...house concerts. We received an invitation last fall and finally attended our first one last week. I won't say where, but I will say I was a little nervous about going to a house I've never been to before. I worried for nothing, though, as the hosts were great and so was the crowd. I have nothing but good things to say.
The performers were Sheesham and Lotus, a duo based in Kingston, Ontario who play old-time, rag-time and high steppin' mountain music. Sure it was old-time, but it was all new to me. Here's an example of what they do.
Talk about a cultural experience. There was a good number of artists from the various disciplines in the audience and I'm sure, like me, they were absorbing more than the music itself. The costumes. The lighting. The pacing. The banter. The self-promotion. This duo was very good. I learned a lot.
As well, I had a productive exchange with another writer prior to the show and during the intermission, an exchange that might not have happened otherwise. We'll see what comes of it. As we were talking, I noticed a local musician talking with one of the duo. Everywhere I looked, people were talking. Geologists, lawyers, nurses, analytical techs, you name it, many of whom are also practising musicians, visual artists, performers and writers. It was a great mix. I left feeling energized. I'm still feeling it.
While energized, I'm also quite worried about the future of such programs, especially after reading about how the new Canada Periodical Fund could put Canada’s small-run literary magazines in jeopardy. More here. And here. Like house concerts, literary magazines have small audiences. But the benefit to society of such cultural endeavors, of the exchanges between artists and audience in a kitchen at a house concert or between a reader and a literary magazine in bed, is not limited to those rooms. It cannot be measured with formulas.
Time for tea. Before you go, have a look at Mike Deal's photo of a fabulous porcelain pun.