Harry Chapin Tribute Concert benefited Special Voices
which provides musical and social programs for kids with special needs.
Local Teens Selected as Finalists for the 2009 Voices For Hope Vocal Scholarship, Performed in a Benefit Concert for Special Voices . Voices for Hope is a public education and community outreach program of Mystic-based Local United Network to Combat Hunger (LUNCH), encouraging young singers to use their talent to help those in need.The winner, Caroline Zocco of Glastonbuty, CT, received a $500 scholarship, and the opportunity for professional recording and performance. http://www.lunchensemble.com
The concert which featured the seventeen 2009 finalists along with the LUNCH Ensemble was held on Saturday. April 4, 7pm at the East HartfordCommunityCulturalCenter, and was a Tribute to the late songwriter-activist Harry Chapin. Voices for Hope received submissions from hopeful 11-19 year old singers from all over Connecticut, Massachusetts,Rhode Island,New York,and New Jersey.Bill and Kay Pere, a husband and wife team and founders of LUNCH ran the program. “As artists, we all have a social responsibility. All of the finalists are winners here today, as they chose to get involved in an outreach that can positively affect the lives of others. ” explained Bill Pere at the 2008finals auditions. In their submission package, the contestants each described their motivations for participating in the program.
Kay Pere, recording artist and vocal educator, comments, “The contestants are all very inspiring and articulate.They have a fresh attitude, and give us all hope for the future. " Carl Seeger Henry, founder of Special Voices, enthused, “We were thrilled when the Voices for Hope chose us as their beneficiaries.We are just beginning our program and to have such a highly respected, established and socially positive organization like LUNCH offer support is a tremendous boost! Both Lunch and Special Voices are committed to using music to positively affect the lives of others, so we were a terrific fit.”
We would like to offer a big “Thank You” from all the future Special Voices to our hard working volunteers and generous sponsors for this event.We must admit some trepidation when we learned that the concert was to take place on the same night as a UCONN Huskies final four game, but it was very successful nonetheless.
We learned a great deal from our mentor, Bill Pere, and his LUNCH organization and raised $1224.00 for Special Voices!In a financial sense, this show helped give birth to Special Voices as a non profit business entity.It was a momentous event for us!
The above is a photo of yours truly and Harry Chapin, taken in 1977.
We were both volunteer performers on the WDRC Sound Stage at the Farmington Polo Grounds, raising money for children’s charities.I was supposed to be his warm up act.
The twist was that because Harry got stuck in some traffic, his schedule was pressed and he became MY warm up act.Phew, tough act to follow!
I also have a vivid memory of playing his Martin (pictured).It was and still is the sweetest guitar I ever played.
In a lovely piece of synchronicity, the foundation he inspired, LUNCH, is now making Special Voices the beneficiary of this Chapin tribute concert.As Harry sang, Life is indeed a circle!