Gary Allegretto Brings His Harmonikids Program To Mountain School Detention Facility


Gary Allegretto Brings His Harmonikids Program To Troubled Teens In A Hohner-sponsored Session At The Mountain School Detention Facility In Elkins, West Virginia

Gary Allegretto brought his Harmonikids program to the Elkins Mountain School during his stay at the Augusta Heritage Center is Elkins, West Virginia. The Elkins Mountain School is a rural, residential facility for teenage boys who are Level 1 or 2 offenders from across the state of West Virginia. Gary and his program were absolutely amazing!

Gary was in Elkins to teach and perform at the Augusta Heritage Center.  He contacted our office  many months in advance to get our help in finding a suitable place for him to present his Harmonikids workshop. He arranged the details with great attention and dedication. He was a pleasure to work with in all aspects of his visit and an unforgettable performer.

As the young men entered the gym, you could see and sense their skepticism. Once Gary began to play, a wave of amazement and awe spread across their faces.   It was very rewarding to simply see the effect of his performance alone on them.   He set clear and firm expectations for their behavior while kindly and quietly redirecting their focus on the very few times that was needed.

He gave each young man one of your harmonicas and a very easy to follow instruction sheet – and assured them that at the end of the hour they would be able to play four songs. Their skepticism returned! Over the course of the next 45 minutes, he taught  these 34 young men to play 4 songs. Even those who hesitated to even unbox the harmonica at first were on board before the end.  Gary provided those who wanted to share their new musical skills the chance to do so and  invited the others to give their classmate a round of applause afterwards. Positive and encouraging on all fronts.

At the end of the workshop, Gary took time to sign something for each of the young men and to talk with each of them. He patiently and attentively answered  their questions.  The young men then headed to the nearby field for some end of the day break time. As we were packing up the car,  we could hear versions of the songs he had just taught these young men filling the air.

A big thank you to Gary, and to Hohner for providing these young men with an opportunity they may not have again. You both made their lives richer with an experience they will not soon forget.

Beth Ruppersburg King
Interim Director, Augusta Heritage Center
General Manager, Myles Center for the Arts
Elkins, WV

The Hohner-sponsored Harmonikids workshop provided on July 16 was great! Several of our youth continue practicing and want to learn more songs. The day after the workshop, I heard the boys practicing and showing one another what they had learned.  There were several of the boys, who I never believed would be interested in the harmonica, now very proud of what they have accomplished in that short amount of time.  I received numerous positive comments and thank you’s from both the clients and staff.  Thank you so much Gary and Harmonikids for sharing your time and talent with us and Hohner for donating the harmonicas.

Georgann Davis
Director, Elkins Mountain Schools
Elkins, WV

Add Your Voice

Jake Robinson, 26-12-14 01:10:
This is a great story. Great job Hohner!
Add comment

* - required field