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    Harmonikids Sessions for School Children with Special Challenges

    22 June, 2017

    On April 27 and 28 I provided two Hohner-sponsored Harmonikids sessions to school children with special needs in Delaware.

    The first was for a group of high school students with severe developmental challenges at Delcastle Technical High School in Wilmington. All of the students became thoroughly engaged when they heard me play and then each remarkably found a path to make music in a joyous session. Among them, a teen with cerebral palsy and severe cognitive difficulties literally rose up from his daily challenges to participate. As Harmonikids programs have proven for decades, learning to play music on a harmonica can lead youth across daunting boundaries.

    The second session was for 140 second graders with economic challenges at South Dover Elementary School. Each was thrilled to be fully entertained and then participate in a cheerful session in which each received Hohner harmonicas and learned four songs. As their music teacher explained to me afterward, many of these children would have otherwise never received a musical instrument in their lives, let alone learn to play one. The wonderful educational and life benefits the youth received are best described in the notes of thanks and photos received from the teachers.

    Gary Allegretto

    Founding Director of Harmonikids, www.harmonikids.org


    I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the awesome Harmonikids session you provided for my students here at Delcastle Technical High School. Your program was interesting, engaging, and educational. A great teacher from my own school days once told me, "if you get the kids excited about something they will learn it all by themselves". You, my friend, got them excited and I am happy to report that they returned to school in the following days with stories of practicing and working on songs from your songbook.

    Please pass our thanks and appreciation on to the Hohner Company. This is a very worthwhile program. I personally wish there were more programs like this that could help bring music into our schools. I hope that we can get you back again next year.



    Thomas A. Gears,

    Instructor, Life Skills Math & Social Studies, Delcastle Technical High School

    We had a wonderful experience with Gary Allegretto on April 28th, 2016.  All of my 140, 2nd grade students had an experience of a lifetime learning how to play the harmonica.  They were captivated by Gary’s enthusiasm for his craft and learned not only about the harmonica but the history behind it.

    As the day went on, I heard harmonicas played throughout the hallways.  I have never seen them so happy and excited to have an instrument of their very own.  Many of these children will never have an experience like this.  We are grateful to Gary Allegretto for taking his time and bringing his talents to South Dover Elementary School.

    Thank you!

    Heather Akers

    Music Specialist, South Dover Elementary School