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John Santa Rounding up Marathon Jam 2014 Jammers for Charity

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Fisher HouseWell my friends and fellow musicians, it’s that time of year again! For the sixth year in a row, the Chapel Hill American Legion Post 6 and VFW will host their annual fundraising event, The Marathon Jamm for charity! Show your support for our troops and their brave families! You and your instrument can make the world a better place! Play Music - Raise Money. Join the jam. The Marathon Jam is a 12-hour annual jam started in Chapel Hill, N.C. to raise funds for the Ft. Bragg Fisher House Foundation and to honor our military. Primarily of bluegrass music, the "Mostly Bluegrass" Marathon Jam takes place on Saturday Feb 22th 2014, with jams from across the United States and in Baghdad Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly Germany. This is the 6th consecutive year for the Marathon Jam. The Fisher House ( is an organization that supplies room and board to the families of soldiers recovering in VA hospitals away from their homes

John Santa says, "Our total for five years is $50,000 and Marathon Jams nation wide have raised over $250,000 for Fisher Houses across the country! We want to thank the Legion for providing us a great place to meet and play completely free of charge! They are a great organization and are true in every sense of the word to their Mission and Mandate! We could not do it with out them…"

More than 20 years ago, a small group of musicians, led by John Santa, began to meet once a month at someone's house to play music. Most of these players were studio musicians that had worked together on various albums for other artists and decided it would be good to get together socially and not just for work. Thus was born the RDU Session Players.

Over time, the group expanded to include more than 150 people, now including non-professional musicians and even civilians (people who can't play or sing). Any given month would see 20 to 40 people at the monthly gathering, and spectators became more and more common. As the catalogue of songs grew so large, someone once commented that they believed we could play for 12 hours straight and not repeat a single song. From that simple thought, the first Marathon Jam was born in 2004.

That first Marathon Jam was held in one of Whit Kenney's vacant offices, and several people earned the distinction of becoming "Iron Pickers" for playing the entire 12-hour Jam, beginning at noon and playing past midnight. John and Whit were talking on the phone as John was driving home, and John said that it was a shame that, in spite of the pain which comes from 12 straight hours of pressing guitar strings, no one got paid. Then, the idea of turning this wonderful time into a fundraiser was born.

This year's event takes place Saturday, February 22nd from 1pm to 1am at the American Legion Post 6, 1714 Legion Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27515. Visit for more information and details on how you can contribute to this outstanding program.

The Culver's Jammers will once again be helping to raise money for the Fisher House. This is the sixth year this event has taken place and is happening Saturday February 22, 2014, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Tickets to the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association's festival will be awarded to the person(s) donating the most money or bringing in the most checks for the Fisher House. Checks are preferred, but cash will be accepted as well. If you're unable to attend but would still like to donate, you can mail a check made out to "Fisher House Minneapolis" c/o Barb Carlson, 8025 5th St. NE, Spring Lake Park, MN, 55432.

The Fisher House Foundation provides a "home away from home" for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury. For more information, visit

If you play a stringed instrument, be sure to bring it along and join the jam. Please come out and help support this great cause! We hope to see you there!

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