1I love playing music and telling stories to audiences large and small… in concert halls, Churches, music clubs, prisons, theaters, store fronts or at corporate and charity events, festivals, country fairs and neighborhood street parties, birthday or wedding celebrations and even funerals. You name a type of venue… and I have probably played it.
And, while it is a thrill to perform in a stadium and have thousands of people sing along to my songs… it is often, within the intimate setting of a home or garden that I find the most freedom to create an inclusive atmosphere of peace and healing… through songs, music, art and story telling.
For one, there is no ceiling placed upon proceedings… no pressure on the performer to ‘do what we always do’ as so often governs the expectations within Church or other organization walls. A house concert is a shared ‘now’ moment, a kind of ‘once only’ event in an environment that already lends itself to ‘relaxing or unwinding’… and where hospitality, rather than tradition or corporate values.. reigns supreme.
The theme of our house concerts this year is ‘Music for the Soul’… and I like to think of them as a little musical detox events.
Beginning May 2016, I will be performing all over the world in houses… just like yours. Interested?
Music For The Soul
“Do you know that your soul is composed of Harmony?” Leonardo da Vinci
When I listen to my own soul… I slow down… I stop worrying… and begin to rest… and then… in this quietness, my ‘soul’ tanks begin to fill with a peace like no other.
And, though I cannot fully explain how this came to be… I somehow learned to carry this peace, this healing of the soul … and let it flow through my music… to help feed and heal the souls of others.
In a way, this is my role in the community. My position as a songwriter and performing artist may seem insignificant to some… for I am not the banker, the pilot, the electrician or the butcher, the baker or candlestick maker. I am, like a voice crying in the wilderness, simply, a carrier of peace… a peace that often times reveals a path towards a deeper connection with God.
If you are interested in hosting an event like this… all you need to do is gather a few friends and neighbors together and invite us over… and we’ll turn your home into a cozy little music hall… or… a wellness center… at least for one night.
What is a House Concert with Chris Falson?
Plain and simple… it is an evening of music, songs and stories… performed in a house, usually in the living room but it could be in the garden, on the patio… best that its in the place where your friends and family like ‘to hang’.
Or it could be at your place of work, your favorite coffee shop or art gallery.
Audiences usually range from around 10 to 60 people, though I have performed for an audience of one in a lovely cozy sun room and to several hundred in a large garden setting.
The evening works best when accompanied by food and libations (sometimes provided by the host however pot luck can help create a more interactive gathering). Unless otherwise stated the concert is by invitation only e.g. friends and neighbors of the host.
Some house party hosts open their doors to all and sundry and this can be a great experience too… but this has its own risks and rewards.
FYI: My friend James opened up his very large warehouse apartment (4,000 square feet) and for several years we ran a kind of House Concert every Thursday night. At first we didn’t know but more than a handful of the people attending but we soon built up a community of over 300 regular concert goers, making a whole lot of new friends in the process.
My House is not that big… so how do you think we could do this?
Sometimes the small and intimate evenings are the best… and… you may also be surprised at how many people can fit into that living room, or basement or on that patio of yours…. Or… maybe you are the ‘gatherer’… and you host the event at your friend’s house.
You might need to re-arrange some furniture, move the coffee table to the spare bedroom and push the couches to the sides of the room. Then grab every chair in the house (dining, kitchen, ottomans, office chairs, etc) and start making rows. Your neighbors can be a great resource for chairs too (especially bar stools — which make a great back row) You were going to invite the neighbors anyway… right?
Sitting on the floor works for some so having a few large pillows handy is a good idea… and sometimes ‘standing room only’ can add to the atmosphere.
Just make sure there is a 4′ by 6′ area for one performer… and a bit more room for a duo and so on.
What kind of music will you perform?
This all depends on you…
If it is your desire to include your friends and neighbors… and you don’t want to scare them away with anything ‘too spiritual’, I will happily put together a menu of songs and stories that lend themselves to an interactive and fun ‘night out’. Or, if you like, we can allow the evening to flow, through songs and stories toward a time of worship and healing. It doesn’t have to be one or the other… It can be a mixture of both. And we can work on this together… to create an event that works best for you and your friends.
I wear a few hats in the music genre department and can mix it up, depending on the audience and or the desires of the host. I share songs and stories about my own life journey… with a varied song mix of singer-songwriter, blues, gospel, worship and Americana material.
I have written a bunch of songs that have been featured in TV shows… most of these are about real life, heartache, love and ‘we can make it if we try’ kind of songs. Its often these songs that connect best with a new audience. I will also gladly play a few covers as well as any old favorites from my albums (though you may have to prompt me with the lyrics.)
If you want me at my best however, then you’ll allow me to weave a tapestry of music, songs and stories that lead you and your friends into a kind of rest… a relaxed and peaceful state of mind… a quietness that our soul so longs for.
I am working on an album of ‘new and old’ songs that work well in the house concert setting. Here’s a song that I often do toward the end of an evening…
Here’s an example of a song and a story combined… and is somewhat typical of my house concert performance style…
Do you perform on your own or with others?
It all depends on the size of the space, how many people are attending … and the anticipated ‘door take’. I often perform on my own, and, as a singer songwriter I enjoy being able to mashup my stories and songs together at my own pace and these evenings are a little more intimate than when I ‘have to share the stage with others’.
Whenever possible I like to bring other performers with me and with each added singer or musician the repertoire will get a little funkier and more bluesy… and definitely louder. Last year, several ‘big’ house concerts allowed for the 6 piece band to perform… and often, when touring, I will hook up with local musicians and singers and this can be a lot of fun too. Sometimes I invite visual artists to paint or sketch while I sing and play music and this often helps those in the audience that are ‘more conceptual’ to enter into the moment.
What is the cost of a house concert?
Planted by The Water is a non-profit 501c3 organization based in Los Angeles and we are able to operate purely on the generous support of friends like you.
For solo concerts in LA we ask for a minimum donation of $350 (Mon-Thurs) and $500 (Fr-Sun) and more for each additional musician/singer. Usually the host (you) manages the costs of the event and either a) collects money from attendees (prior to the event or as they arrive on the night) or b) you pass the offering hat or basket around at the end of the concert. All checks made out to Planted by the Water are tax deductible for US residents.
I generally find house concert guests to be very appreciative, generous and supportive of the performers… not just with the donations but also during the concert and, with the purchasing of CD’s and other merchandise.
For events outside LA there will be some travel and sound system costs and so I try to book multiple events in the same area… then all the costs are either shared between the hosts or amortized over a longer tour.
How would I plan a house concert?
It’s really just like throwing a little dinner party for a few friends… with live music!
Once we agree on a date I can supply you with a simple web-brochure explaining who I am and what to expect on the evening, including a few other video links of my songs, stories or live performances. You can email this to your friends or use this to set up Facebook event page. If you want to keep the evening a simple fair, ask your friends to each bring a plate of food and whatever they want to drink.
Or… you host an ‘after dinner’ event and people arrive @ 7.30 and share a light snack… the concert starts @ 8pm and you kick everyone out at 10pm. Its your event!
What should I expect on the night?
I am very mindful that I will be performing at YOUR HOUSE, not mine. So it will be important that you ask any questions and or share any concerns you might have, well before the event.
I (we) will arrive a few hours before kick off to help prepare the room with you. Hopefully, when your friends enter the house, with the seating and stage areas already set up, they can relax, savor your famous pizza or a slice of brie on a cracker and enjoy a glass of their favorite libation while chatting with friends, old and new.
It is also important for me (and or my band) to mingle and get to know your friends a little. This helps me make a connection before I start to play my songs… to feel the heart beat of the people in the room.
When the moment is right, you’ll dim the lights… maybe light a few candles and have everyone take their seats. You’ll ask them (nicely) to turn off their cell phones and to stop chatting, just like in a ‘real theater’… and then we will begin the concert.
Time-wise… I have played as little as 2 X 40 minute sets and as long one 4 hour set. It all depends on the moment and or the relationship I am able to form with the audience. Sometimes the events are very interactive… with people singing along. Other times… a quietness settles in the room… and nobody wants to go home.
Do we really need a sound system?
For a living room concert of 15 people or so, often a purely acoustic concert, just guitar and vocals works wonderfully. For a larger audience (or a noisy one) then yes we will need a sound system. If it’s a local event I will bring the sound system and for out of town house concerts a small system will need to be rented but I can help manage that.
Usually, for an audience of up to 40 people, an additional expense of (no more than) $125 would suffice to rent a small powered speaker system. For larger events we might want to engage the services of a professional live production person; who brings his/her system and then becomes part of the story telling team for the evening. Prices usually start at around $175 on upwards.
Or… maybe you already have a ‘friend’ that can take care of all of this for you.
And… we love people to take photos and or videos and post them up on Social media.
OK… I’m in… how do I book a house concert?
Lets start with you sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and then we can chat about the particulars.
I am really looking forward to this next season and hope I get the opportunity to share my songs and stories with you and your friends sometime soon,