George Miklas

29.08.2013

Biography

George Miklas began playing HOHNER harmonicas at 4 years old. At 10 years old, he asked his dad to teach him to “play for real” and the whole family joined the Steel Valley Harmonica Club (SVHC). George was influenced early in life by his father, Stephen Miklas, who played the harmonica to entertain Generals Dwight Eisenhower and George Patton during World War II. Other early influences were Chord Harmonica players Vito Patierno (then president of SVHC), Gordon Mitchell (then president of SPAH), and Tony Sgro, all were former members of the Borrah Minevitch Harmonica Rascals, a popular vaudeville group in the 1930s.

At age 12, George received his first HOHNER 270 Chromatic Harmonica and attended his first Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH) International Harmonica Convention where for his very first time, he met the world-famous HARMONICATS—Jerry Murad, Al Fiore, and Dick Gardner. At 13, he received his first HOHNER 265 Double Bass Harmonica as a Christmas gift. It was with great anticipation, that George received his first HOHNER 267 48-Chord Harmonica on his 14th birthday.

Throughout his high school years, George attended harmonica concerts, play-alongs, and jam sessions all over Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He joined more harmonica clubs—The Buckeye State H.C. in Columbus Ohio, Rubber Capital H.C. in Akron, Ohio, and the Garden State H.C. in Paramus New Jersey. He practiced all of the harmonicas, learning many songs and was especially concentrated on the HARMONICATS’ repertoire. He even began accepting playing engagements and concerts with other harmonica players and country bands.

Hearing many good reports about the young prodigy on the Chord Harmonica, Jerry Murad called on the 19-year old George Miklas to play the HOHNER 267 with his famous HARMONICATS. For over one year, the HARMONICATS played 50 shows with George on the 48-Chord, including concerts even with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Richard Hayman.

George completed the Music Education degree program at the Dana School of Music. He was employed as a substitute music teacher in the Youngstown Public Schools when in 1993, Jerry Murad called on him once more to join his HARMONICATS. This time George played the HOHNER 265 Double Bass Harmonica, on over 100 shows before Jerry Murad died in May, 1996. One of those shows was George’s own wedding. George repairs harmonicas, and continues to attend SPAH conventions, where he has presented numerous seminars on chord and bass harmonicas, trio playing, and music education. He regularly performs harmonica solo/duo/trio shows, and backs up the worship team at his church. George loves the harmonica so much, that he has taught his whole family to play and share his passion with others as the family performs together ministering to others with harmonicas, ukuleles, and singing—wife Jodi plays the Chord, son Caleb plays the Bass, and daughter Janalyn plays the Chromatic and the Bass.