Subject: Re: [Harp-L] SPAH Election
- To: winslowyerxa@xxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Subject: Re: [Harp-L] SPAH Election
- From: EGS1217@xxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 16:51:13 -0500 (EST)
- Cc: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
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Very well said, Winslow!
You've synopsized the points which troubled me too. I've taken the
liberty of going back over your post to remove the 'AE' thingamajigs (which show
up instead of apostrophes). They seem to be part of a particular program
and make for difficult reading on the digest. Hope this turns out a wee bit
On reading Warren's post I could only think that SPAH would have to charge
dues far in excess of the current $45 to remotely implement what his team
seems to have in mind. Just what does 'real benefits' mean? SPAH is a
non-profit and needs to continue as such. We already get quite a bit for our $45
annual dues: producing Harmonica Happenings costs real money. And as to
any hint of SPAH being 'exclusive', I personally know that is just SO wrong
on so many levels.
Based on an earlier harp-l posting I got the distinct feeling Warren would
like to see SPAH turned into a fairgrounds type of convention and greatly
expanded, perhaps even to camping out. This would effectively eliminate 90%
of those who currently attend (and who created the current SPAH model). I
do know that friends who've attended YellowPine find it very uncomfortable
and are thankful it's a much shorter 'convention'. Most of those of us who
like our creature comforts want SPAH to continue being held in a Hotel, at
least for the foreseeable future. Camping out wouldn't work for us, nor
would the idea of having over a thousand+ attendees (with the resultant need
for security and all of those extra costs).
That other kind of harmonica 'happening' is great for those who want to
put on yet another harmonica festival, but why try to change SPAH so
drastically? There is both room for SPAH and a separate harmonica fair done
Some time ago many of us took some of the residual mutual 'dissing'
between blues diatonic players and old-time chromatic players as a personal
challenge. There had to be a better way to get these folks together - to create
some mutual respect on both sides. So over the last few years there has
been a clear melding of the two 'factions' (I've personally introduced people
to each other where I thought they'd have some commonality), with several
getting together - perhaps first for meals and then in groups no matter what
style of harmonica they play. Marv Monroe does it with his guitar and
XB-40's; Jimi Lee too, with his guitar and harp-in-a-rack. People of all
persuasions love Joe Filisko and Paul Davies. Everyone plays or gathers around
them. SPAH encourages this.
Since I have friends in both 'camps' it does my heart good to see the
camaraderie. I've loved watching Jason Ricci in the front row cheering on his
great friends Al & Judy Smith for instance, teaching himself to play a
chord harmonica and even including the HarpBeats as part of the Sacramento
BlowOff (a first ever). Al & Judy have gone out of their way to attend Jason's
shows. Who would possibly see a connection between them? Yet there is. It's
all to do with the heart. At the blow-off many of the blues attendees
there had never once heard a harmonica trio play before and said so (after
giving a standing ovation and raving about the trio's performance), precisely
the reason Jason wanted them exposed to Phil, George and (at that time)
Wally. A way of opening ears.
During a Blues show/Seminar half the audience are older people who might
not usually have a whole lot of interest but stay out of respect so why
wouldn't diatonic players return the favour? Respect breeds respect and I've now
been lucky enough to see it grow considerably over the last few years, at
least among those with open minds and hearts. To me that's what SPAH's been
about - to toss old ideas out, perhaps open oneself up to new po
ssibilities and make friends across all sorts of lines. It's been working.
As to the Younglings, at our most recent Garden State Festival some kids
from a local School were extremely interested in the Bass and chord
harmonicas - trying them out in Danny G's vendor's store. It was a real treat
hearing these kids show so much enthusiasm - they'd no idea such instruments
existed! Within a few minutes one was actually figuring out the chords.
Amazing to hear. Earlier, Hal Walker had demonstrated the Khaen among other
instruments. THEIR ears are open to the musical possibilities and GSHC has been
continuing the Young at Harp program begun at SPAH. I can't imagine
anything more INclusive than this, the many overseas visitors showing up at the
Conventions; or the several Hotel Staff in New Jersey so intrigued by the
playing they expressed strong interest in learning harmonica.
I do very much like the idea of having control over my own information at
the SPAH website. An idea long overdue, imho.
I've long appreciated those unsung and mostly unseen heroes of SPAH who get
it all done - the same volunteer group who continually work behind the
scenes to actually make every SPAH work and I know just how much you
appreciate them since you gave them full credit years ago in a conversation with me.
Frankly, Winslow, to me you're the natural successor as President of SPAH
and I was very much hoping you'd run even though you haven't blown your own
horn much at all..... yet. <G>
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2011 14:37:30 -0800 (PST)
From: Winslow Yerxa <winslowyerxa@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] SPAH Election
To: "harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
The SPAH presidential campaign is
starting to warm up, and VP candidate Warren Bachman (running mate of
presidential candidate Bob Cohen) made his opening campaign statement earlier
today. I'd like to thank Warren
for his complimentary statements about me and his enthusiasm for SPAH.
But I also need to correct the record, as some of his statements about
SPAH are simply not accurate. Here are the relevant quotes from Warren, with
===WARREN says: "My goals are very simple when it comes to SPAH. I would
like to see the organization become more INCLUSIVE and less EXCLUSIVE."
SPAH includes anyone who wants to join. To my knowledge, SPAH does not
exclude anyone. SPAH members self-select and all are made to feel welcome. To
imply otherwise is simply untrue, and is unfair to the hardworking and
welcoming staff and board members who organize SPAH.
We have people joining SPAH and attending the convention from Korea,
India, China,Japan, Brazil, Russia, Sweden, Germany, France, and the UK and, I'm
sure, from elsewhere. They even let in Canadians like me.
Among our stateside members and attendees, SPAH includes folks of all ages
and ethnic backgrounds.
===WARREN says: "I would like to see that anyone on this planet who has
any level of love for our dear instrument finds open arms and a positive
resource 365 days a year with SPAH. Membership that provides real benefits at
an affordable price for ALL. Regardless of playing level,harmonica of choice
or personal goals. Enthusiastic fans who don't even play the instrument
should want to join the club. Besides PRESERVING & ADVANCING the HARMONICA I
believe that SPAH can also be an 'IN MOMENT' organization."
The devil is in the details. We all believe in these things, but dreaming
while sitting in the little red wagon will not win the Indy 500. To achieve
these objectives we need concrete plans. And the only way to formulate
those plans is to start with SPAH's available resources of money and time. For
years I have worked within an actual budget to plan SPAH's annual
convention entertainment. I'm already working on ways to extend SPAH's reach.
SPAH membership doesn't cost much, and membership revenues alone don't
cover SPAH's liabilities. To do more, SPAH needs more revenue. But that can't
come solely from SPAH members. SPAH is already reaching beyond the
membership to fund existing activities, and has been resourceful in creating the
Corporate Sponsorship Program and in expanding vendor opportunities. The
organization will have to find and
secure additional revenues to undertake more programs.
===WARREN says: "The pros and vendors can benefit from the exposure to
sell their performances/wares and the amateur's can benefit from the
ultimate "connection" with like minded souls."
SPAH already provides great benefits to pros, vendors, and amateurs, and
has done so for many years. I'm sure SPAH would love to extend those benefits
beyond the annual convention and the quarterly magazine, but again, SPAH
needs to develop the capabilities to do those things. I already have some
to do this in a realistic way, which I'll share in my own campaign
===WARREN says: "3) I understand that all of the desires in my heart for
not happen on the "fast track". I just believe that the
"road map" of SPAH needs to be updated. Much has changed since
the early 1960's when things got started."
SPAH itself has changed a LOT since the early 1990s when I joined, and even
more in the last five years. To imply that the 1960s model even faintly
resembles what SPAH is now is to ignore your own eyes and experience.
In the foreground, SPAH is far more welcoming to all folks no matter what
their generation and style preferences may be, and the SPAH convention is a
far richer experience, through better planning, expansion of
performances,seminars, and jams, and through support of individual initiatives to create
'unofficial'? events such as the offsite Harmonica Blowoffs founded by
Jason Ricci and continued each year by a new regional organizer, such as Mike
Fugazzi in Minnesota and Dennis Gruenling in Virginia.
In the background, SPAH has been putting in place the financial resources
and infrastructure that will enable the kind of growth that we all want to
This background stuff ain't sexy, but it makes everything else possible.
And that's the work I'm already elbow deep in doing. Let me describe some of
the work going on right now, following the current 2011 roadmap:
1. A new website under development, with a SPAH web content manager to
assure current website information and a new web
management company to execute timely updates.
2. A new web based membership program to be integrated into SPAH's
Website. This will enable members to access and update their own personal
information, while streamlining SPAH's
membership and convention details. Because the new program is built on
industry standards, future SPAH administrators can assure continuity through
one common platform with minimal training.
3. A youth program. Donations are beginning to come in, and a look at
Virginia SPAH shows why we need a youth program.
4. Appointment of a SPAH seminar manager to assure a better seminar
experience at the convention.
5. Appointment of a new treasurer (whom I recruited) and expansion of the
current Quickbooks program
6. Search for a new membership director
The continual update of Harmonica Happenings.
SPAH Presidential candidate
SPAH Entertainment Committee chair
SPAH Awards Committee Chair
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