SPAH Award Recipients

For this year’s nominees, please click here

Bernie Bray Player of the Year Award

This award is presented annually to an individual for excellence in playing the harmonica.

1981 – Bernie Bray
1982 – Richard Smith
1983 – Pete Pedersen
1984 – Gordon Mitchell
1985 – Judy Simpson Smith
1986 – Danny Wilson
1987 – Alex Fogel
1988 – Norm Dobson
1989 – Jim Prushankin
1990 – Richard Harris
1991 – Don Les
1992 – Al Fiore
1993 – Cham-ber Huang
1994 – Al Smith
1995 – Jerry Murad
1996 – Stagg McMann
1997 – Peter Madcat Ruth
1998 – Lou Delin
1999 – Blackie Schackner
2000 – Jack Ely
2001 – Joe Filisko
2002 – Marvin Monroe
2003 – Buddy Wakefield
2004 – Bud Boblink
2005 – Douglas Tate
2006 – Frank Warner
2007 – Herb Eck
2008 – Gene Hansen
2009 – Rob Paparozzi
2010 – Howard Levy
2011 – Brendan Power
2012 – Phil Caltabellotta
2013 – Jean Toots Thielemans
2014 – Buddy Greene
2015 – Robert Bonfiglio
2016 – Stevie Wonder
2017 – Jason Ricci
2018 – Hermine Deurloo
2019 – Dennis Gruenling
2020 – Antonio Serrano
2021 – William Galison
2022 – Charlie Musselwhite

Pete Pedersen Lifetime Achievement Award

Not only do these outstanding harmonica players have a record of achievement over a long period of time, they also preserve and advance the harmonica and share their talents and knowledge with the harmonica community.

2001 – Pete Pedersen
2002 – Blackie Schackner
2003 – Sandy German
2004 – Dominic and Tony Sgro
2005 – Buzz Krantz and Charlie McCoy
2006 – Stan Harper, Bob McFarlane and Ray Tankersly
2007 – Jerry Adler and Danny Wilson
2008 – Anneliese “Sissi” Jones and Charlie Musselwhite
2009 – Manji Suzuki
2010 – Dick Gardner
2011 – Al Smith
2012 – James Cotton
2013 – Tom Stryker
2014 – Peter Madcat Ruth
2015 – Mo Vint
2016 – Winslow Yerxa
2017 – Michael Burton
2018 – Kirk “Jellyroll” Johnson
2019 – Steve Baker and Will Scarlett
2020 – Jerry Devillier
2021 – PT Gazell
2022 – Phil Wiggins

SPAH Award of Special Merit

This award recognizes and honors harmonica players, non-players and organizations that have made special contributions to the harmonica community.

2003 – Frank Halovanic
2004 – Joe Fey
2005 – Jack Hopkins
2006 – Joe and Fey Martin
2007 – Bob Herndon
2008 – Rudy and Doris Michelin
2009 – Phil Duncan
2010 – Michael Anderson, Dick Lawrence and Terry Lewis
2011 – Michael Polesky
2012 – Roger Bale and Eugene Hansen
2013 – Martin Haeffner
2014 – Mike Caldwell, Harp-l and SlideMeister

Stan Harper Award of Special Merit

The SPAH Award of Special Merit was renamed the Stan Harper Award of Special Merit in 2015.

2015 – Charles Spranklin
2016 – Paul Davies
2017 – Phil and Tony Sardo and Jerl Welch
2018 – Frank Davis and Manfred Wewers
2019 – David Barrett
2020 – George Miklas, Steve Watne
2021 – Phil Franklin, Vern Smith
2022 – Michael Rubin, Bill Dulin

President’s Award

This award is presented at the discretion of the SPAH President to deserving recipients.

2011 – Paul Metris
2013 – Frank Davis, Norm Dobson and Danny Wilson
2015 – Joe Leone and the Gateway Harmonica Club
2016 – Paul Oscher and Vern Smith
2017 – Johnny Long
2019 – Dottie Pispecky and The Route 66 Harmonica Club (Tulsa)
2021 – Jessie Hirsch, Jim Hughes
2022 – Buddy Greene, JP Pagán

Special Lifetime Achievement Award

2001 – Larry Adler, Tommy Morgan and Alan Pogson
2002 – Tommy Reilly
2003 – Charlie Leighton

Award of Appreciation

2001 – Bob Williams
2012 – Tom Stryker