by John Santa
I am VERY proud to announce the Chapel Hill 2014 Marathon Jam has raised $18,000 for the Ft Bragg Fisher House. One of the reasons our total is so high this year is because we have money coming to us from the Naples, Florida Marathon Jam (many thanks to Team Leaders Jim Bova and Kathy Bova) and the Monrovia, Liberia, Africa, Marathon Jam (Team Leader Vincent Yznaga.)
And of course, I simply must acknowledge the Herculean efforts of one Ms. Willow Dragon (Team Leaders Willow Dillon and Carrie Dillon) who at 13 years old, became so frustrated the adults in Boone, North Carolina could not organize a Marathon Jam she created and played the first ever Solo Marathon Jam in the history of the world. She played fiddle and banjo for over four hours, all by herself and raised over eight hundred dollars. (And yes, she -–like ALL of us-- is still accepting donations if you’d like to add to her total!! Personally, I think it would be pretty cool of we could get her to the magic One Thousand Dollars mark!!)
I of course, am humbled at the success of the Marathon Jam. No one knows what a huge PAIN it is to organize and run these things like the Team Leaders and support staff from the cities across the country, and I cannot BEGIN to thank them for their time, effort and dedication to this cause. I would like to thank Team Leaders Barbara Lee Carlson, Soren Olesen and Brian Sullivan who have been with me in this from the very beginning. You all were the very first cities to join us, and believe me I thank God for you every year because without YOU and your crazy friends, there wouldn't BE Marathon Jams all over! Also very special thanks to my manager Whit Kenney, The RDU Session Players, High Lonesome Strings bluegrass society (particularly Pammy Wallace Davis) Karen Pepin (Nadine), Julia Paschall, Steve Oglesbee, Quilts of Valor and of course, the fabled Baghdad Bad Boys.
But most of all I want to thank the Marathon Jammers, all those INCREDIBLE musicians who take pledges and then gather and play music for twelve hours to fulfill those pledges. It is the highlight of my musical life and my great privilege to sit in a circle with these motivated, honorable people. As a poor author/musician and founder of the Marathon Jam, I cannot even BEGIN to tell you what it feels like to know that on the last Saturday in February people in FOUR COUNTRIES and in cities all across America are gathering and using MUSIC and ART to help others in their time of need.
And here’s the coolest thing, the BEST part of my job:
Ladies and gentlemen (and Marathon Doggies): It is my great honor to announce that in six years of Marathon Jams, we have raised almost half a million dollars for Fisher Houses all over the USA.
Not bad for a buncha reprobate musicians and artists, huh?