What Our Friends Say  

"You hear a lot of wonderful stories in the Blues community but one person who continually delivers is Gary Allegretto."
Blues Foundation, Member Spotlight, August 2010

"I am heartily supportive of Harmonikids. Over the years with our House of Blues Foundation Education Programs we have seen the power of music in transforming young lives. Gary Allegretto and his work is most worthy of support."
Dan Aykroyd

"I had never heard of Harmonikids or Gary Allegreto until we had Gary come to our camp held at Brookfield Farms. The camp has been going on for the last 8 to 9 summers where burn survivor children come to play, ride horses, fish, and swim with other scarred children without feeling self conscious about their scars. These children range in age from 5 to 15. Usually after lunch, we have some kind of quiet activity. The day that Gary came to the farm, was an awakening for the boys, girls, adults, and staff to watch the children sitting on the grass in a circle, listening to Gary and learning to play the harmonicas. Not only were the children entranced, so were the adults. It was a beautiful coming together of kids that thought they could never do this, but they all went home with their harmonicas on the bus back to the city tooting their little songs and following their numbers. As heartwarming as it was for the kids it was, also, equally beneficial for their self esteem."
A. Richard Grossman, M.D.
Medical Director of the Grossman Burn Center

Our acute kids usually share a common diagnosis of severe depression and are usually here because they have tried to commit suicide. You were able to engage these very sad kids and give them a bright spot / happy spot in their treatment. Most all of the kids were smiling and engaged for the entire hour - and these are usually kids that simply don't smile. Your music and harmonica instruction gave that to them. On Saturday, I noticed one of the patients that was carrying his harmonica around the campus with him. He was talking about using the harmonica to calm himself down. It became a coping skill for him. We would very much like to have a return visit at some time in the future. Thanks.
Garry Wolfe, Director of Recreation Therapy
Children's Psychiatric Hospital, Albuquerque, NM

"On behalf of the Los Angeles Police Department's Jeopardy (gang prevention)
Program, I would like to thank you for sharing your talents with the youth
in our program. They really enjoyed the time you spent with them teaching
them to play the harmonica. The benefits that come to our youth from
learning new skills are beyond measure. Music skills, in particular have
always proven invaluable to thos e fortunate enough to develop them."
Officer Gonzalo Lara
Los Angeles Police Department, Mission Area

"On behalf of the staff and students here at the Academy, I just wanted to
say thank you so much for coming yesterday to work with our students. They
were very excited about what they learned and we look forward to working
with you again in the future. Thanks again!"
Jackie Peters
Operations Manager
Stax Music Academy

"...There is always a crowd in the atrium with everybody playing their harmonicas and making beautiful music...The ultimate goal is to help diminish some of the stress the guest families experience...The effect is magical and immediate with music."
Mike Elias
Manager, The Ronald McDonald House
Los Angeles, CA

"Thank you so much for providing a harmonica 'jam session' for our families. It truly gave them an hour of fun and great break from worrying about medical problems. The children talked about it for days! Thank you for sharing your musical talent and your ability to relate to people."
Kim Briggs
Manager, The Ronald McDonald House
Wilmington, DE

"Gary was wonderful with our children. He was patient, funny and a great entertainer. The children were delighted with their new harmonicas, fascinated by the music, and thrilled to be able to play along as he taught them the songs. This was a great cultural and learning experience for everyone that attended and the harmonicas are still being played today."
Judy Mitchell
Director, West Side Group
Los Angeles, CA

"Our kids were thrilled when they received a brand new Hohner harmonica they could keep and practice on. Gary gave an animated and child-friendly demonstration that prepared the kids and made them eager to test their ability. After a few tentative attempts and gentle encouragement from Gary, the kids let loose with a rousing rendition of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'! The jam session was a wildly successful interactive afternoon of fun. THe activity posed the necessary challenge so that upon its completion each child felt a sense of accomplishment......It provided a wonderful learning experience that hopefully may springboard some of our children towards developing their newly discovered musical talent. It's people like you that make a difference in the lives or our kids. Thank you."
Jeff Nichols
Manager, The Ronald McDonald House
New York, NY

"Your generosity of spirit, talent and time was a tremendous gift to us. You really knew how to talk to the kids and convey not only the knowledge you have about music, but also the passion for it. Harmonikids is a perfect example of sharing of one's talents and resources which we are trying to encourage in our community...there is at least one future harmonica player in the group! "
Susan Whittaker
Coordinator, The Learning Crew
North Hollywood, CA

"The generosity and kindness shown by Harmonikids was overwhelming. The families and kids enjoyed a great afternoon of fun and entertainment. The house was filled wit such laughter and music. The harmonicas given to the kids were an awesome treat they will always enjoy and will continuously talk about for a very long time. Their faces lit up when they first tried and actually could play the songs...now they walk around the house and proudly proclaim their new talent. I'm certain that the experience they had will be a wonderful memory that will last a lifetime. Your Harmonikids visit was greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten, especially by the children. People like you in this world make possible for the families and children to take themselves away from the normal stress of doctors visits and hurtful news they consistently have to face on an everyday basis. You make places like Ronald McDonald Charities feel like home. Once again Mahalo, Aloha, and God Bless You."
Nikee Wainit
Manager, The Ronald McDonald House
Honolulu, HI

"You have a wonderful gift for teaching and interacting with children, making each and every one of them feel very special. You made it simple, fun and were full of praise for them. We were all amazed at how quickly the children picked up the songs. It was lovely watching them all so intent on learning to play the songs, and your warm encouragement helped them all feel they would be successful. Several of the children who took part in your class were playing their harmonica around the corridors for days after the session, telling everyone they could now play the harmonica! The children were so proud of themselves. Thanks also for being so generous with the harmonicas. Thanks again for your kindness, patience and enthusiasm shown to our kids. I'm sure it's something they will never forget. We hope if you are ever in Australia again, you will treat our patients to another session."
Debra Fowler
The Children's Hospital
Westmead, Australia

"The children both in the he House and on the ward enjoyed it so very much...I believe your contribution to their health has been enormous. 'Tom', the young 15-year-old, continued to play the harmonica through complications after his bone marrow transplant. The harmonica gave him such a sense of achievement and so much self-confidence. You remember his mother crying with joy as she listened to his playing; well, she has stopped crying now and is looking forward to the day when he joins in at the country and western music festival at Tamworth next year..."
Penny Douglas
Manager, The Ronald McDonald House
Randwick, Australia

"We really appreciate what you're doing for these kids. Most people walk away and you're going forward."
Chris Steinhiser
Parent of a child with cerebral palsy
La Poter, Indiana