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Madison Square Garden, Here we come
May 2, 2009 - Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday Celebration is taking place on Sunday May 3rd at Madison Square Garden. The list of performers is too long to enumerate, but Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Tom Chapin and, as you can see, Oscar the Grouch will be appearing.
SIR rehearsal studios was the site for the pic below. Tom will be performing Pete Seeger's song Garbage with Oscar tomorrow night. Jon Cobert and Michael Mark will be the supporting orchestra.
Included in the photo is Carroll Spinney, Oscar's more human side.
Beacon, New York
April 21, 2009 - The Beacon Sloop Club hosted an evening with Dr. James Hansen, an international authority on the problems of global warming. Dr. Hansen presented the very real concerns about the deterioration of our environment, and the questions that followed from the audience were pointed and informed. It was an eye-opening hour-and-a-half discussion. We must continue to pressure our government and corporate worlds to make the changes that will keep us from destroying our planet.
Dr. Hansen's talk was followed by a sing-around hosted by Tom Chapin. Beacon, NY is hometown turf for Pete Seeger, so his appearance was especially welcomed. Guy Davis. provided some of his gritty good vocals. Jon Cobert and Michael Mark completed the roster in the photo below.
Bonnie Chapin snapped the pic. Tom used his PhotoShop talents to sharpen it and add graphics.
Tryon, North Carolina
It's time to do a bit of birthday celebrating.
March 12, 2009, found Tom and Michael in Tryon, NC at the Tryon Fine Arts Center for two shows with school children during the day, and a fine concert for the grown-ups that night.
March 13 is Tom's birthday, March 14 is Michael's, and, as luck would have it, the 12th was a birthday celebration for Jim Brink, who does the sound and technical work for the Arts Center. A warm receptive audience serenaded the three of them with birthday greetings.
One special feature of the evening was the addition of Tryon Arts Center Executive Director Chris Farrell playing cello and joining Tom and Michael on stage for three Harry Chapin songs. Also appearing, performing the role of Mr. Tanner, was Andy Millard, local businessman and a fine singer. Chris and Andy added a personal touch to the concert that was very special.
Pictured below are Tom, Chris, Andy, and Michael rehearsing Harry Chapin's "Mr. Tanner."
Tribute to Odetta
February 24, 2009 - Things have been busy. Here is another GREAT night at Riverside Church
Riverside was the site for a tribute to Odetta. Lines around the block to wish this legend of the civil rights movement and the world of folk music a song-filled good-bye
The roster was distinguished from beginning to end. Pete Seeger, Oscar Brand, Tom Chapin, Steve Earle, Sweet Honey and the Rock, Josh White, Jr, Guy Davis. Speaking at the event were Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte, Wavy Gravy , and interspersed throughout were video clips of Odetta and her stirring voice.
During a rendition of "This Land Is Your Land," Michael - an audience member tonight - came up with a verse in tribute to Odetta. Tom Chapin gave Michael a turn at the microphone, and both the audience and fellow performers were expressive in their appreciation.
Below are Tom Chapin, Michael, Oscar Brand, Christine Lavin (behind Oscar), Steve Earle, Emory Joseph, Josh White Jr, David Amram and Peter Yarrow.
The Lonesome Train
February 12, 2009 - Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. A truly memorable evening at Riverside Church in New York City.
Michael had the good fortune to sing the role of Balladeer in Earl Robinson's orchestral suite, The Lonesome Train. The piece tells the tale of the funeral train which carried Lincoln from Washington to his resting place in Springfield, IL.
In this moving, emotional work, Michael shared the stage with the legendary Ruby Dee as narrator, premier banjoist Eric Weissberg, recreating the part originally performed by Pete Seeger, David Amram as the square dance caller, and Sam Waterston performing the role of Lincoln. The work was conducted by Maurice Peress. A 250-voice choir and the orchestra from the Aaron Copland School of Music filled the church with sound.
Riverside Church was packed from front to back, and the audience was treated to a rare musical moment - a stirring work, masterfully performed on an auspicious night.
Below are Michael, Eric Weissberg, and conductor Maurice Peress in the performance of The Lonesome Train.
Woody's Children 40th
Robert Sherman has hosted radio's "Woody's Children" for 40 years! A legendary roster of folksingers presented over the course of more than two thousand shows.
Odetta was scheduled to appear at the January 7, 2009 concert with Pete Seeger, Tom Chapin, Peter Yarrow, Christine Lavin, Tao Rodriguez and Dave Mishkin. Unfortunately, Odetta passed away just a month before the taping of the show. Seeger was unable to appear, but Tao called him on a cell phone, and Pete wished Robert and the assemblage well. Sherman dedicated the broadcast to Odetta, and it was a wonderful evening.
Below, Tom Chapin, Michael and Peter Yarrow hold forth with a rendition of "the Water Is WIde." Jon Cobert is at the piano, Tao Rodriguez on guitar.
Februaray 17th found us in chilly Wauwatosa, at the Wisconsin Lutheran Center for Arts and Perfomance.
We have the fun at several concerts a year of singing with a local student choir. The kids in the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir could really sing! Great fun for us, for the kids, and the audience.
New York State School Boards Convention
Michael Mark sang the Chapin/Forster song NOT THE TEST at the New York State School Boards Convention in New York City on October 25th, 2007.
An executive with State School Boards had heard Michael perform the song at a Rockland County School Boards function, and insisted that Michael perform the song at the statewide event. NOT ON THE TEST is a sharp but typically wry musical look at the problems kids face today, with the massive state and federal standards imposed on school districts throughout the country.
Henry Winkler was the keynote speaker for the evening. Now, for those of you who think of Mr. Winkler as The Fonz, you'll be happily surprised to know that he was a VERY good speaker, as well as a passionate advocate for education. Winkler paused for a moment at his autograph table to snap a pix with Michael and share a few words about how meaningful he found NOT ON THE TEST to be
June 11 was a big night for WORLD HUNGER YEAR. The annual dinner gala, held once again at Chelsea Piers in New York City, honored Jackson Brown. Brisk ticket sales on the announcement of Brown's award were boosted even further with the rumor that Bruce Springsteen was going to attend (in honor of his management company's award recognition). Brown made a great speech, which he finished with a poignant and appropriate song about not waiting to help the hungry. Bruce was there as well, and he joined Jackson, Jen Chapin, host Tom Chapin, Michael Mark and Jon Cobert on stage for the final number of the evening, one of Chapin's signature songs, CIRCLE. As usual, Michael Mark came up with an original verse at the end, which brought a great round of applause.
The WALK THE WORLD wristbands continue to sell nicely. We’ve sent $3000 in contributions to World Hunger Year, and folks are walking the world with a great message on their wrists. Make sure you order a few to pass around during the upcoming holidays.
DON’T FORGET YOUR WRISTBANDS!
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