HOUSE CONCERTS
Great for Performers & Audiences

House concerts are an increasingly popular venue for
performers like myself. Hearkening back to the salon era,
when music was presented in people's parlors, they are
intimate and satisfying encouters between performer
and audience, and a great alternative to the usual
way people go out to hear music.

And they are relatively easy to produce and host.

So I decided to add this page to my website to let you
know that I enjoy doing them and to encourage you to
perhaps consider organizing one with moi.

So, what's involved?

Below is a succint guide that should answer most
questions.

Orrin

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-If you build it he will strum.

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Hosting A House Concert

There are three key elements to hosting a house concert:

1. Being interested in doing it.

2. Having a usable space.

3. Promoting it.

Below are some of the details involved.
But know that this will be a team effort; I will work with
you on the promotion and setting up the room.

The Space
You'd be amazed how many people can fit in even a modest-sized
living room by just moving a few items around.
I like a room (or rooms, if
there are adjoining ones with some usuable sight-lines to the performing
area) that can accomodate at least 25-30 people.

(And if your home isn't quite adequate you might consider askng
a friend if you might hold it in theirs.)


Seating
If the size of the crowd will exceed the number of naturally occuring
chairs/seats in the home there are a number of options, ranging from asking
those who make later reservations to bring some chairs to borrowing
some from neighbors or renting some.

I always arrive early to help set things up. So, unless you've got a dedicated
concert space, it's probably a good idea to wait for my input before designating
a 'stage'and arranging the chairs. (Leave the feng shui to the pro.)

Sound and Lighting
If I am driving to the show, I will be carrying the micro-PA and simple
clip-on light that I typically use.

Both of these elements are important. And that's part of the pre-show
setup that I will take care of.

Promotion & Reservations
The audience will be drawn primarily from your network of friends
& acquaintances. (I can augment that with my email list etc. if needed.)

I will provide you with blurbs and photos some ready-to-go email material.

Beyond the obvious use of Facebook and other social networks (Evites are nice) there are things like neighborhood association newsletters and the good
old face-to-face dropping off of flyers to one's neighbors and co-workers.

Also, three emails about the event are probably optimum: an initial 'hold the date' email a few weeks prior; one a couple weeks after that; and a final week-of-the-show reminder.

Reservations can be handled largely via email. But it's important to remind
those who have made them that they are expected; they too should get a week-of-the-show reminder. (And remember: if 35 people say they're coming, then you can reasonably expect that only 30 will actually show.)

Re my promotional efforts
Typically I list only the city and the host's contact info in my online
promotions—so that people need to contact you
directly in order to attend.

From my Schedule page:

Saturday June 11, Takoma Park, MD
House Concert, 8:00pm
For location/reservations contact
Stephanie at kaufmansi (at) gmail.com
or 301-588-8594.

(If you have enough friends & aquaintances that you can fill the room on your own—or if you want to provide a flat fee and not charge anyone—those are both options.)

Money
The going rate is $15 to $20/person.  Typically all proceeds go to the performer.

(As far as collecting the money goes , systems vary. But most performers prefer more active than passive approaches; 'checking people in' when they arrive is more musician-friendly than having a bowl off in the corner that gets mentioned while people are already seated.)

Food
Most sponsors provide light refreshments. It's cool to ask guests to provide
a snack and BYOB; whatever you're comfortable with. And one popular fomat
(that eliminates any refreshment pressure) is to have a potluck dinner before the show. (Eg 'Optional potluck at 7pm, concert starts at 8pm.)

Help
These are fun and intimate events. But they do require some energy.
It is probably a good idea to have at least two people involved in the hosting
to help keep things manageable.

Let's do it!

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Great new resource: Concerts in Your Home is an online company
devoted to nurturing house concerts.
Their Free Resources for House
Concert Hosts
provides some excellent advice and ideas on successful
promotion.