House Concert For The Soul
“Do you know that your soul is composed of Harmony?” Leonardo da Vinci
If you are interested in hosting a House Concert… all you need to do is gather a few friends and neighbors together and invite a us over… and we’ll turn your home into a cozy little music venue, at least for one night.
What does a House Concert look like?
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, wine bar, local museum or art gallery.
Audiences usually range from around 15 to 60 people, though we 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… BUT… 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?
Our musical repertoire is pretty diverse with songs sitting comfortably in the genres of jazz, pop, singer-songwriter, folk, Americana, gospel, blues, rock and soul. We also like to jam and or create an inclusive atmosphere with our music. Our aim, to draw people into the moment, whether it be ‘joyous and foot tapping’ or ‘lean back, close your eyes and escape into your own quiet place.’
We also like to weave stories in and out of our music. Here’s an example of a song and a story combined. This is somewhat typical of a solo house concert performance… with a glimpse (at the end of the video) of what the same song would be like with a band.
Will there be one performer or a whole band?
It all depends on the size of the space, how many people are attending… and the anticipated ‘door take’. If you want something small and intimate, a solo performer might just be what you need.
Singer songwriters like Chris Falson are just as happy to perform on their own or with a large ensemble. 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, Chris will hook up with local musicians and singers and include them in the band. Sometimes he’ll invite visual artists to paint or sketch while he sings and plays 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?
It depends on the size of the event and or how many performers you’d like in the band, but we work on the principle of audience members paying a suggested donation fee on the night, usually starting @ $15. You can adjust this price according to how many people are going to attend and or how many performers there will be in the band. A small intimate affair might only require one or two performers while a fun celebration of funk, blues and soul might need a larger ensemble.
FYI, no matter who is paying for an event, we like to pay each performer an amount of money that befits their talent and skill starting at no less than $250 per person.
We 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 may be some travel and sound system costs. If we are able to book multiple events then these costs will be shared or amortized between each of the hosted events.
The cost of any event also depends on the community needs or resources. Sometimes a sponsor will cover all the costs and, in the case of prisons, homeless shelters, children’s hospitals, retirement homes (and the like)… we may underwrite some or all the costs. All of this is dependent upon our resources and, as a Non Profit, it is through the generous donations of our members, friends and family that keep us operating.
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 have confirmed the date, time and size of the event we’ll start designing the music side of things. We’ll help you write an invitation that you can email to your friends, one that describes our kind of house concert or party, what they should bring along (food or drink, a coat for an evening garden party) what the ‘ticket costs’ will be, how they can register or purchase a ticket and so on.
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.
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 we usually look after the sound system and for out of town house concerts a small system will need to be rented… or borrowed.
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 by the way... we love people to take photos and videos and post them up on Social media. It helps spread the love.
OK… I’m in… how do I book a house concert?