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The Westerly Sun - Arts and Entertainment

LUNCH Scores Chapin Award

Mystic's LUNCH Ensemble travels to the Big Apple for award

MYSTIC - The Local United Network to Combat Hunger (LUNCH) has been recognized for innovative grassroots solutions to fighting hunger from World Hunger Year (WHY),  an international hunger-fighting organization co-founded by singer and songwriter Harry Chapin in 1975.    LUNCH was recognized at a concert featuring members of Harry Chapin’s family at the Hard Rock Café in New York City on Sunday, December 11, 2005. At the concert, celebrating WHY’s 30th anniversary, LUNCH founder and executive director Bill Pere presented WHY with a check for $1,000 for the 16th consecutive year.  The money was raised through concerts put on throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island by the LUNCH Ensemble including two at Dunns Corners Church in Westerly.

  WHY invited the LUNCH Ensemble to attend the concert, and nine “veteran” Ensemble members joined Bill Pere and his wife, Kay, for a day in New York City, highlighted by the concert, which featured members of Harry Chapin's family including his daughter Jen, his brothers Tom and Steve, and Tom's daughters Abigail, Lily, and Jessica (known as "The Chapin Sisters"). Also performing were original Harry Chapin band members Howard Fields and "Big" John Wallace, and special guest Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, of the legendary hip-hop group "Run-DMC." With Sarah McLachlan, McDaniels recently recorded "Just Like Me," which tells his own personal story of adoption and features the chorus from Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle."

“I saw this as a very rare opportunity for the LUNCH participants to actually get to see the original creators of the songs they have been singing all these years, and thus gain a new perspective on the music we do,” said Bill Pere. “We have so many kids and parents who have given so much that it was an exceptional opportunity to show them that their contributions of time and talent really are appreciated not only in Connecticut, but beyond our borders, and by the Chapin family.”

Representing LUNCH were Bill and Kay Pere, Chelsea Bateman, Anna Buehler, Katie Castagno, Stephanie Leach, Rosemary Ostfeld, Samantha Schaufler, Stefanie Schaufler, Rachelle Seney, and Kat Wyand. All agreed the show was “awesome” with three generations of Chapins participating. "This is the kind of event Harry would have loved,” said Grammy-award winner Tom Chapin. “With music and stories shared and sung by close friends and family, with the proceeds going to help those in need.”

About LUNCH: The Local United Network to Combat Hunger (LUNCH) was founded in 1989 by Bill Pere and has raised more than $500,000 to support community outreach agencies and programs. The LUNCH Ensemble ( includes more than 40 young people from throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island. Some 2,000 youths have participated over the years and they see first hand that they can make a difference in other people’s lives. For more information on LUNCH,  contact Bill Pere at .

Originally Published December 20 2005, The Westerly Sun

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