Hohner Sponsors Harmonikids At The 50th Anniversary Spah Convention In St. Louis

25.08.2013

On August 15-17, 2013 Hohner sponsored a very special series of opportunities for Harmonikids to appear at the 50th anniversary convention of the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH). First, the Hohner Harmonikids model harmonica was featured at the Hohner booth, and was the harmonica that dozens of kids received and played at the SPAH children's program.

Secondly, Hohner sponsored a Harmonikids session off-site at the St. Louis Children's hospital. The Hospital's Child Life Specialist Pam AuBuchon and SPAH attendee Wally Michener (who enthusiastically and generously volunteered to provide transportation to the session and play his chromatic harmonica for the kids) share their perspectives in their letters below regarding the wonderful success of the session - which provided two dozen harmonicas and lessons to a hospital playroom full of patients and their families.

Finally, Hohner sponsored my appearance to give an official SPAH seminar on Harmonikids. In order to demonstrate an actual Harmonikids session I contacted and invited Girls Inc. of St. Louis to attend. Girls Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides empowering programs that "help girls navigate gender, economic, and social barriers" - the majority located in low–income areas. The girls in attendance had a wonderful time being entertained and learning to effectively play four songs.

When it was finished, they wanted more, so at their request I extended the program to teach them a famous blues riff. The riff is originally from Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man", but the girls were delighted when I taught them the notes to play along with Koko Taylor's powerful version… "I'm a Woman". It was a joyful time, as illustrated below in a letter from Michelle Mitchell, Girls Inc. Outreach Manager.

The session was also attended by several SPAH attendees who openly expressed interest in becoming involved in helping Harmonikids humanitarian work - one who was so impressed by what he had witnessed that he promptly sent a generous donation. Please enjoy the photos and feedback letters.

~ Gary Allegretto, Founding Director Harmonikids, www.harmonikids.org

Support Hamonikids!

You can help support Gary and the Harmonikids program with a purchase of a Harmonikids Harmonica! Proceeds support Gary's mission of spreading the joy of making music to children in need.

Visit www.HohnerShop.com to purchase a Harmonikids Harmonica today!

Letters To Gary

Hi Gary, 

Again, I want to thank you and Hohner for providing the patients with such a great opportunity. The patients really appreciate someone taking the time out of there busy day to teach them a new and fun skill.  It provides the patient and family with a much needed break from their hospital routine. Patients were really excited to demonstrate their new harmonica playing skills for their nurses and doctors.

Thanks,

Pamela
 
Pamela AuBuchon
Child Life Specialist 8W27
St. Louis Children's Hospital

Gary,

I have many highlights to remember from my week in St. Louis, but  the warmest was my experience with you at Children's Hospital. The kids really responded to your session with them.  The parents and hospital staff were also excited about the whole presentation. There were smiles on every face. It was a different and unique experience for everyone and I was flattered when you asked me to play a few bars for the kids on my chromatic. Your sponsor, Hohner, is very cool for providing a real, quality instrument for the kids. Best of luck in your career. You're a great guy for what you do and a fantastic harmonica player.  Please count me as one of your fans and a friend.

Sincerely,

Wally Michener

SPAH Participant
Golden, Colorado

Gary,
 
Thank you so much for offering the harmonica workshop to our girls last Saturday, August 17th in St. Louis.  The girls absolutely loved it.  I was very impressed with the way you were able to teach them 5 simple but very meaningful songs in such a short period of time.  They are extremely proud of that accomplishment.  In talking with a few of the parents after the session, they could not believe that this type of activity was offered and appreciated how you took your time with them.  My daughter Sydney was one of the participants and has not put her harmonica down for one minute!  We both were able to show my husband our newly learned skills.  
 
A couple of the other girls, brought their harmonicas to the center to show the staff and their friends how they play.  Of course their inner Koko Taylor came out!  Being a musician myself, I can understand the importance of music in any form for our children.  Music is the language of life, and exposing them to all genres of music, instruments, musicians, etc. will open the world to them.
 
Thank you again, and I hope that the next time, you are in St. Louis, you can stop by our center and give another workshop to all of our girls.  You are the best!
 
Michelle

Michelle R. Mitchell, Outreach Manager
Girls Incorporated of Saint Louis