Heritage Farm setting up for weekend of harmonica classes
HUNTINGTON -- Next weekend at Heritage Farm Museum and Village there's going to be some mighty strange chirping in the hills.
Those aren't exotic birds that's a flock of harmonicas, as the Harmonica Club of Huntington hosts its third annual HarmoniCollege, a weekend of classes featuring players from around the nation.
HarmoniCollege III runs Friday and Saturday, April 25-26 with the evening jams (at 6 p.m. each night) open to the public.
Cost for the weekend is $50 which includes all classes, meals and jams.
Jim Rumbaugh, who heads up the Harmonica Club of Huntington, said it was a trip to Blues Week at the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis and Elkins College that spurred the idea to offer folks a slice of such instruction in a more compact and affordable weekend-long workshop.
"Augusta is a week in a wonderful working environment where you get to interact with multiple national-level instructors and players but that event is about $1,000 and you've got to take a whole week of vacation," Rumbaugh said. "I wanted to be able to offer a similar teaching and interactive environment here locally at a lower cost and in a shorter time frame."
The HarmoniCollege will start at 6 p.m. Friday, April 25 with a meet, greet, eat, and jam session.
The schedule for Saturday includes an 8 a.m. breakfast with classes beginning at 9 a.m. There are three morning classes to choose from, lunch, four afternoon classes, then dinner and an evening jam.
The cost is $50 for the cost of classes and food.
Coming to teach at the HarmoniCollege will be North Carolina's Todd Parrott, who has been playing for nearly 25 years, and who travels nationally giving workshops and playing.
Assisting will be T. J. Klay from Madison, Tenn. A Hohner Harmonica artist for the past 16 years, Klay was featured on the Hohner Harmonica artist calendar. He was an original member of the country rock band Western Flyer. His Western Flyer days included two CDs, four hit singles, three CMT videos, and 10 TV appearances.
There will also be classes taught by Rumbaugh as well.
At each time slot, everyone will have a choice of two subjects, one by Parrott and one by Rumbaugh.
People are allowed to sign up the day of the event, but pre-registration is encouraged.
Rumbaugh said they've already got 10 people renting rooms for the weekend and between 20 and 30 signed up for the sessions, although more are welcome.
Rumbaugh thanked Audy Perry of Heritage Farm for giving the club an introductory price that first year to try it out, and since then donations from the Columbus or Buckeye Harmonica Club, and admissions to HarmoniCollege have helped the club make it a self-sustaining program.
"Going back to that original inspiration of Augusta Blues Week one of my favorite settings was sitting on a large verandah at Halliehurst and playing," Rumbaugh said. "I wanted to capture that kind of rustic and relaxed atmosphere."
Rumbaugh said the public is invited to also come out for the free nightly jams and, of course, is always welcome at 7 p.m. every Tuesday at Gino's Pub, 25th Street and Fifth Avenue, for their weekly sessions.
The Huntington Harmonica Club will perform at upcoming public events such as Train Day, Saturday, May 3 at Heritage Station where the group will be playing from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on the gazebo.
"The club just continues to grow and to evolve with a higher quality of musicianship being achieved each year, but the club definitely is wanting new players too," Rumbaugh said. "I recently saw a picture from 2009 of about 20 of us at Pullman Square and three people there are no longer with us, so it is imperative that we continue to reach out and start the harmonica players for tomorrow."
The Herald-Dispatch welcomes your comments on this article, but please be civil. Avoid profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, accusations of criminal activity, name-calling or insults to the other posters. Herald-dispatch.com does not control or monitor comments as they are posted, but if you find a comment offensive or uncivil, hover your mouse over the comment and click the X that appears in the upper right of the comment. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal Facebook page, uncheck the box below the comment.