I remember Dr. Henry T. Bahnson, Harmonica Innovator
- Subject: I remember Dr. Henry T. Bahnson, Harmonica Innovator
- From: Iceman6300@xxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 08:46:56 EST
My memory of Hank Bahnson.
I attended that Howard Levy Workshop, too. The classmates were some of the
best and brightest talent in the harmonica world, including Dr. Bahnson, but,
as is the unwritten custom at Augusta, the personal career of the classmates
was rarely a point of discussion. As a result, I only knew him as "Hank", the
nice old white haired guy that played traditional American tunes on the
At lunch one day, I was sitting with a guitar student who was an
anesthesiologist from Atlanta, GA. Dr. Bahnson walked by with his lunch tray
and said "Hi, Larry". I said "Hi there, Hank" and clapped him on the back.
The anesthesiologist almost choked on his food. He said "Do you have any idea
who you just clapped on the back??" I said "Sure, that's ol' Hank. He's a
cool ol' dude that is learning to play overblows and blues harmonica". He
said "No, that is Dr. Henry T. Bahnson, one of the most respected surgeons in
the world, involved in the first heart transplant projects at a famous
Pittsburgh Hospital and is Head of the Department there. You just don't pat
somebody like that on the back and call him 'Hank!"
It sure surprised me, but never changed the friendly relationship Dr. Bahnson
and I shared over the years.
Dr. Bahnson was also responsible for sneaking Howard Levy into the research
lab at this hospital and filming an ultrasound movie of Howard's mouth and
throat while he played harmonica and overblows. From what Hank told me, he
got caught using this VERY EXPENSIVE hospital equipment in harmonica research
and was scolded by the Hospital Administrator.
Hank was quite a guy and the harmonica community owes him a debt of gratitude
for his research into the physiology of harmonica playing and the human body.
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