Harmonikids Session for Children with Respiratory Issues


Gary Allegretto's Hohner-Sponsored Harmonikids Session for Economically Challenged Children with Respiratory Issues

Playing the harmonica has been widely recognized in the medical field as beneficial to those who suffer from respiratory ailments. On October 8th my Hohner-sponsored Harmonikids session for 80 economically-challenged children with respiratory issues at the Mortgridge Academy in Denver proved just that. Mortgridge Academy is part of National Jewish Health - the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Besides the health benefits, the session boosted self esteem and confidence and brought inspiration to kids who don't normally get to participate in physical activities. Please read the attached thank you letter from facility supervisor Mary Morrissey including some heartwarming feedback from the children to see the wonderful results Harmonikids provided that day.

Gary Allegretto
Founding Director
Harmonikids (www.harmonikids.org)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


Thank you so very much for the incredible Blues harmonica sessions you provided for the kids at Morgridge Academy. Every one of our students faces health challenges, the bulk of them have asthma or other respiratory issues. In addition, most of them come from economically challenged families and our population is almost 90% free/reduced lunches. With their health issues, many of our students don’t get to participate in physical activities. With financial cuts to the arts programs in public schools, we find that our students don’t get some of the music/art education and opportunities that used to be available.

I send you a big thanks for what you brought to our students. Many of our families, culturally deprived and impoverished, you opened some doors and possibilities to these challenged kids. Your humor, talent, giftedness and passion left them wanting more.

I’d like to include some of the kids’ comments, if I may…

  • Thank you so much for coming! You have really inspired me to be able to play anything even though I have medicals! That night I went home and played my harmonica til dark.
  • You inspired me a lot! You really inspired me to do what I want to do and I don’t have to worry about it…or what they/other people think of me, so thank you so much!
  • Thank you for giving us the harmonicas. They are really fun and I’m still practicing the basics, but I will play harmonica almost every day. Until I get as good as you I will keep trying.
  •  Thank you for the harmonicas. They are so awesome and I am trying to learn how to play. Thanks for the lessons. They were so cool. I am going to practice every day. I love harmonicas!
  • Thanks for teaching us how to play harmonica. I will remember that forever! I will truly make people happy!
  • Thank you so much for the harmonica. It is amazing. You are an amazing player. I wish you could sing to me all day!
  • I want to go and visit you sometime or you can come visit us. You are the best, Gary Allegretto!

Thank you again,
Mary Morrissey
Fine Arts Teacher
Morgridge Academy
National Jewish Health
1400 Jackson St  E03
Denver, CO 80206

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