Kerrville Folk Festival Harmonica Workshop

Kerrville Folk Festival Harmonica Workshop - PT Gazell, Ronnie Shellist, Rob Roy Parnell, Michael D'EathKERRVILLE FOLK FESTIVAL HARMONICA WORKSHOP.

June 5-7, 2023. Director Roy Roy Parnell is joined by PT Gazell, Ronnie Shellist, assisted by Michael D’Eath, for 3 days of instruction for intermediate to veteran players. Fee includes the class, a special KFF T-shirt, lunches each day, and may include admission to the Festival if you are not already in attendance at the Festival.

For workshop details, click here.

For more information and tickets, go to the Kerrville Folk Festival Foundation website.

Note: SPAH members receive a 10% discount by using the code SPAH10 when registering.

Price is $450 including Festival admission for 3 days, or $375 for those without festival tickets.

Please join this longstanding workshop, amazing instructors, the campground music, fabulous nightly concerts and camaraderie!

Harpfest in May

There is a harmonica workshop taking place in Helen, GA this May 17th – 21st. Hosted by Rob Paparozzi, Jason Ricci, and Todd Parrott, Harpfest is an amazing opportunity to learn from some of the greatest players in the world! For more information and registration, please email!

“Xpression” – Hohner’s Latest Chromatic Harmonica

This just in from SPAH Platinum Sponsor, Hohner.


Hohner’s new “XPRESSION” chromatic harmonica, available for purchase on April 3rd, offers new technical features and musical capabilities, lending to an expressive and comfortable performance for beginners and advanced players alike.


Made in Germany, the “XPRESSION” was designed to exhibit excellent playing capabilities while
maintaining comfortable handling. The instrument includes a CNC-milled stainless steel
mouthpiece with excellent gliding properties and integrated precision slide to provide maximum
comfort for the performer, ergonomically shaped stainless steel covers for comfortable handling,
a sound-optimized ABS comb for durability in a wide variety of climatic conditions, reedplates
manufactured to prioritize maximum air tightness and precision-machined brass reeds capable
of supporting heavy use.


“The stainless steel mouthpiece meets the high standards of professionals for playability and
performance” said Hohner Harmonica Brand Manager Jimmy Zednik. “The Xpression is priced to
appeal to players starting out, while the design, materials, construction, and durability make it an
instrument that will last as players progress to higher playing levels.”


Of note, the Xpression is valved, and straight-tuned. SPAH intends to publish a review of the instrument in an upcoming issue of Harmonica Happenings . Yvonnick Prené  is featured on the packaging for the Xpression, and and you can watch Prené demonstrating and speaking about this new model on the Hohner website. The launch of this instrument coincides with the International Chromatic Harmonica Competition in Hong Kong (see the earlier SPAH News story).


Follow this link for the technical information: Hohner Xpression


The Hohner Xpression’s pricing is expected to be MSRP $315 and MAP* $228.99. You can place your advance order for your new Hohner Xpression at HARMONICA GALLERY SALES REPAIR AND STUDIO , Rockin’ Ron’s, and other Hohner dealers.



Here is a review of the new instrument from Musical Merchandise Review


*Manufacturer’s Minimum Advertised Price

NEWS FLASH – Update to performers at the 60th Annual SPAH Convention

March 20th, 2023. St Louis, MO. SPAH is pleased to announce exciting new headliners & performers at the 2023 SPAH Convention, to be held in St Louis, MO from August 15 to 19, 2023.


Yes, it is official, Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind will be joining our headliners for the Convention as a closing act on Thursday night, August 17th. Jason is joining other amazing headliners, including Grammy award-winner Peter Madcat Ruth’s C. A. R. Ma. Quartet, and Tom Stryker’s Band playing the American Songbook! Many SPAH attendees will remember Jason’s unique skills in performance and teaching, both of which we will experience in St Louis. SPAH is also pleased to confirm that James Conway, Greg Hommert, and more great artists will join us this year to perform and teach. Some will be a surprise for when you arrive in St Louis!

Jason Ricci & The Bad KindAbout Jason Ricci

Multiple award-winning jazz, funk and blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter Jason Ricci has played, toured and recorded with some of the world’s most esteemed blues, jazz, rock and New Orleans musical legends. Those awards include the 2017 Bernie Bray Harmonica Player of the Year from SPAH, as well as being a three-time winner of the Blues Music Award  for Best Harmonica.


Jason is included in nearly every top ten and top twenty list of harmonica players in magazines and all over the internet. His fascinating career and life have led him up to the highest musical mountain tops, such as performing at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, recording a Grammy-winning record with Johnny Winter, winning three Blues Music Awards and numerous nominations from The Blues Foundation only to fall all the way down to the lowest valleys of addiction, homelessness, jails – and back up again. Today his sincere recordings, shows, songs and incendiary harmonica playing continue to tell the story of life and garner new fans to add to an emotionally devoted following of dedicated music lovers.


Back in New Orleans, Jason started his own band again Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind with guitarist John Lisi, a five-piece blues, jazz, rock, funk and jam band featuring his wife, Kaitlin Dibble. Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind have recorded two records for the EllerSoul label, the dark and critically acclaimed release: Approved by Snakes and the fun and lighthearted New Orleans-influenced release My Chops are Rolling. Jason Ricci and John Lisi also appeared and wrote music for the TV show CSI New Orleans.


Jason was the featured artist on the 2015 Grammy winning record Step Back by Johnny Winter. Jason’s latest record is Ricci/Krown, City Country City, a retro soul-infused outing that features Jason’s gutsy vocals and stellar harmonica, overlaid with Joe Krown’s (Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s keyboardist) melodic and earthy organ playing. City Country City brings back the sound and feel of early 1960s jazz/blues with an original sound all its own.


Today Jason is busy playing locally and internationally with his band The Bad Kind and the Ricci/Joe Krown Trio. He recently recorded on The Blues Music Award Nominated album by The Altered Five Blues Bands: Holler if you hear me.


The 2023 SPAH Convention – Celebrating 60 years of harmonicas, music and friends

From SPAH Platinum Sponsor, Hohner, about Jason Ricci: “ Hohner is excited for Jason Ricci to share his world class expertise at SPAH’s 60th Anniversary Celebration in St Louis. Ricci’s performance and engagement will make this event one harmonica players and enthusiasts will not want to miss!”

The Passing of “Harmonicoot” Bud Gardner

Bud GardnerBud Gardner
Nov. 1, 1934 – March 16, 2023

There will be a Celebration of Life for Bud Gardner to be held on April 16, 2023, at Sierra Pines, Sun City Roseville, from 1:00 pm to 4 p.m.

Bud and his fellow Harmonicoots (of almost 60 members) hosted a wonderful SPAH Convention in Sacramento in 2009. He will be sorely missed by us all.


Upcoming Event: International Chromatic Harmonica Competition in Hong Kong

Join us in “The 1st Hong Kong International Chromatic Harmonica Competition” (HKICHC) between 3 April and 9 April 2023 and participate in the series of vibrant and exciting fringe activities from competitions, concert, master classes, workshops, open stage performances to exhibition. Among them, we are offering free and discounted tickets to two highlighted activities, respectively the HKICHC – Final and the Master Concert: The Evolving Harmonica.

Moreover, we can arrange a “Competition Audience Pass” for you so that you can enjoy all the other stages of the competition for free.

Please get back to us to reserve your tickets by filling in the online form on or before 15 March 2023. Should you have any other enquiries, please email (  or WhatsApp (+852 91638829) Ms. Rainbow Tam for facilitation.

Please also help to spread the news to your harmonica circle.

We look forward to welcoming you to join us in this unprecedented harmonica event!

Hong Kong Harmonica Association

Registration for the 2023 Convention Now Open

60th Anniversary SPAH Converntion
Celebrating 60 years of harmonicas, music and friends

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 60th Anniversary SPAH Convention. The SPAH organization was founded and incorporated in the State of Michigan, USA in 1963 by a group of visionary midwestern harmonica enthusiasts based at the Ford Motor Company who were passionate about the instrument. We are so glad they had the vision and energy to do so!


This year’s Diamond Anniversary Convention will be held in St Louis, August 15-20. We expect it to be an amazing and popular event. If you only attend one SPAH Convention, this should be the one! Our hosts, the Gateway Harmonica Club in St. Louis, are an experienced and musical group, so you can be assured we will all be made most welcome.


Details are available on the SPAH website, under the Convention tab. A PDF copy of the registration form is also available for download here. The Sheraton Westport Chalet hotel in St Louis is ready to accept your reservation here at the SPAH discount rate of $119 per night! You can also call them at (888) 627-7066, and ask for the “S-P-A-H” rate.


If you didn’t already have enough reason to attend, here is a partial list of 2023 confirmed performers: Peter Madcat Ruth’s C.A.R.Ma. Quartet (Grammy Award winner of Brubeck fame), Nic Clark (Hohner endorsee), Joe Filisko & Eric Noden (famed roots duo), Jason Keene (midi harmonica great), the Harmonica Big Band, Will Galison (jazz harmonica), Dave Moore (A Prairie Home Companion regular), Greg Hommert, two harmonica trios, and Tom Stryker (Jazz Chromatic) leading a wonderful group playing The American Song Book. Our perennial favorites are returning, of course, including the Youth Scholars, Gospel Showcase, SPAH Awards Banquet, and Teach-in, as well as wonderful SPAH Troubadours to share their experience, insights & music around the Convention area! We will be announcing more headliners in the coming weeks. Please remember that separate registration for the Tuesday night Blues Blowoff is available with your Convention registration, and will again be held in the Hotel.


Given what we know today, there will be no vaccination requirements to attend but, for your own and others’ safety, we ask that you use the vaccination program to prevent serious illness in large gatherings. Similarly, wearing masks will be your choice, but is encouraged, when possible, in close quarters.


If you would like to play a larger role at the Convention as a seminar presenter or volunteer, please follow this link to let us know. Also, if you are the designated representative from a harmonica or blues club, or of a Convention sponsor or vendor, you can also obtain the form to register for the President’s Breakfast there.


Registration to attend Online will again be available this year, starting in May. Performances from both stages will now be streamed and recorded by our professional A/V team to view live, or later. All seminars will be recorded & posted on YouTube soon after each presentation. Please register and book your hotel as soon as possible to ensure you get the banquet seating and hotel room you desire. Remember that renewing your membership for 2023 assures you of a discount of $75 off the convention price, and you’ll receive 4 quarterly issues of Harmonica Happenings and other benefits when you renew. You will also be supporting one of the longest-standing American non-profit music organizations!


Meet Us in St Louis! Register Now!

The passing of Mary Jane Gormley

Mary Jane Gormley

MARCH 3, 1940 – DECEMBER 9, 2022

Mary Jane Norris Gormley has passed on.

It was diagnoses of COPD in 1998, which happened to have a positive effect on a wider audience. Searching for a way to lessen the effect of difficulty breathing she came up with the idea of using a harmonica to exercise her lungs, and thereby strengthen them. She became a member of SPAH, and through her contacts with entertainers and manufacturers, developed an appreciation for the instrument as a musical instrument but, more importantly, a medical aid. This led her to team up with a respiratory therapist/musician, Larry Vesely, who worked at Bloomington Hospital, and the two co-authored a book on Harmonicas for Health that is available for free download at She partnered with manufacturers and local doctors to get large numbers of harmonicas and deliver them to elementary school children in Monroe County, along with music and complete instructions arranged by her grandchildren.

Mary Jane Gormley