The main professional organization in the U.S. for harmonica players is called SPAH (Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica), which was founded in 1962.
This past weekend at their annual convention in St Louis, Missouri, Buddy was completely surprised to receive the society's most prestigious award, the Harmonica Player of the Year. "It was great to be honored by my peers in the harmonica world," says Buddy. "It was very unexpected. I was in a room full of great harmonica players, just looking forward to the show and not even thinking about awards!"
Buddy has been a member of SPAH for 15 years and has also performed at the annual convention for a number of years. He has enjoyed hearing (and playing) music of all styles there, including classical, jazz, blues, Cajun, country, gospel and more. Buddy was especially touched by a musical moment at this year's convention from harmonica legend Stan Harper: "The last night I was there, the highlight of the performances was Stan Harper. He is in his 90s, and he performed Mozart and Debussy on the harmonica. It was unbelievable … made you weep."
Click here to see Stan Harper performing a Vivaldi selection the year he turned 90 (2011), and click here to enjoy Buddy's Carnegie Hall performance with the Gaither Homecoming tour!