[Harp-L] Re: SPAH and me

I much agree with Rosco's desire to further integrate the  harmonica with 
other instruments at SPAH and beyond, I'd personally like to see  more 
vocalists involved at the convention. 
That said, were we at the same convention this year?  I was at  the one 
which featured a stunning classical performance by  Alexandra Muller, a seminar 
by Clay Kirkland on 'Orange Blossom Special', a  bluegrass show + a 
bluegrass jam led by Cara Cook, a  spectacular youth lineup that included only a 
single blues player, Koei  Tanaka KILLING it on jazz chromatic, and the 
Harmonicats closing the show  on Sat night with a wonderful mix of humor and 
Winslow & Tula, PT Gazell and others tore it up in a  separate Thursday 
evening show during the blues program, the Filisko  teach-in is becoming more 
diverse every year, the Sardo Bros playing in the  halls all week long, the 
Pattons and Alex (young trio players) all over the  place, Boris Politnikov 
scratchin' out some hip-hop, Paul Davies old timey  music, Dale Spalding 
doing latin jazz, the annual gospel show, two kids  programs, Philip Jers, 
Brendan Power, Lonnie Joe  Howell hosting a country jam, Todd Parrott, the jazz 
jam in  the atrium, the Mile high Harmonica Club's trio and then their 20 
piece  band opening Wed night... and literally dozens of other non-blues things 
both  scheduled and impromptu all throughout the week.  
Yep, a heapin' helpin' of great blues as well, yet the SPAH  staff works 
hard to insure that no single genre dominates the convention, we do  our best 
to see that all styles are embraced.  More and more  blues players are 
attending every year, but rather than being by  design, it's a simple reflection 
of the current demographics.  
SPAH's roots are in the trio and similar formats, early on that was  
probably 90% of what you heard, the first decade + of award  recipients bear that 
out.  We LOVE the trio players, but pro  quality practitioners have become 
quite scarce in the US, and due to  US law it is difficult for others to come 
here and perform.  I'm a blues  guy, but I do NOT want to see SPAH become a 
blues organization.   With the diversity of talent mentioned above I think 
the A in SPAH is  actually doing quite well, I'm more worried about the 
Preservation  aspects, and am an advocate of doing all we can to keep the Trio's 
Just my opinion, it's not an official statement.  I appreciate  that Rosco 
took the time to express his takeaway from this years convention,  supplying 
feedback positive or otherwise helps make it better.  Active  involvement 
is the key... love it, hate it, or anything in between, I call upon  all to 
volunteer your skills and resources. 
Christopher Richards
www. harmonicaplanet.com
Staging & Production - SPAH
Producer - International Blues Blowoff

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