Chapin Tribute in New Jersey — June 28, 2009

Ishi wrote to share the following:

I have an unusual story to share with Harry Chapin fans although there is nothing unusual about how Harry has affected my life - with brilliant lyrics, brilliant music and when you combine this kind of genius with a social conscience that causes one to work harder to fight world hunger than anyone else that I know of in the music business, then you are speaking of a role model in a truly rare sense of the word.

I did not get to see Harry in concert.  I was 10 when he died and probably only knew one song by him at the time.  My parents saw him in concert.  One summer early in this decade I bought the recently released “Harry Chapin Live At the Bottom Line” cd for my father for his birthday.  As I listened to it for the first time, I was already at an emotional lift when I heard Harry explain to this small NYC crowd “…Tonight we’re celebrating 2,000 concerts.  I formed this band with Big John on June 22, 1971 and we played our first concert here in the village on June 29, 1971.”  This is the very day that I was born.

I knew that this revalation should require some sort of action on my part and what I worked out in my mind was that every year on the anniversary of this day/my birthday I would do a full Harry Chapin tribute anywhere that I could.  For the first year it was just myself and my brother on guitars playing an hour set in a local bar.  Three years ago I was able to hire a ‘cellist and write down ‘cello parts to accompany me and got my band, Hall of Mirrors, to play on four songs.  Two years ago we made it a full band event, renaming ourselves “Potent Voices” just for when we do the Chapin triute and played at the Burlington County Ampitheatre in New Jersey.

This year, Potent Voices will  perform at St. Andrew’s Church parish house on Sunday, June 28, 2009.  (Typical to alter the date to accomodate the weekend.)  We will have the whole band, plus a professional ‘cello player and my brother, Tom Espenshade there to play.  It is at 7:00 pm sharp.  The address is 121 High St. Mt. Holly, NJ 08060.  There is no admission charge, but we will be asking for donations and once I pay the ‘cellist and the church, the rest of the money will be donated to World Hunger Year, founded by Harry Chapin.

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