By From the Lowell Sun
By NANCYE TUTTLE , Sun Staff
Are you ready to party? Tom Chapin, his friends and the staff and crew at the Center for the Arts at UMass Lowell are. And this party is for a very good reason. The Discovery Series at the Center for the Arts turns 20 this year -- and Chapin and all celebrate the momentous occasion with a Happy Birthday, Discovery Series benefit concert on Sunday, Jan. 7, at 2 p.m.
"I'm so glad to give something back," said Chapin, a local favorite, who returns annually to perform.
Chapin and fellow musicians Michael Mark and Jon Cobert will play and sing a fun-filled, musically rich, 75-minute concert jammed with classic hits for children and adults. Fans can request a song on Chapin's Web site, www.tomchapin.com.
Chapin, a three-time Grammy award winner, first performed here in 1990. He has nothing but praise for Chris Brown, who runs the series and directs the Center for the Arts.
"She is one of the great presenters in America. Her program is unique in terms of longevity, quality and what she does year after year. It keeps growing and doing a series like this is not an easy thing to keep going," he said. "There is a great audience and we have seen a couple of generations of kids and parents coming through."
Brown is equally complimentary toward Chapin.
"Tom's performances engage the hearts, minds, imaginations and voices of children and adults alike," she said.
With 11 albums under their belts, Chapin and friends have a whole body of work to choose from. But, he says, perennial favorites like "Family Tree" and "This Pretty Planet" are bound to show up.
"People have their favorite records, which is why we do the request line. But I think 'This Pretty Planet' will probably go on long after we're gone," he said.
Newer songs like "Pick Up a Puppy at the Pound" and "Shovelin'" are the latest favorites. "They are story songs and sometimes they are autobiographical. 'Shovelin'' is about a boy and his dad shoveling after a big snowfall. That is autobiographical," he said.
Besides Chapin's music, the afternoon will include many surprises, Brown promises.
Among them are numerous door prizes from Downtown Dancewear, Patterson's Dancewear North, Annie's Books, Magic Brush, New England Tropical Pet, Alpine Cleaners, Supercuts, and University Music, which has donated a Fender acoustic guitar pack.
The concert takes place in Durgin Concert Hall, 35 Wilder St., on the UMass Lowell South Campus. Tickets $17 a person. Call 978-934-4444 between 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday. Tickets are also available onine at www.uml.edu/centerforarts or at the door an hour before the performance.