|A very short history of the
Red, White, and the Blues Harmonica Project
Early in 2003, I began sending harmonica instruction and harmonicas to people from Central Vermont who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan (starting with the son of a friend)*.
The first version of this project was composed simply of one of our "regular" Mojo harmonicas, plus a double-sided sheet of instructions with a few blues riffs and songs that I thought would be appealing to our Vermont servicemen and women overseas. The project expanded rapidly. Friends of the original harmonica recipient wanted one, then friends of friends, and soon I was sending out packages by the dozen. Many recipients wanted additional harmonica instruction, so I sent them existing versions of my instruction kits such as "Instant Blues Harmonica" or "Three Minutes to Blues, Rock, and Folk Harmonica."
With the production of the current RWB book, CD, and harmonica package, I hope to accomplish three goals.
The first is to provide a comprehensive and useful product for members of our overseas forces, which includes the songs and styles most requested. We will make some RWB packages available free to those serving abroad (as we have already been doing with non-RWB products), and make others available, in bulk at very low cost, for groups to send overseas. In this way, I hope to be able to reach many more folk who need the joy, focus, and relaxation that the humble harmonica provides.
The second is to have a commercially viable product, which can be sold in a variety of retail venues. This will help raise money, some of which will serve to partially fund the project described just above. Doing the Red, White, and Blues Harmonica package for commercial sales also allows me to do larger print runs of the package, which reduces the unit cost, making it easier for me to give some away (which I do mostly for those serving from my home state of Vermont, and sell others in bulk at low cost to be sent overseas to non-Vermont servicemen and servicewomen.
The third is as a tribute to my great friend, the late PFC Tim Janes (this photo courtesy of our good buddy Sgt. "Ace" Edwards).
As this project evolves, I hope to find more ways of getting this book, CD, and harmonica package to those that most need them. Please also see the web page on How To Get RWB Packages.
*As anyone from Vermont who is reading this will already know, Vermont has a very high proportion of its citizens, both in the National Guard and the regular armed forces, serving in Iraq. Vermont has also had one of the highest per capita number of deaths from the Iraq war, and the tragedy that has visited so many of our lovely state's familes grieves me deeply every day.