Subject: Re: [Harp-L] SPAH Election

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>
Message: 6
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 
my  replies:

===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."  

===WINSLOW says: 
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." 

===WINSLOW says: 
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." 

===WINSLOW says: 
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 
ideas  how
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 
SPAH will
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." 

===WINSLOW says: 
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.

Winslow Yerxa
SPAH Presidential candidate
SPAH  Entertainment Committee chair
SPAH Awards Committee  Chair


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