Magic Penny Award

More about Tom

2009: Tom Chapin

Tom Chapin, singer, songwriter, music collaborator and humanitarian, was presented with the 2009 Children’s Music Network Magic Penny Award at CMN’s annual conference in Black Mountain, NC, on October 11, 2009. The Magic Penny is presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to children’s music.

For over thirty years on stage and through nineteen compact discs Tom Chapin has entertained, amused and enlightened audiences with his life-affirming original songs conveyed across a sophisticated array of musical styles that appeal to all generations. Tom’s remarkable musicianship, great songwriting and personal warmth shine through whether he’s performing in a concert hall, at an outdoor festival, in a school, in front of a symphony orchestra or at an intimate coffeehouse.

Tom Chapin was raised in a musical family. His father, Jim Chapin, is a well-regarded jazz drummer and the author of two books on the subject. His older brother, the late Harry Chapin, was a popular singer, songwriter and humanitarian. Younger brother Steve Chapin has worked as a music teacher, arranger, recording artist, producer and performer and Tom’s two daughters and his stepdaughter form The Chapin Sisters, a folk/pop trio. Tom’s repertoire covers the folk, theatrical and children’s/family music genres and he has performed on television, on radio, in film and even had the lead in a Broadway musical, Pump Boys and Dinettes.

Tom’s music has had a profound impact on teachers, parents and children. Elementary school teachers across North America have incorporated his music into their curriculums, finding his compositions accessible and easily adaptable to classroom study and interaction. He has influenced several generations of children with his wonderful songs and stories about environmental issues, getting along with different types of people or the silly antics of relatives and friends. His work has resulted in four Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word Album and five Grammy nominations for Best Musical Album for Children. In 2008 he received the prestigious American Eagle Award of the National Music Council for his “great contribution to music and music education in our nation.”

Not only has Tom changed hearts and minds with his music, he’s also been an advocate for children and has campaigned to restore music and arts education in schools.  He’s a board member of World Hunger Year, an organization founded by Harry Chapin. We are thrilled to honor Tom Chapin with the 2009 Magic Penny Award.

Photo: Tom ChapinPhoto by Patricia Shih

Tom with Jenny Heitler-Klevans.

Photo: Tom Chapin singingPhoto: Tom Chapin singingPhotos by Allen Zak

Tom singing.

Photo: 2009 Magic Penny mp-photosPhoto by Frank Squillante

The award.

Award designer: Harriet Morton – Tucson, AZ