Ever since visiting last year’s Arkfest I have been wanting to come back to one of The Ark’s monthly coffee houses. I was lucky enough to catch the last feature performers of the season, Nabi Loney and Ian Reid. If it seems that the spacious straw bale house surrounded by woods and farm fields is made for music, that’s because it was. When the Loney family built this home, music was a part of the vision; this monthly musical happening is a way to build community as well as support musicians in their efforts. The coffee house showcases one or two artists and includes an open mic for anyone else who feels moved to share their music. One more campfire gathering and and then the music starts again in the fall for a fourth season.
Using mandolin, fiddle, guitar, percussion and her captivating voice, Annabelle Chvostek delivered a fabulous evening of music and stories. Listeners braved snow and ice to be a part of this exquisite experience. As a treat, instead of just describing the music I have a video clip of one of the songs she performed. Enjoy!
This month’s house concert had a couple of new features: instead of showcasing one musician, four singer-songwriters (Jude Vadala, SaraMcfadzean, & Julie Corey) and one poet/storyteller (Donna McCaw) shared the stage. Engaging stories, vocal harmonies, audience participation and yummy snacks made for a warm and entertaining evening, once again affirming my belief in the small venue experience. Being both host and performer added a layer of adrenaline to this event – easier to prepare and promote than to perform!
Be sure to check out the House Concert Info tab (top of the page) for upcoming house concerts.
Our second house concert was resounding success. Award winning songwriter, Chris MacLean, delighted us with her stories, lyrics and music. The after-concert jam was positively celestial as several of Chris’s singer-friends joined voices to create divine harmonies – another perk of hosting a house concert. Wonderful music attracts wonderful musicians!
We just hosted our first house concert – and I am a convert to this way of experiencing music. Although a house concert is not a public music sharing event, allow me to promote this style of musical interaction. The intimate venue allows the audience to see a favourite musician up close, maybe chat with him or her at the break. There is no competition for sound from a noisy bar crowd – everyone is there to hear the music. Because of the low overhead (no need to rent a hall), the proceeds going to the artist are maximized. It seems to be growing as a way for smaller communities to host live music events or for musicians to fill in dates between larger gigs.
Our first concert featured Ian Reid, singer-songwriter from Rockwood. I was introduced to Ian’s music at the Elora Acoustic Café open mic – one of those “you never know who might show up at the open mic” moments. Ian’s captivating stage presence and sense of humour were perfectly suited to the house concert environment.
After the concert we finished off the evening with a small group of us jamming and singing together while Ian gave his attention to audience members.
I really hope this is only the first of many events we host – it was a perfect introduction to the world of house concerts.
If you have room to seat 25-30 people and would enjoy inviting your friends and neighbours to share an intimate concert, there are websites that walk you through many of the details: