House concerts: Alternate performance venues

Judy Smith: Arts Around Castlegar

  • Thu Jun 4th, 2015 9:00am
  • Life

On Friday, Ted and Linda Crosfield will host a house concert by singer-songwriter Kevin Mitchell from Denman Island. Prairie born and raised, Mitchell has been living and playing on the west coast for 25 years.

Playing guitar, mandolin and harmonica, he swings from blues to country, and from folk to reggae with ease. He will be accompanied by Nelson’s virtuoso bass player, Jesse Lee, who just happens to be Ted and Linda’s son. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at 932 Columbia Rd. in Ootischenia. For more information, call 250-365-7434.

This is neither the first, nor will it be the last, house concert in the area.

Saturday sees the return of the Music in the Courtyard series at Ravencourt B&B in Passmore.

Beginning at 7 p.m. you’ll be entertained by Second Wind, a Celtic group from Montana consisting of Jason Foy on flute and whistles and Barbara Calm on hammered dulcimer. It’s recommended that you come early and enjoy the ambience of Ravencourt before the music begins.

Ravencourt B&B is located at 4615 Upper Passmore Rd. Turn off Highway 6 at Passmore, cross the bridge and follow the signs. Admission is by donation with all proceeds going to the performers. Refreshments will be available.  For more information phone 250-226-7801or go to ravencourtbandb.com.

House concerts can be held for different reasons and have various formats.

Two years ago Karl and Jessa Koerber and Anne Harvey hosted a house concert in their home in Krestova, playing to a crowd of about 30 people, some of whom still remark on their enjoyment of the music and venue. Karl Kroeber’s CDs were sold as a fundraiser for the Slocan Valley Grassroots Grammas.

Tim O’Doherty has been hosting house concerts in the Castlegar area but has no formal bookings until the fall. You can check out his Facebook page to see concerts he has hosted under “Castlegar House Concerts.”

A few years ago, Wendy Hurst in Thrums held a house concert featuring Spanish guitar player Scott Arnold, to the delight of a small, invited audience. He was guaranteed an agreed-upon fee, and the invitees chipped in enough to cover his fee and wine and cheese at the intermission.

At a house concert in Robson about 15 years ago, Gwen Lush and her string quartet entertained many people in her beautiful garden. At a particular point when the musicians were engrossed in a lilting Mozart tune, a flock of swallows began swooping and diving, dancing among the flowers and trees.

A house concert, however, does not necessarily involve a musical revue. To date, the Crosfields have hosted three poetry readings in their home.

In the early ‘80s when I was living in a bright, large house in the Dunbar area of Vancouver, a friend and I hosted a photographic exhibit for a mutual friend. Every photograph sold for a good price, affording him the opportunity to continue his craft. I still cherish the photograph he gave to me in appreciation for hosting the event. (Memo to artists: Your work will sell more, and for more, when you have an exhibit in a private home.)

Other benefits of a house concert include snacking on delicious appetizers while enjoying a glass of wine and having pleasant interchanges with friends and like-minded people.

The relaxed atmosphere provides intimacy between performers and the audience and allows for more spontaneity.

Both the artists and audience can appreciate the beauty of the hosts’ home, whether inside a living room or outside among the stars, weather permitting, Hosts have the opportunity to showcase their home, share their appreciation for someone’s work, and sometimes receive a payment.

House concerts are a win-win situation. If you’re interested in hosting an event, Bob Bossin has created a humorous web site for “How to put on the Perfect House Concert by Martha Stewart and Me,” at www3.telus.net/oldfolk/housecon.htm.