Concert Review By: Diane Fleischman


The Musikfest Café was packed Friday night for the return of Tom Chapin and Family holiday concert.  Many fans traveled from other states to catch this overflowing cornucopia of holiday songs, Harry Chapin classics, and songs from the next generation of Chapin artists, Jen Chapin, and The Chapin Sisters. 

A Chapin family concert wouldn’t be complete without some presence of Harry Chapin, who passed away 35 years ago.  The core of Harry Chapin’s band remains intact as brothers Tom and Stephen Chapin took the stage followed by Big Jim Wallace on guitar and Howie Fields on drums. Ironically, this concert fell a couple days after of what would have been Harry Chapin’s 74th birthday, and it is apparent that the world still misses his folk based story telling songs today.   

Back in the seventies, Harry Chapin’s heyday, what made his concerts enjoyable and completely fun was the amount of audience participation required , and the emotional antidotes contained within each song.  As classic hits were performed, like “W.O.L.D.” and “Mr. Tanner”,  it became clear how Chapin’s songs are still very much relevant today. 

Harry Chapin’s daughter, Jen, was next on stage as she performed “Tangled Up Puppet”, a song written by both Harry and Sandy Chapin, which revealed their some of their elations and frustrations of parenting, followed by “Find Your Joy and Let it Show”, a song Jen Chapin wrote for her son. 

To complete the ensemble, Tom Chapin’s daughters,  Abigail and Lily, known as The Chapin Sisters, sang a song penned by their father, “Saturday Morning”,  followed by an Everly Brothers  hit, “Dream”. 

Rounding out the show with other Harry Chapin tunes were: “I Wonder What Would Happen to This World”,  “Cats in the Cradle”, “Taxi”, and “The Last Dance.” One of Chapin’s most popular songs, “30,000 Pounds of Bananas”, wasn’t included in the set, which may have disappointed some devoted fans, but realistically ran a good 15 to 20 minutes on its own, and there was plenty more music in store. 

The audience was also in for a treat as Christmas classics were mixed in the set with rich harmonies such as “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing”,  “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”, which was arranged with hints of reggae, and“Mele Kalikimaka”, while Jen Chapin covered “Oh Holy Night” beautifully. 

Tom and Stephen Chapin took command of the stage equally.  Stephen, the youngest brother, tours as the Steve Chapin Band, and Tom, now 71, has a full career from his start in The Chapins in the sixties, to the ABC educational show, “Make A Wish”, in the seventies, to working in musical theatre in the eighties, an accomplisher writer of children’s songs in the nineties, to his last release, “70”, last year. 

Harry Chapin was more than an artist who told great stories, he also was an activist who’s insight founded World Hunger Year over forty years ago.  The organization’s goal is to end world hunger, and has evolved to be known as WHY Hunger present day.  The Chapin family remains dedicated and committed to reach this goal.  For more information: .