Concerts in Your Home, Venue and Community!
Whether you want a singer-songwriter style folk concert, an interactive family-style show, or a unique spiritually uplifting meditative Shabbat experience, a house concert might just be what you're looking for. It's a win-win musical treat for all. Scroll down to find out how...
Rahel has performed in a number of venues since 1976, too many to list. Here is the "short list" of some of the choice venues she has performed at either solo or with different bands:
Libraries (Pratt Library Systems in Maryland; In NH: Wadleigh Memorial, Bedford Public, Leach Library...)
National Havurah Committee Summer & Winter Retreats
New England Folk Festival (NEFFA)
Wilton Film Festival
Winter Holiday Stroll
Lowell Culture Fest
Local Farmer's Markets
Town Festivals & Main St. Music Series (ie. Pumpkin Festivals in Milford & Keene, Nashua Main St., West Boylston Town Concerts, Rochester Main Street, Jaffrey Summer concert, Milford on the Oval etc.)
sTart on the Street (Worcester, MA)
Coffeehouses & Cafes
Synaguges and Churches
Radio & TV (including: WSMN , M-CAM TV, Winchester -MA TV, Malden-MA TV, WERS ...)
Roxy Theater, Atlanta, GA
Fundraisers for Many Causes
Jacob's Ladder Folk Festival
Kol Israel Radio & TV
Gerar Behar Theater
Israel Folk Clubs (Tel Aviv, Tzora, Karmiel, Jerusalem and more...)
NCSY Israel Center
According to Russ & Julie's website, the tradition of house concerts "can be traced as far back as the Middle Ages when wandering minstrels would go from manor house to castle to farmstead trading stories and songs for an evening's room and board. Certainly in the 1800s, "parlor parties" were a very popular form of entertainment in the United States. The more modern 'House Concert' probably evolved in the mid 1900s."
"What's a House Concert?" you might be asking? Here's a good website, and here's another website, to learn the basics. Here's another good resource. Here's a wonderful FAQ guide.
Below is a general summary from this website:
What is a house concert?
The definition's flexible, but generally, it's a show that's presented in someone's home, or a nearby private space (barn, backyard, shearing tent, you name it).
* Usually, but not always, the audience capacity is smaller than at a coffeehouse or club.
* The money collected usually (but not always) goes straight to the performers, with no "profit motive" on the presenter's part.
* Often, but not always, house concerts are conducted "by invitation" rather than as "public" concerts like a club or concert hall.
* Often - again with exceptions - there is little or no "sound system" - performers play and sing acoustically, unless someone needs a little amp for their keyboard.
* Refreshments, if any, are usually either a "pot luck" brought by the listeners, or provided by the hosts using a bit of the gate receipts.
* Sometimes - but definitely not always - the performers get a meal and/or lodging with the presenters as part of their compensation
Here's some good advice from Gaia Consorts' website:
A house concert is a concert in a living room. They're happening more frequently as artists find that 25 to 40 people can fit into a living room quite comfortably. There is much less overhead, no smoke, low or no amounts of alcohol to compete with, little advertising necessary and cover charges can be whatever the artist and presenter want.
It's best to start planning at least two months in advance, once you've started speaking with artists, though some folks do it in a month. Some people treat their concerts as an ongoing series and will book the artists a year in advance.
Keep in mind that touring artists live by their performances. Take your commitment seriously - a low turnout is like showing up for work and having your boss inform you that today you're working for less than minimum wage. Not fun for anyone. That said, it's usually a good time for all concerned. Like many good things, sometimes a little work is involved.
Our experience shows that Saturday nights are best, but other nights can work out well if things like rush hour, and early next work days are taken into account when it comes to deciding start times. The most important factor is that the show is advertised as a "sit down concert" - audience expectation will be the difference between having a party with some poor fool making barely audible noise in the corner and having a concert that changes peoples lives.
Handling money - getting the folks to give
The method that seems to work best for us (and it's not the only way by any means) since we usually don't charge a "cover" is to suggest a donation between $6 and $15 dollars in the mailing , (more if you can, less if you can't) and pass the hat just before the fourth song before intermission or the end of the show if there is only one long set.
It's vital to do this during the first set - you want to make sure that everyone who comes has the opportunity and encouragement to give what they can.
It's important that the MC (that usually means YOU the presenter) get up, SEEDED hat in hand (we have a "lucky hat" just for this purpose) and announce that the artist(s) who has given us so much this evening lives by his/her (their) art, and that if we want to see more of these events we need to give in return financially.
I usually remind people of the last time they saw a show with some "name" artist, they probably paid 20 to $25 dollars, and that our artist is as good or better, and you saw them so up close you can shake their hand.
Keep it short, try not to get in the way of the artist, but get the cash flowing.
We also provide a place for the artist to sell their CDs and tapes and to provide a mailing list. Since Suddenly Naked keeps it's own list, we try to centralize the list for the evening's show and mail a copy to the artist after it's entered. Do the follow-up ASAP.
After the concert, enjoy good food and conversation! Encourage folks to by CDs and get on the mailing list.
Russ & Julie suggest the following:
"We have a "voluntary suggested donation" of $15-$20 per person at most of our House Concerts. The reason we call it a "voluntary suggested donation" is that we are not a business. This is our home. We can't really call if an "admission fee". Turning this into a business would create all sorts of extra work and expense on our part. We are simply having a party!!"
"However, our "voluntary suggested donation" is still as close to being mandatory as we can make it. Without the money, we could not get the caliber of musicians who have graced our living room. We have a donation bowl to collect the money (cash only), on behalf of the performer, at the door. We work on the honor system and need everyone's participation to keep our series going. We find that nearly everyone puts in the suggested amount and some people even put in a little extra. Remember 100% of the donations go directly to the performers."