Held in a different city every year, the SPAH Convention is a five day event that features seminars, jams, and world-class performances by and for players of all types of harmonica and all genres of music! You can view the registration sheet here and either download it, or preferably register online.
The 2017 convention will be held August 15-19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Hyatt Regency hotel. Hotel information is here. Performers this year will include; Johnny Long, Carolyn Dolan, Hendrick Meurkens, Koei Tanaka, the Ralph Viola & friends harmonica trio with Tony Sgro and Paul Davies, Tom Stryker and top performers playing arrangements of “Big Band” favorites (featuring: Chris Bauer, Winslow Yerxa, Steve Watne, Mike Runyan, George Miklas, Judy Simpson Smith and Al Smith). We'll have more information on performers as we get closer to the convention.
Here is an outline of what a day at the SPAH Convention is like:
To begin with, at pretty much all times, spontaneous hallway playing sessions, covering a variety of musical styles, are going on wherever a convenient spot is available.
Starting as early as 8:30 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m., seminars on various topics—from harmonica history to music theory to harmonica maintenance—are presented addressing the needs of all levels of playing ability and the various types of harmonicas. The topics and presenters change every year, so you never know what you might be able to learn!
There is also a vendor area with booths manned by the world's major harmonica manufacturers together with smaller makers of specialty items such as harmonica cases, microphones, custom-made parts, and more. CDs by the convention’s featured artists and others are also available, and usually at least one repair booth is open to fix harmonicas.
Each afternoon the ballroom is given over to a teach-in, with about two dozen harmonica experts each anchoring a table, teaching small group classes on a topic of their choosing. You can walk around and sit in with whoever sounds interesting to you.
The open mic, typically open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., offers a performing opportunity to anyone who wants to get up on stage and strut their stuff.
There are daily concerts and shows, particularly on Thursday and Friday afternoons, showcasing certain harmonica styles or lesser known and up-and-coming harmonica talent.
On Friday morning there's a teach-in specifically for children, who end by parading through the lobby playing a song they've learned.
Some organized day trips to see local sights are offered during the week for spouses who may not be as deeply fascinated by the harmonica as their partners.
Saturday morning also features a ladies' breakfast open to all women, and a President's breakfast for harmonica club leaders and manufacturer's representatives.
Starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday concerts are given in the ballroom. After-hours blues, bluegrass, country and jazz jams take place when the concert is over.
Saturday evening is the gala banquet with awards, speeches, raffles, and a concert. Typically jams last through the night after the concert has ended.
Keep an eye on this page for more details, or join our newsletter for (infrequent!) updates to your inbox.