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Tom Chapin Returns to Newtown

The Grammy award-winning folk musician calls NHS performance a 'unique' experience.

In his 50 years of performing, Tom Chapin describes what happens on the stage as "kind of a unique thing." This is no small compliment coming from a man who began performing as a teenager and has since taken his music to places all over the globe.

What makes the unusual is that Chapin, well known for his creative children's music, will share the billing with local young performers.

Similar to the format of last year's concert, young area performers will open the event for Chapin. This year's talent includes The Fairfield County Children’s Choir, jazz violinist Sam Weiser of Westport and classical guitarist Yossi Kohrman-Glaser of Newtown.

Organized by the local arts group The Little House That Roared, the event is meant to be intergenerational, according to the group's founder, Rabbi Shaul Praver of .

"Tom is very masterful with the crowd," said Praver, remarking on Chapin's ability to elicit participation from his audience. "He's funny, yet he makes an important point."

Chapin is a family performer, said Curtis Urbina, who runs a record label and is also part of The Little House That Roared.

"The response to last year's concert was overwhelming," said Urbina, who noted that Chapin has a great rapport with his audience and spent time mingling with the crowd after the show last year.

Chapin, who has won three Grammy awards for his work on children's albums, began his career in folk music at a young age performing with his brothers, including folk singer Harry Chapin, in Greenwich Village.

His songwriting reflected adult themes such as love songs for years, but in 1988, when his youngest child was 6, Chapin noticed the lack of kids' music and he set to work on an album.

"Suddenly I had another career," said Chapin. "I never expected the kids' music to be a career."

His latest release, Give Peas a Chance, is about "good food and the green earth," said Chapin.

"There's a real interest in where our food is coming from," acknowledged Chapin, who combines the stories and messages of his songs with humor and interaction with the audience.

"I still believe in storytelling," said Chapin. There's enough bad news out there, said Chapin, who uses music to spread good news, encouraging kids that the world is still a wonderful place.

"We're used to being inundated with words," said Chapin. "Music gets into the ear and brain in a different way...it's not just words; it's its own language."

To capture the impact of music, Chapin referenced a quote from Yip Harburg, the famous lyricist of the Wizard of Oz: "Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought."

Tom Chapin will perform at on Sun, March 25, 2012 at 3pm. Tickets purchased in advance are $12, children and seniors; $20 for adults; at the door, $15, children and seniors; $25 for adults. Tickets are on sale at the Newtown or at The Little House That Roared website.

shaul Praver March 09, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Yes, I agree with Tom Chapin, the world is still a wonderful place and the more we realize it the more we increase it. Like today, being shown by my five year old daughter spring's first flowers. This is what life is all about. Tom's music and his message is all about this kind of stuff that really matters. We all have wonders like this in our life, we just need to be more and more present to it. I thank Tom Chapin because this is where he leads us.

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