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Harmonica World Championship Barcelona 1960

A spectacular victory for the Spanish contestants that were able to conquer those but ambitious places in this great competition in several categories. We give to know the three first classified of each category:

Chromatic Soloists 

Champion, Ramón Bounces (Spain);

Second position, Ramón Closa (Spain)

Third classified, Franz Chmel, (Austria);


Harmonetta Soloists

Champion, Manuel Beneyto (Spain)

Second position, Douglas Tate (England);

Third Classified, Rolf Linke (Germany);


Groups Category

Champion, 'The Melomaniacs' (Spain);

Second position, 'Neixer' (Spain);

Third classified, 'Quartet Portuges' (Portugal);


Trios Category

Champion, Dixie (Germany);

Second position, Andrey (Spain);

Third classified, 'The Malandros' (Spain);


Diatonic Category

Champion, Douglas Tate (England);

Second position, Fernando Dos Santos (Portugal);

Third classified, Kaarlo Reinikainen (Finland);

World Championship of Harmonica 1960.  


We want to make a brief story of the development of the championship, so that our readers that have not had the luck to attend, can have an idea of this great harmonica event.

On Thursday, September 29th, at first hour of the morning, the secretary of the Spanish delegation of the F. I. A. moved to the Hotel Colon. From very early the foreign harmonica players arrived like contestants as well as the delegates of the F. I. A. of the participant countries and juries that should qualify the contestants. That seemed a small UN. It was heard speak to German, English, French, Portuguese, etc. In those moments but that has never liked to know the languages of all and each one of the contestants and participants of this conpetition. The only language that united all was the liking and the great love for the music that doesn't understand of opposite.

At nine in the night they met the delegates and jury, as preliminary of the Congress that should take place the following day. The meeting passed until later hours of the dawn. At nine in the morning of Friday 30th, it gave beginning the session of the congress in the living rooms of the Hotel Colon. In their opening, the gentleman Manuel Sancho Vecino, provincial boss of the O. S. Educacion and Descanso in our city, after some eloquent words, made delivery of a commemorative badge from the championship to the doctor Meyer, president of the F. I. H., and another to the doctor Karl Hohner that he had the gracefulness of honoring us with their presence in all the acts of the championship.

In this important act that chord the successive world championships take place every two years instead of every year, next summons a new Congress for March of 1961, where it will be given to know which nation  has been the elected the next world championship that will have effect in 1962.

At two in the afternoon it started the contest in the "Prescription", with the categories 'Diatónic', 'Trio' and 'Group'. The contest was I publish; the room was occupied by harmonica players that continued with the biggest interest and spirit I criticize the development of the Championship. Concluding the contest of these categories, there were the delegates meeting and jury again in the living rooms of the Hotel Colon.

At first hour of Saturday it began the contest of the categories 'Soloist' and 'Harmonetta'. Again the liking was in the room, slope of following the march of the contest and to judge, I lower its approach, to the contestants that went parading for the scenario. The jury installed in the scenario didn't lose note to qualify with the due justice and to give the prize to which demonstrates to be and the best and it deserved it.

When concluding the contest, the president of the F. I. A., the provincial boss of the O. S. Education, delegates of the participant countries, juries and contestants, moved to the City council, where it was offered them a reception for the boss of Ceremonial on behalf of the mayor of the city, in which I congratulate to the federation and it made votes so that the championship is crowned by the success.


In the hours that continued to the contest it was proceeded to the classification of all the categories. at six in the afternoon again were gathered in the living rooms of the Hotel Colon the president of the Federation International of Harmonica, the provincial boss of the O. S. Education, Manuel Sancho Vecino; delegates of the participant countries and contestants to give to know the result of the contest. Uncertainty, anxiety, all these feelings were reflected in the faces of the harmonica players that tried unsuccessfully to know the classification that had corresponded them. One to one the contestants were called, beginning for the finish classified to conclude for the champion. Every time that one was called, they were cut the breathing to those belonging to that category breathing a little again deep when checking that it was not them to those that it corresponded the finish position. The announce came closer to the presidency, they moved away among applauses from the present publi. When the prizes were given to the first ones classified to the champions, with exception that was made in a symbolic way, to be given definitively during elegance's festival that should take place in the National Palace. There was enthusiasm, happiness and also sadness and disillusion; all players could not be the first ones, it is a pain! They took so much enthusiasm inside if!, but all knew how to overcome and they congratulated from all heart to the winners.

Concluded this act, everybody dispersed and prepared to get ready to attend the festival at elegance night. 

At ten o'clock, dark completely, The National Palace wrapped him a halo of light, the fountain and cascades of Montjuich ran illuminated by multicolored lights, giving the atmosphere something of unreal, as if is before a charmed palace of fairies' story, it seemed that we will wake up of a fantastic dream. The championship could not have mark but wonderful.

In the presidential box the General Francisco Bergareche, in representation of the general Captain from Catalonia; the president of the F. I. H., doctor O. H. Meyer, and the delegate for Spain, Mister Dionisio Chiappo.

Some cloths of silk and gold, descended from the roof to open up in fan on the scenario, the effect was surprising. A net of micros and focuses were installed everywhere, those were TVE, National Radio of Spain, Radio Lisbon and until a North American, Mr. Williams Evans, installed taenia their intrigue to record the whole festival and to remit it to Radio Miami (Florida).

It was opened the first part of the festival the'Folkloric Group of Dances from Sabadell in tribute to the foreign nations that participated in the championship. 


They made a demonstration of typical dances "Sardana" with elegance; they liked very much. The World Champion of Harmonietta followed 1959, Ángel María García that played with this difficult instrument 'Asturias' by Albeniz, with the accompany to the piano Ms. Mary Carmen Aznar. Ángel's interpretation with  María García was excellent and Ms. Aznar was very guessed right in the piano accompaniment.


Concluded first part with the performance of the Camera Orchestra of Accordions from Barcelona, the performance was a victory but that one writes down the orchestra in its expensive of successes. All the interpreted works were very applauded giving place to it criticizes it but flattering. After a brief interval it  began the second part. The authorities that presided over the festival, descended to the scenario to make the definitive delivery from the trophies to the champions of each category. It was granted by the delegate of the F. I. A., Dionisio Chiappo, to be Spain the nation that obtained bigger punctuation in the general classification. Turns the authorities to the presidential, continuous box the festival with the performances of the champions of the categories 'Soloist', 'Trio' and 'Group' that were welcomed with great enthusiasm.

The quintet group 'Niehues' (Germany), with electronic instruments that caused enormous sensation for the sonority and achieved effects. It was followed by the trio 'Herold' (Germany), already known by many Spanish harmonica players that had the luck to see them and listened them in the last national contest. Dynamism, action and great virtuosity is the characteristic of this harmonica trio. The accordion player Christian Maccio, it was worth artistic, leaving all with flavor to little, but the time ran and the festival must continue. Followed act it was presented Albert Raisner (Paris) that made a boast of their art and excellent humor, delighting all.

As fine festival show it had effect the performance of the 'Die Engel Family', from Vienna; it doesn´t exist words to define the whole charm, fineness, grace and art of this charming Tyrolese family. In their numbers there were a continuous change of instruments (up to about eighty), typical dances from Tyrol, the voices that more than human, they seemed angelical, maked us to transport to an atmosphere of peace and enchantment.

In summary, a festival very difficult of equaling, and everybody could say that impossible to overcome, given the category of all the participants.

On Sunday, October 2nd, at eleven in the morning. it had effect the second festival in the magnificent mark of the National Palacio of Montjuich. This festival was of popular character, in order to that nobody was private of to attend and to admire this great program. The program was repeated through the night (without the allotment of prizes), and the success was as big as the previous one. The two festivals were presented by the well-known radio speaker and friend Juan Vineyards Bonn that gave with their characteristic sympathy but it enhances to the same ones.

At four in the afternoon of Sunday there was a bullfight in homage to the contestants and participants of the championship. 

The acts of this great championship concluded with a great elegance dinner offered by the F. I. A. to the authorities From Barcelona, delegates of the participant countries in the championship, jury and collaborators in the organization of the Harmonic World Championship 1960.

The president of the F. I. A., doctor O. H. Meyer, to the desserts one lifts offering a toast to Spain, whose answered the authorities from Barcelona thanking the toast to the doctor Meyer and congratulating all for the organization and success of the championship, and wanting that all returned to their respective countries being taken a pleasing memory of our homeland and that if some day they took place another World Championship in Spain again they would be welcomed with the same enthusiasm.

Used with the consent and permission of the author Joaquin Fuster



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