John Santa, whose book, Bluegrass Is My Second Language, has been popular with many of our readers, is involved in a special event later this month that has grown into something many Bluegrass Blog regulars may want to support.
For the past five years, Santa and a group he jams with, The RDU Session players, have held an annual 12-hour marathon jam in Chapel Hill, NC to raise funds for Fisher House. This worthy organization offers housing for families of wounded American servicemen and women who are receiving treatment at military hospitals, much like the Ronald McDonald House does for families of ill children.
This year’s event is scheduled for January 31, but it has spread beyond its origins in the Research Triangle on North Carolina. Santa tells us that affiliated jams have been organized in the following US cities:
- Chapel Hill, NC
- Birchdale, MN
- Tucson, AZ
- Richmond, VA
- Boston, MA
- Coon Rapids, MN
- Birmingham, AL
The jams are not strictly limited to bluegrass, but are only open to acoustic music. They will run from 1:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. on the 31st and while free and open to the public, as a benefit for Fisher House, donations are freely encouraged.
Some of these events will ask for sponsorship of individual pickers based on how many hours they play.
The organizers are especially proud of their first non-US jam this year. The US Army has agreed to allow a group of string-picking soldiers at Camp Victory in Baghdad to participate. They won’t be able to do the entire 12 hours because of the time difference and their military duties, but they will be jamming to raise funds for Fisher House in Fort Bragg, NC.
Santa extends an invitation to pickers anywhere who would like to join in this effort.
“We invite people all over the country to join us on January 31st and raise money for their state Fisher House – or they can send a donation to the national Fisher House organization or the Ft. Bragg Fisher House.
I have contacted and enlisted readers of my book from around the country to join in the Marathon Jam this year and many have responded. Five dollars from every one of my books sold on the 31st will also go to the Fisher House in Ft Bragg, NC. “
Any group or oganization that would like to be involved can contact John Santa for more information.