Harmonica Mass Appeal Event In New York City


GLEN ALLEN, VA – On June 21, 2012, Hohner sponsored the Make Music New York (MMNY) Mass Appeal event in New York’s Central Park and donated free harmonicas to the first 100 attendees. Renowned harmonica virtuoso Jia-Yi He led the audience, which included New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, through beginner ballads such as "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "When the Saints Go Marching In." After just 40 minutes, He brought each member of his makeshift band—experts and beginners alike—to harmony. “I’ve always wanted to play the harmonica,” said journalist Gregg Levine who attended other festival events that day and decided to drop in. “Listening to the riff on [Bob Dylan's], ‘Everyone Must Get Stoned’ when I was a kid, the harmonica is a part of rock n’ roll that I just always wanted to try but never pursued.”

Jia-Yi He has received numerous awards in international festivals and competitions in England, Germany, Israel, Japan and United States. He has appeared as a soloist with the China National Symphony Orchestra, China National Ballet Symphonic Orchestra and the Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra and has recorded harmonica music for a number of movies, radio stations and CDs. He has worked as a harmonica instructor at Turtle Bay for 10 years has led the MMNY’s Mass Appeal harmonica session for the last four.

He’s passion for the instrument is what drives him, and in then end, his goal is to help spread the joy the harmonica brings to him. “This event stood out because everyone could play,” said He while holding a donated Hohner harmonica. “Since Hohner was able to donate their harmonicas, experienced and beginner players were all able to play together—even the mayor!” Bloomberg, who admitted to having only some harmonica experience, caught on quickly and played along with the crowd under He’s guidance.

“Some of the events today which are all supposed to be open to everyone are very challenging and more difficult to jump into. That’s why I think the harmonica Mass Appeal event is so successful, because it’s truly open to everyone,” said Aaron Friedman, President of Make Music New York.