[Harp-L] Nominees for SPAH's Stan Harper Award of Special Merit

Winslow Yerxa winslowyerxa@xxxxx
Mon Aug 8 21:38:32 EDT 2016

This year SPAH is announcing the names of all the nominees for its three awards. Here are the nominees for the Stan Harper Award of Special Merit:

Stan Harper Award of Special Merit


·     Candidates must have benefited the harmonicacommunity in a manner that is deserving of singular honor.

·     And may be individuals who do not play theharmonica, and may even be organizations.

The nominees are:

Harley Crain and Harmonica Collectors International

Who was nominated for this award in 2015, and for the Pete PedersenLifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

For his many years of preserving harmonica history throughhis massive harmonica collection, the magazine Trumpet Call, and his support of SPAH by showing his collection orpresenting seminars at conventions. His appearances on TV and in the news makehim a goodwill ambassador for the harmonica and for SPAH.

Paul Davies

Who has previously been nominated for the Pete Pedersen Lifetime AchievementAward in 2010 and for the Stan Harper Award in 2015.

Paul's contribution to SPAH and the harmonica community isimmeasurable. For the past 15+ years Paul has served as secretary, president,and entertainment director of SPAH, and has consistently raised the level ofthe convention and SPAH by his efforts. Nominator notes that “His mastery ofthe instrument - harmonica guy - is among the best!”

Joe Filisko - Aboutwhom, more later

Dick Gardner

Who in 2010 received the Pete Pedersen Lifetime Achievement award wasalso nominated for the Bernie Bray Harmonica Player of the Year award.

Dick is a legend both as former bass harmonica player withthe Harmonicats and as one of the country’s finest harmonica technicians (and afount of repair knowledge); he counts Toots Thielemans among his clients. Dick *remainsactive in guiding and nurturing the harmonica community in Minnesota.

Deak Harp

Deak Harp is a hypnotic and powerful performer who runs aharmonica store in Clarksdale, Mississippi, that is a major gathering point forharmonica players visiting this fabled town of the blues. He recently started organizinghis own harmonica festival, in addition to performing at such prestigiousevents as the King Biscuit Blues Festival.

Greg Heumann

For innovation and the highest level of craftsmanship inmaking specialized harmonica microphones and microphone accessories for a widevariety of players and styles, ranging from Toots Thielemans to CharlieMusselwhite. In addition to his world-renowned harmonica microphone business, Gregis also a fine player who is active on the Northern California blues scene.

Tom Kemper

For donating harmonicas to children and adults, hostingmonthly house concerts in Dallas for twenty years, which helped advance thecareers of harmonica players and other musicians, and for his involvement in bringingharmonica to the song circles at the Kerrville Folk Festival

Jimi Lee

Who was previously nominated for the Bernie Bray award in 2010, 2011, and2014; and for the Stan Harper award in 2011.

For his years of work with SPAH as entertainer, seminarpresenter, hall jammer, jam leader, and backup player, and for his musicalityon harmonica, vocals and guitar.

Rob Roy Parnell and the Kerrville Folk Festival

For over 12 years, Rob Roy, as Director of the KerrvilleFolk Festival Harmonica Camp, has brought world class harmonica instruction to hundreds,and performances to thousands of music lovers.

John Popper

Who has brought harmonica to a whole generation of rock and jamband fans while adapting the vocabulary and velocity of heavy metal guitar tothe diatonic.

Mickey Raphael - About whom, more later

Ernie Roberts

For teaching harmonica at St. Charles Community College inNew Jersey, strong activity in the Gateway Harmonica Club, and preserving the harmonicathrough his photography at SPAH conventions.

Ronnie Shellist

Who was also nominated for this award in 2015.

For his work promoting the harmonica through teaching,performing, and giving seminars throughout the USA.

Vern Smith

Whose previous nominations include the Stan Harper Award in 2010, 2013, and2014.

For his innovative work in developing the Hands-Free Chromaticand his scientific and rational questioning of many beliefs cherished byharmonica players – including his standing offer of $1000 to anyone who canidentify harmonica comb materials by their sound in a controlled experiment.

Stevie Wonder - Aboutwhom, more later


Pete Pedersen Lifetime Achievement Award


·     Candidates must have a record of achievementsover a long period of time that may reasonably be considered to be the virtualequivalent of a lifetime;

·     Preferably have established themselves asoutstanding harmonica players;

·     be active in promoting the preservation andadvancement of the harmonica and the positive and meaningful interaction ofharmonica players and devotees;

·     and candidates should demonstrate generosity insharing their talents and knowledge, and in remaining accessible to members ofthe harmonica community.

Joe Filisko

Who previously received the Bernie Bray Award in 2001.

For his commitment to excellence in playing, teaching, andpromoting the harmonica, and for his advanced work in harmonica customization.

PT Gazell – about whom more later.

Tom Kemper (whose accomplishments weredescribed in his nomination for the Stan Harper award.)

John Popper  (whose contributions were described in hisStan Harper Award nomination.)

Brendan Power

Who received the Bernie Bray Harmonica Player of the Year award in 2011.

In his 60 years, Brendan has built a reputation as stellarand boundary-pushing instrumentalist, among others backing such luminaries asSting and playing in the pit orchestra for the London run of Riverdance.Meanwhile, he has been active non-stop as an inventor – of multiple alternatetunings for both chromatic and diatonic, of the Suzuki half-valved diatonic andthe Sub 30 and X-reed harmonicas, and now using 3D printing in his invention andconstruction of the Slider bass and double chromatic. 

Mickey Raphael, about whom more later.

Ernie Roberts, whose qualifications weredescribed in his nomination for the Stan Harper award.

Stevie Wonder, about whom more later.

Winslow Yerxa 

For his tireless work in harmonica education over severaldecades, including publishing the magazine HIP–TheHarmonica Information Publication, authoring Harmonica For Dummies and BluesHarmonica For Dummies, creating the harmonica education event the HarmonicaCollective with Jason Ricci, working with both John Popper and Howard Levy topublish transcriptions of their solos, working in many capacities to help runSPAH, and in creating a worldwide reputation not only for his deep knowledge ofall things harmonica, but also for excellence and versatility in playing theharmonica.

Michael: And the award goes to:


Mike: (Opens envelope, reads name of recipient)

(Recipient comes to stage, receives award).


Winslow: And now, back to work.


Bernie Bray Harmonica Player of the Year Award


·     Candidates’ proficiency should be a source ofpride for the community – the award should be for excellence in actuallyplaying the instrument.

·     Award should be for distinction demonstrated orattained recently, preferably during a twelve-month period prior to thedeadline for nominations.

PT Gazell

Whose previous nominations include the Pete Pedersen award in 2015 and 2016

>From his early work with Johnny Paycheck and Ricky Scaggs tohis current career as a purveyor of swing on his Gazell method Seydel diatonics,PT has amassed a solid body of work and left a trail of excellence; his supportof and activity with SPAH in the last several years has enriched ourconventions.

Deak Harp, whose accomplishments were describedin his nomination for the Stan Harper Award.

John Nemeth

Who was also nominated for this award in 2013.

A highly talented soul and blues harmonicist, entertainerand vocalist, over the past four years John has won an album of the year awardand been nominated for a long list of other honors, including a current LivingBlues Award nomination.

Paul Oscher

Paul Oscher was the first Caucasian member of the MuddyWaters Blues Band while Jim Crow laws were still in effect, and since then hasbuilt a fine reputation in his ongoing and reinvigorated career as a triplethreat on guitar, piano, and harmonica – even bass harmonica and melodica in ablues context!

Mickey Raphael

Mickey is nominated for his lifelong body of work in playingthe harmonica in Willie Nelson’s band and being a quintessential accompanist whohas inspired so many on the harmonica.

Jason Ricci

Who was previously nominated for the Bernie Bray Award in 2015.

Jason is both one of the most creative and virtuosicdiatonic harmonica players working at present, and a highly visible ambassadorfor the harmonica as a harmonica educator, tireless touring performer, arecording artist, winner of multiple awards, including a Grammy, and who has evenrepresented the late Paul Butterfield in a performance honoring Butterfield’sinduction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. 

Steve Watne

Past president and motivating force behind the highly successfulTwin Cities Harmonica club and as a harmonica educator for players of all ages,Steve is also an excellent classical harmonicist and, as we’ll see tonight, he shinesin a harmonica trio as well. Steve plays all the harmonicas, and is also activeas a musical arranger for harmonica groups.

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder has been wowing the world with his singing,keyboard playing, and harmonica playing with a string of hit songs going backnearly 50 years. But when he guests on other people’s recordings and concerts,it’s most often as a harmonica player. He brings to the chromatic harmonica aunique and personal voice that is instantly recognizable and is known and lovedworldwide.

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