Road Stories - Glendora Harp Summit

Road Stories by Mark Sallings

Glendora Harp Summit
by Mark Sallings

The Glendora Harp Summit was a weekend of opportunities for everyone involved. First and most importantly for the children (many of whom are descendants of Sonny Boy). December 5 & 6 was a time when the outside world came in person to an impoverished community.

Representatives of the Blue World came from all corners of the nation (even from other corners of the world) for an intense two day blues teach-in. We came for different reasons; respect for Sonny Boy's memory, curiosity about the Delta, the chance to get to know and see each other perform, but we all left with a sense of hope for the future of blues as so many youngsters showed up at school on Saturday and Sunday to learn second hand a little bit about their own heritage.

I realized how much I take for granted in this outside world where I live. God has given me talent, health, drive and opportunity to pursue what I love. Simple things like time spent on a $3.00 harmonica made a difference that weekend for the teachers and students.

After teaching all day the teachers got to play at the jams provided by Sonny Boy Blues Hall and Huey's Mid-Town. I don't think the audience knew how much fun we were having. I don't know of any other event where you would find Sugar Blue, Paul Delay, Arthur Williams, Johnny Sansone, Sunpie Barnes, Charlie Sayles, Mississippi Morris and me all playing in a small club setting. It was a great! A blast!

Sunday night at the Historic Huey's Mid-Town (Memphis, TN) when all of the customers had been run out, we were all still trading phone numbers, road stories and gig information. When they locked the doors we were still talking outside in the rain. Charlie Sayles even helped us load our trailer.

The Summit was a great event and should be repeated. Finally, I have this lingering feeling that the teachers may have learned more than the students.

Until next time--Mark Sallings!

Want more info on the Glendora Harp Summit?
Read Bill Donoghue's Sonny Boy's Christmas Blues
Or read Maggie Mortenson's article Blues Harp Summit

Road Stories