[Harp-L] Subject: SPAH - Winslow Yerxa

Exactly, Robert. Me too!  

What does "hand chosen successor', 'current
management clique', 'chosen  to maintain the status quo' mean, anyway?

What IS this? What's going on? 

This smacks of 'dirty politics' being played out on harp-l.

And not remotely true, kosher or nice.

As far as I know - and from what I've heard from other SPAH members,  
Winslow decided on his own to finally run for SPAH President - no one pushed,  
forced or even encouraged him unless it was on a personal level. I've watched  
the three videos he did discussing the SPAH Presidency and why he's 
running. In  fact - if he had NOT chosen to run - I had every intention of writing 
in his  name on my own ballot since to my mind he's THE perfect and logical 
next SPAH  President - based on his own long history with SPAH, his years of 
hard work for  the organization and my knowledge of and personal 
interactions with him. So much  for being 'hand chosen by a clique'.

I can assure everyone I'M decidedly not part of any SPAH clique. In fact,  
far from it!

I also remember the last time the SPAH voters had a chance to vote OUT the  
current SPAH President/VP and found out ages later that only a couple of  
people sent in their ballots. This tells ME that the majority were perfectly  
content with the current people they'd previously voted for and wanted them 
to  STAY! Despite what anyone might believe, any SPAH member could have 
written in  alternate names.

The current forward-thinking group headed up by Tom Stryker has done more  
than their part - worked as hard as any previous SPAH administration has 
ever  done - and these same people, the volunteers behind the scenes who get it 
all  done on the ground with the Host Club, are there no matter what. THEY 
are the  ones who are also very appreciated by people like me, and under 
appreciated by  most attendees who have no idea how or why it's all managed, 
but who just want  to show up and get something for their money which is, in 
actual fact,  relatively little for a 4 day Festival. Your biggest expense 
there is  transportation to and from, the Hotel costs, and food. If you're 
close  enough to drive - it's even more affordable. The actual costs for SPAH 
itself -  and what you get for what you've spent (performances, Seminars, 
instruction, the  fabulous jazz and blues jams, Open Mics, the Banquet Dinner, 
etc.) becomes  very affordable.

NOW, suddenly - it's become a 'campaign issue' to think of the Convention  
as not-so-important. What? Of COURSE it's important - it's what SPAH is all  
It's what the majority of SPAH members look forward to all year - and make  
our vacation plans for. In fact, speaking of 'the membership', I do believe 
that  the 800+ members being bandied about as a trivial number only came 
about due to  the efforts OF the current administration and their hard work, 
since the numbers  ebb and flow due to attrition, people getting older and 
leaving, etc. There are  myriad reasons why numbers fluctuate.
 THIS group are the ones who grew SPAH to what it is now, AND grew  SPAH 
quite dramatically quite recently. This sudden talk of 'stagnation' is  
complete nonsense as far as I'm concerned and I believe those making these  claims 
know it full well. Tom Stryker's team which includes Winslow on the staff  
side - who has been part of SPAH for a very long time, are responsible for  
opening up the membership to expand well beyond our US borders, bringing in  
players from many other countries feeling comfortable enough to come to the 
US  for that glorious Annual festival AND beginning the whole 
'Young-at-Harp' group  which has resulted in a new excitement with so many great young 
players joining  the fold.

Everything I've read about the Cohen/Bachman team's vague proposals - even  
today, seems to come down to 'the money'. This leaves a bad taste for me  
personally. SPAH's never been about 'the money'. It's a voluntary 
organization -  begun nearly 50 years ago by people who loved the idea of camaraderie 
in  harmonica playing. It's grown and expanded but always WITH that basic 
brother  and sister-hood. To now make it more about 'the money' doesn't fit MY 
personal  concept of what makes SPAH the great organization I love so much.

Cohen/Bachmann keep harping on SPAH people wanting something 'else' during  
the year. I'll tell you what else I already get for MY dues during the year 
 apart from my very looked forward to copies of Harmonica Happenings: 
constant  interaction with the HUNDREDS of friends I've met and made at every 
SPAH  convention I've attended to the point I can barely keep up with the 
emails;  online interaction with the 2 main harmonica lists/websites I choose to 
stay  loyal to (which again fill my mailbox), and the fact that my own 
harmonica  playing world continually expands precisely due to my yearly SPAH 
attendance  (and even when I'd finally missed one single convention --it 
scarcely made a  dent in my SPAH life).

Everywhere I go I tell people about SPAH and have brought quite a few  
newbies into the fold. In truth, if SPAH were to become an everyday or every  
week occurrence I'd be unable to keep up with it. I very much enjoy being a  
member of this prestigious organization which I support. I HAVE a life  
outside of SPAH and harmonica as most of us do, even the BOD. The absolute  
beauty of SPAH is precisely because we are so many individuals who are drawn  
together each year and so look forward to that Annual Convention which connects 
 us --the siren call to the next City on the roster where we'll get to see 
and  hear another - or more than one other on our list of famous players and 
once  more, after a year, get to meet up with our beloved Harmonica friends.

Until and unless you've been doing this for a while you might not yet fully 
 understand just how amazing and soul satisfying a process it is, this 
'same time  next year' hugging goodbye then hello again a year later--this 
'classy summer  camp for grown-ups', where you not only get to play harmonica 
with the same  people, but catch up on each other's lives as well. It's akin to 
a  brilliantly-run musical school reunion each and every year. Ain't 
NOTHING like  it. It's Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one - a great big 
bright shiny  package to open up, taking place in the middle of Summer, for 
vacation. How  amazing! Why on EARTH would anyone want to change this in any 
way just because  they have their own ideas? It boggles the mind. 
Go do your own ideas, feel free. Just leave what works alone for the rest  
of us to enjoy. There ARE precedents: Adam Gussow began his own harmonica  
gathering, several others have done likewise. They didn't try to co-opt  SPAH 
for their own purposes. 

I've made my feelings known about this before and never once gotten a  
response from either Bob Cohen or Warren Bachmann, someone I've known for years  
and indeed been a very good friend to: IF their team wants to begin a new 
type  of harmonica convention which has a 'fairgrounds' set up, meets weekly, 
has a  huge online presence and expands exponentially, functioning side by 
side with  SPAH? No problem - more power to them. However, this attempt to 
completely  change SPAH into what they think of as 'their' vision sounds so 
anti-SPAH it's a  crime - at least from my perspective as one who LOVES my 
SPAH as it is and how  it keeps growing within its own unique footprint. Don't 
even begin to think of  'fixing' what ain't broke, guys!

For me - Winslow's that singularly visible and always there to help person; 
 at least ever since I attended my first SPAH in 2005. I've never seen the 
man  sit down - always handling some crisis or another, and with equanimity; 
on the  go, always patient with people asking questions, and invariably 
soft-spoken and  kind (a most important trait in a SPAH President - for me, 
anyway). And again,  this is all voluntary, yet he wasn't President or vice 
President, 'only' there  to volunteer his help and running some of the 
Committees later on in his SPAH  life.

I pay attention and take notes when I attend Conventions (have also gone to 
 several Buckeyes, Garden State Festivals and Williamsburgh - so this 
upcoming  SPAH 2012 will be my 14th harmonica convention - not too shabby for a 
'newbie).  I've been videorecording and taking notes all this time. So far 
only a couple of  the artists have been privy to any of the footage shot. At 
some point  there'll be enough for a very unique compilation/perspective on 
harmonica  conventions in general and I'm usually looking at who's doing the 
'real' work  and focusing on 'what lies behind', unlike the majority who're 
there purely to  have FUN..and fun it is. A Harmonica Convention is all 
about sheer  fun.

Since both the former webmaster similarly sat on the current Board as  
Warren was a staff member - who likewise has been intricately involved  with 
SPAH for the last few years, what's the beef? Both have been involved in  the 
'inner circle' compared to the rest of us who just pay our dues and show up  
expecting to have a good time. They had far more opportunity than plain old  
members like me to expand SPAH by active recruitment. If I can recruit  
successfully in my own small way, why can't they? Why would their  vision 
involve forcing board members to do it? It should be something we ALL do  as 
members, and as far as I know most people do, AND take their SPAH membership  

As an extremely qualified and very nice human being, Winslow's LONG overdue 
 - based on what I personally know to be his even temper, refusal to be 
overly  baited even when some of us might actually hope he'd respond somewhat 
in kind  <G> and just generally being the perfect person in the right place 
at the  right time to lead SPAH along its true path.

Pie-in-the-sky ideas notwithstanding, I know where MY vote is going.  
Salesmen are pretty good at pitching ideas, but - now where's the beef? All I've  
heard are snide denigrations and 'vote for us and we'll figure out ways to  
multiply the membership tenfold'; or 'vote us in and IF we don't do the job 
 we won't run next time'. Are you serious? It doesn't work that way! So - 
Thanks,  but no thanks! 
I already know what we'd be getting with Winslow: someone who truly cares  
about SPAH as a highly respected and respectable organization with a 
wonderful  history and who has selflessly dedicated YEARS to the 'Preservation and  
Advancement of the Harmonica' and will continue to dedicate himself to 
growing,  expanding and taking us happily into the future. The man actually 
LISTENS to the  membership as individuals. This tells me everything I personally 
need to  know.

In my humble opinion and as a dues paying member of SPAH, comments like  
those made publicly by Bob Cohen and his supporter do not belong on harp-l. 
Run  on YOUR own merits as Winslow is doing - if you have them. Period. If 
this kind  of campaigning is allowed, then 'the other side of the story' should 
also be  allowed to be expressed here.


:Message: 10
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2012 17:51:16 -0700
From: Robert Hale  <robert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Bob Cohen for SPAH  President and Warren Bachman
for Vice President
To: Bob Cohen  <bob@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Harp- L <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>

Bob  Cohen & Warren Bachman,

On Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 1:30 PM, Bob Cohen  <bob@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> In the 2012 election SPAH members  will have a choice in leadership 
> of being asked to accept the  hand chosen successor of the current
> management clique (who invariably  is chosen to maintain the status quo).

I am a skeptical voter. I want  to see measurable substance in
the campaign. This list is appealing, but  nothing I can hold you
accountable to.

Perhaps on a site, other than  the list, you could state your specific plans
answering the question "How  will you do each of these?"

Robert  Hale

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.