Gathering Time will be among the Long Island acts paying...

Gathering Time will be among the Long Island acts paying tribute to singer-songwriter Harry Chapin during the annual “Just Wild About Harry Tribute Concert” at East Meadow's Eisenhower Park on July 18. Credit: Alison Hartwell

The legacy of late folk singer-songwriter and social activist Harry Chapin will be honored during the 19th annual “Just Wild About Harry Tribute Concert” at his namesake Lakeside Theatre at East Meadow's Eisenhower Park on July 18. Nearly three-dozen Long Island musicians are set to perform Chapin’s music and the show, starting at 7:15 p.m., will be livestreamed on Facebook.

“Harry is so beloved in memory on Long Island,” said concert organizer Stuart Markus. “You don’t have to look too hard to find someone who met him, whose school he did a benefit for, or someone who’s been helped by one of his charities.”

Grammy Hall of Famer Chapin was known for his classic songs like “Cat’s in the Cradle” and “Taxi,” the latter of which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. He was also the founder of Long Island Cares Food Bank. In 1981, Chapin was killed in a car crash on the Long Island Expressway on the day he was supposed to perform at the amphitheater that now bears his name. He was 38 years old.

“It’s so meaningful for the music community to come together and, in effect, do the concert he might have given. Each act is encouraged to do their own interpretation of the song they do,” says Markus, who also performs in the folk trio Gathering Time. “We’ve had some amazing arrangements, from folky to country, torch-song style to hard rock.”

In addition to Gathering Time, other local performers include JD Leonard and the Famous Dr. Scanlon Band, Roger Street Friedman, Frank Walker, Patricia Shih & Stephen Fricker, Robinson Treacher, Debra Lynne & Lora Kendall, Joe Iadanza, MediaCrime, Judith Zweiman, Martha Trachtenberg, Robin Greenstein, Christine Solimeno, Grand Folk Railroad and Russ Seeger plus the vocal ensemble, Will Sing for Food.

Although the rain-or-shine concert is free, attendees are asked to bring donations of nonperishable food to support the Long Island Cares' The Harry Chapin Food Bank, which assists more than 316,000 Long Islanders struggling with domestic hunger and high food insecurity.

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