which the performance took place, was rededicated in Harry’s honor. Harry Chapin, a native Long Islander, was best known for his folk-rock hits “Taxi” and “Cats in the Cradle”, and for his humanitarian work to end world hunger. With radio DJ Bill Ayres, Chapin co-founded the World Hunger Year organization in 1975, which works to educate and raise money in the fight against poverty and hunger. Under the prompting of his wife Sandy Chapin, Harry became a key player in the establishment of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger, and in 1980, Chapin founded Long Island Cares: The Harry Chapin Food Bank with the goal of ending hunger on Long Island. As a musician, Chapin was deeply involved in promoting the arts, and worked with the Performing Arts Foundation of Huntington, the Long Island Philharmonic, Hofstra University, and founded the Eglevsky Ballet, in order to support Long Island’s art community. Chapin also left his mark on the Huntington Arts Council, of which his wife served as Vice President. The Council’s Executive Director, Diana Cherryholmes, says of Harry’s legacy, “[It] is one that we all should endeavor to follow. We all work and live by Harry’s simple, optimistic belief that everyone should have food and the ability to be creative, no matter what.” Harry’s work for Long Island is still visible today through the charities and organizations which he established and supported. His music, of course, continues to sing, even thirty years later, in the hearts of his fans and family. The Huntington Summer Arts Festival is presented by the Town of Huntington and produced by the Huntington Arts Council. Additional information is available at www.huntingtonarts.org.

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