I’m going to the 2007 convention for the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH) in Milwuakee tomorrow.  

SPAH is an unusual event.  It’s insipring and nerdy, brilliant and silly.  Let me give you an analogy.  Suppose that you’re a guitar player.  Now imagine that there’s a convention every year where a hundred or so of the best guitar players in the world, guys like Clapton, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Julian Bream, James Blood Ulmer, EVERYBODY in EVERY genre who matters–gather to just hang out for 5 days and play and talk guitar, and anyone else on the scene–ordinary guitar players like you included–can hang out and play with them and talk to them too.

Substitute “harmonica” for “guitar” and that’s SPAH.  It’s inspiring and brilliant because the best harp players in the world are right there, and any newbie can get right up close to them and talk harp–a 5-day masterclass with the best in the world, up close and personal.  Wow. 

It’s nerdy and silly because a lot of silly harmonica nerds show up too.  You get guys in their sixties and seventies whose idea of harmonica is all about comedy and vaudeville, who think it’s great to play harmonica through the nose while they balance a stack of dishes in the other hand.  Just for example.

That’s SPAH.  I’m going for the brilliant and inspiring part.  But the nerdy, silly part will be there too.