I heard about an amazing man, known as The Harmonica or Music Man, beloved by many. His name is Andy Mackie. His story is such a celebration of life it needs to be shared over and over again through the years.
I never met Andy, as he passed away within a month of our moving to the Quimper Peninsula, at the age of 72. He survived multiple heart attacks and surgeries long past the life expectancy doctors predicted. He credits his length of days to spending them giving of himself and what he enjoys doing most to others. Andy Mackie eventually passed away from a final heart attack and stroke on November 5, 2011. But not without leaving a remarkable legacy that was not only one of music, but one of kindness and generosity. Mackie chose to take the $600 he received each month for medications and invest it in bringing music to young children, providing them with lessons, giving out 20,000 harmonicas and 5,000 hand-crafted strumsticks to play. In 2005, Mackie set a Guinness World Record leading 1,706 harmonica players simultaneously playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” at the Seattle Folklife Festival. Andy Mackie continues to teach basic harmonica and how to build a strumstick posthumously via videos posted on the Andy Mackie Music Foundation website.