[Harp-L] Winslow running for SPAH President

Iâve decided to take the plunge and run for SPAH
president. My vice presidential running mate is incumbent Vice President L. J.

I have to say that at first I was not eager to take
this on. Being SPAH president is a big job and itâs a volunteer job â plenty of
prestige, plenty of headaches, and no dollars.
So why do it?
SPAH is still the best way for harmonica players
and enthusiasts to connect, share, and enthuse over the harmonica. In the age
of Facebook and Twitter, we can connect instantaneously with other harmonica
players worldwide in a multiplicity of ways. Yet the face-to-face interaction
that goes on at a SPAH convention is still the most fun, the most productive,
and the most satisfying interactions we can have.
Where else under one roof will you find so many
folks passionate and active in their love of the harmonica and so eager to
share â the fans; the players of all ages, both amateur and professional; the
manufacturers; the customizers and builders and repairers; the teachers, writers,
bloggers and makers of videos; the dealers; and the builders of amplifiers and
microphones and racks and cases?
Iâve been smitten with SPAH for the last 20 years
and for the last few years have been active with the entertainment committee,
the awards nomination committee, and the selection of and negotiation with
hotels for future SPAH events. Once the convention starts, all the running
around I do to help keep things running smoothly (not to mention the 7:30 AM
board meetings every day) means I have far less time to jam, go to seminars, or
hang out, but I get enormous satisfaction from helping to produce this great
President Tom Stryker has done magnificent work in
creating the infrastructure that will ensure the organizational and financial
health of SPAH. With his resignation effective August 2012, itâs important that
SPAH has someone they know and trust who can continue that work, and who can
find new ways to enlarge the circle while ensuring that existing members are
happy with the direction of SPAH.
L. J. Atkison had intended to step away at the end
of Tom Strykerâs term, and initially turned down my overtures (just as I had
initially resisted encouragement to run for president). Likewise, Elizabeth
Atkison had intended to step down as secretary and convention director. Replacing
them would be a tall order, as they have been hardworking, highly capable,
loyal, and dependable while tackling enormous and complex jobs that are vital
to the functioning of SPAH. So Iâm very pleased to welcome them as part of the
team that I will be proposing to the SPAH electorate. Â
Serving SPAH is consistent with my belief in
supporting the harmonica. However, I was reluctant to take on the job. But I
was locked in a room and forced to listen to music by â errr, rather I mean to
say, I was persuaded by other members of the SPAH board of directors who know
my work. They saw qualities that they believed made me a good fit for the job,
and convinced me that there was personal growth and challenge to make it worthwhile
for me as an individual.
What will I do as President?
-Â Â Â --ÂIâll preserve whatâs good â and Iâll listen
to what SPAH members feel is good and important.
-Â Â
 -- ÂIâll advance SPAH by seeking imaginative new ways
to extend our reach and improve the SPAH experience for all members
-Â Â Â --ÂIâll do everything I can to keep SPAH
financially safe.
-Â Â Â --ÂIâll ensure continued adherence to the
highest standards of ethical behavior, the use of generally accepted accounting
practices, and transparency and accountability in governance.
-Â Â Â --ÂIâll make changes that are prudent, while
exploring and implementing new concepts, approaches, and opportunities wherever
they offer a real benefit and can be implemented without danger to SPAH.
What will I not do as president?
-Â Â
 Â--ÂI wonât create a special uniform, crown,
sash, or turban, or make anyone address me as Your Excellency, or decree that
everyone wear their shoes on the wrong foot every second Tuesday.
-Â Â
 Â--ÂI wonât insist we hire my uncle Griswold or
cousin Beulah any time SPAH has money to spend.
-Â Â
 Â--ÂI wonât try to sell you a religion, hair
growth formula, vitamins, or insurance.
-Â Â
 Â--ÂI wonât bet the farm on the latest âsureâ
Now, it may be that a better candidate will come
along. And I welcome that. SPAH members deserve choices, and they deserve the
best leadership they can have. 
If you find that Iâm the best candidate for the
job, then I hope to work with you, and ask that you give me your confidence and
your vote.
Winslow Yerxa
Author, Harmonica For Dummies ISBN 978-0-470-33729-5
Harmonica instructor, The Jazzschool for Music Study and Performance
Resident expert, bluesharmonica.com
Columnist, harmonicasessions.com

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