Well, as we all do, I’m looking back on 2011 and-whew-what a year it was! Here in southeast PA we started off with snow, went to a hot summer which ended with a hurricane. Then we had an earthquake! Then we had snow on Halloween! I tell you, I’m looking for locusts!!
From a musical standpoint, it was a wonderful year marked by many memories I will long cherish. First, my friends at Joe’s Pizza in Hatboro PA once again made this year successful in that they brought me in for many First Friday events. Joe’s is a great little pizza joint in Hatboro which is a small town not far from Doylestown PA. Each month the Hatboro Chamber of Commerce sponsors a First Friday event where each merchant will stay open later, have music or some other art, and create a festival-like atmosphere in the town. Joe’s has asked me to play there more times than I can remember. Great food! And a great little room to play. The crowd is always appreciative and some of my regular fans like Steve and Janet come out.
Also, I had the opportunity to play some new venues this year. The Hopewell Valley Vineyard hosts a Friday evening Wine Tasting with brick oven pizza. Again, a great room, and some really fine wine! Also played at The National Hotel in Frenchtown NJ. Pete runs a nice restaurant with bar there. I had some friends come out there too for a fun night. The music is on Sunday evenings. With the trio, we performed a few times at Antibes Bistro in NYC and the Salt Creek Grille in Princeton NJ.
Harmonica events were aplenty as well! The annual SPAH convention was held in Virginia Beach and, as always, did not disappoint. For those of you wondering, SPAH stands for the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica…and it does just that! Got to see my great friends from Seydel and many other fine harmonica players. Also, I performed at the Garden State Harmonica Club 39th annual festival this year. It’s a great club and I’ve been part of that organization in one way or another for all 40 years of its existence. Many dear friends at the festival this year. And again, some fine harmonica music. Not to be left out of course was my trek to Yellow Pine Idaho for the Yellow Pine Harmonica Festival. Thanks to George Miklas and Lynn Imel, I was invited to judge the competition they have there and perform with George and his lovely daughter Janalyn. For those wondering, Yellow Pine has a population of 35 which blossoms to over 2000 when they host this 4 day event. Harmonica music from morning til after midnight every day. Absolute blast to attend!
The biggest event of the year for me was the release of “In A Yuletide Groove”. Many thanks are in order here. Rob Paparozzi for producing it and making it all work, Jim Salamone of Cambridge Recording Studios for making it sound incredible, and Kari Gaffney for promoting it to radio and print. Add to that Glenn McClelland, Chris Ziemer, Matt Parrish, Dave Mohn, and my wife Patty for providing awesome backing music! And, I was honored when I found out the CD was selected as Downbeat magazine Editor’s Pick!!
But most importantly, my fans and friends that support my musical efforts are the ones I owe the most to. If it weren’t for you I would probably put the harps in a box and take up fly-fishing. It means so much to me to know that folks enjoy the music I make.
Other things this year were the launch of this very blog! I started it not knowing what to do…and I continue it not knowing what to do! But, I enjoy blabbering some of my “thoughts and musings” and if you enjoy it too then it’s all good.
How about next year? It’s that time of year when we make resolutions and I would be remiss if I didn’t offer up any. So here goes. First, I always make a resolution to be a better husband, a better father, and a better person all around. Speaking of all “around” I always resolve (like many) to lose a few pounds. When my scale says “come back…alone” I know it’s time. Wish me luck!! Seriously, I have a wonderful wife and two awesome kids and they deserve the best from me. I know I usually drop the ball in that category more often than not.
For music next year, I’m thinking of taking up a new instrument…and not a harmonica! We’ll see how that goes. I’m also thinking about beginning a podcast in addition to or in conjunction with the blog. Not sure what I’ll podcast about, but I think it might be fun. Some of you know that I used to write percussion arrangements for competitive marching bands and drum corps. I have found that I miss writing. So, I think I will try my hand at composing a couple of songs. I’ll share them…when they’re ready, if they ever are. I’m also going to take Richard Martin’s advice. Richard is the publisher of the Harmonica Educator which I have been writing for on and off for a number of years. He told me I should put together a harmonica method book.
How about you? Do you have any resolutions?? Most of us do, and most of us drop the ball by the end of January. I’d love to hear stories of resolutions that were kept and what came of them!!
As always, thanks so much for being a fan and a friend. I wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2012.
,,,’til next time.