From its inception, MARATHON JAM was created to serve.
It began as a gathering place for studio session players who wanted to use their music as a way to do some good in the community. That initial impulse to be of help to others grew until, in 2003, we began to work for the families of injured Soldiers, Veterans and First Responders.
Marathon Jam is now a 501c3 charity with a Board Of Directors, corporate sponsors and wonderful volunteers.
Our biggest fund raising event is held annually on the last Saturday of February when we play music for twelve hours straight (thus the MARATHON in Marathon Jam) and the money we raise goes to the Fisher Houses of Ft. Bragg and Camp Lejeune.
At the end of that event, we bestow the coveted black T-shirt and title of “Iron Picker” on the musicians who play and sing the entire Jam. The logo/motto “curatus per musica”, healing through music, is on the front of the shirt over the heart and shows the care and the spirit of what they do.
Those extremely talented and giving players and the music they make are the backbone of Marathon Jam.
The terms of becoming an Iron Picker are very well defined:
- You can’t just hang around and talk; you have to actually sing or play.
- We allow a fifteen-minute break every two hours, but that is not CUMULATIVE, i.e., you can’t play for six hours straight and then take a forty-five-minute break. If you chose to play through your break time, you have to wait two hours for your NEXT break to be called an Iron Picker.
It is not unusual to have ten or fifteen people start the day expecting to become Iron Pickers.
It is also not unusual to END the day with only three or four who make the grade.
Tips for Aspiring Iron Pickers:
- Run your chording hand under cold water during your break.
- Take some aspirin to reduce swelling around hour six to eight. Repeat every four hours for the rest of the night and take some more before you go to sleep.
- Bring some Bengay or Aspircreme (non-sceneted, please) to put on your hands/forearms.
- If you play multiple instruments, SWITCH out regularly. That will help reduce any carpel tunnel-type strain.
- Put down your axe and sing a few songs and rest your hands periodically.
And yes, if you’re a singer, if you stay in the circle and sing the whole twelve hours, you too can win the coveted title of IRON PICKER!!