Gary Allegretto's Hohner-Sponsored Harmonikids Session to Aid Troubled Youth


In a Hohner sponsored session on August 1, 2014 I returned to Snowden and Moulds Cottages at the Ferris detention facility in Wilmington Delaware; a full-security juvenile facility for boys whose mission is to “provide educational and therapeutic services to adjudicated youth in a safe, staff-secure and gender sensitive environment preparing them for successful re-entry into the community.” Over the years Harmonikids' ongoing programs to assist the youth at Ferris have become among my personal favorites because the participants (many of whom have been neglected, abandoned, and/or abused in their young lives) receive much-needed self esteem and confidence from the experience. The proven therapeutic benefits Harmonikids provides to troubled teens there are described by Treatment Specialist Supervisor Lester Whidbee in his report on the right.

~ Gary Allegretto
Founding Director of Harmonikids

On Friday, August 1, 2014, renowned Blues Harmonica expert and educator, Gary Allegretto, honored the residents of Snowden and Mowlds Cottage with a one hour instructive harmonica lesson. Mr. Allegretto informed the residents of the beauty of playing the harmonica and the Blues.  He noted the two most important elements in learning to play harmonica are single notes with good tone. He explained the roots of the Blues.  He played recordings of today’s music (rap artist Nas) to display the prevalence of Blues music in today’s society and its manifest in all genres of music. Mr. Allegretto intrigued the residents and staff with his entrancing sound on the harmonica which commanded the room.  He awarded residents and staff by teaching them to correctly play four songs for the lesson on their own harmonicas in which everyone was able to keep.  Among the messages he shared in the session he expressed that 'when you make a mistake on the harmonica or in life "you correct it and move forward" and that the harmonica is only to be played “to make people happy". This was such an enlightening experience for our youths."

Lester Whidbee
Treatment Specialist Supervisor
Snowden Cottage B – Shift

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