[Harp-L] Chris Michalek
I have been a long time reader of harp-l but never posted a comment.
I had the pleasure of meeting Chris, his parents, and his wife in St.
Paul this summer as he and I were both traveling there. It was a fluke
that we had been communicating, as he built a harp for me and wanted to
make a new one as I was having some trouble with it. The trouble I'm
sure was with me as my skills do not include overblows/bends. He had
set it up to perfection as he would have it for himself. I needed a
"dumbed-down" version as my style is more coarse and simple. He was
extremely gracious, invited me to his parent's home, made me coffee, and
began to share some licks and techniques. We both commented about the
karma that had brought us together, and he mentioned that he was excited
to meet one of his customers who lived very far away from him.
What began as a simple transaction became a hour and a half session
where he took time to help me with simple suggestions and techniques to
improve my playing as I have developed some bad habits being
self-taught. I have recently embraced tongue-blocking and playing
octaves over the last couple of years as I had been a pucker - only
player forever. I can't express how much his time meant, and not just
the time, but the manner in which he gave the time to me. Completely
self-less and with great care and passion in his heart for the music and
for helping others.
I was looking forward to seeing him at SPAH next year as he has inspired
me to work harder and take my playing to a higher level and attend the
convention for the first time. Very sad but also a testament to how
much implact he had as a player and a person helping others to enjoy the
instrument that we all love so much. My heart felt condolences to his
wife and family; if he touched me that much in just an hour I can't
imagine what a loss this is to those who were closest to him.
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