Music, Family, and Grieving

heart

One of our hosts suffered a tragic loss this week – the loss of a child. Attending the funeral reminded me of some important things. First, that we (CIYH & LRN) are a community. Though we may not all share the same time and space, we are connected by our love of music.

I was reminded with hugs, with the selection of music, and with passionate words that music can be the thread that holds when it feels like our lives are unraveling. Carrie, the host, was unable to enjoy music for several days after the loss of her son. Then Woody Russell called, and reminded her that music is people, that music is love, and music is healing. They met because of house concerts. Then Carrie deliberately chose a song from Leslie Ellis to play during the service, because of the message, the memories, and the feelings from the house concert in June.

The funeral service was attended by a full room of friends and family. Many of these friendships were initiated or strengthened by the sharing of music in Carrie’s home. It was something to see and feel.

Music cannot replace what we lose. Music though, can hold us firmly in it’s rhythm, it can carry us with it’s sweet melodies, and it can anchor the words we hold most precious. Music will not be lost.

Thank you Carrie for letting me share this story, and for being part of our community.

Opening Acts – Up or Out?

“Up or Out” is a phrase that Bob Hillman uses in this story, to describe the potential philosophy of paying openers poorly. “Move up or move out” means that you aren’t supposed to make a living wage as an opener… get better, get lucky, or get out of the business. It’s both brutal and practical.

And then there are the romantic stories (thanks Shawn Mullins) of acts like the Indigo Girls who pay openers a living wage, share their massive audience with them, and treat them like family. Maybe that’s all part of moving up… to better opening slots.

It is possible make a music living without drawing a size-able audience in multiple markets. House concerts certainly enable that, and many more acts achieve it by becoming more entertainer (playing whatever, however) than artist.

We all create our own story, but I found Bob’s enlightening. I recommend reading the rest of it here.

 

 

$5 Discount if you check your phone at the door.

male-2013929_640

My girlfriend runs a community acupuncture clinic. One of her biggest challenges is not putting pins into people’s bodies. It’s getting them to put away their phones during the treatment.

I have a similar challenge with phones. Is it possible to go to a concert without having the view eclipsed by phones… all night long? First, a few insults;

You:

  • are a terrible photographer
  • are even worse at video (horizontal, please)
  • are not missed because you are unavailable for 90 minutes
  • are never going to have your existential loneliness satisfied by a post, tweet, like, or share. If your life sucks, then the least you can do is enjoy the music.

Put the phone away. I’ll give you five bucks if I have to.

</rant>

Under Threat – Funding for the Arts

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-7-37-36-pmTwo pillars of our thoughtful and cultural society are at risk of being privatized or eliminated by the Trump administration.

  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Hope is not the answer anymore.

Please consider calling your Senator and Representative and ask them to protect federal funding for the arts! Also check out the Indivisible guide, written by former Congressional staffers, which outlines some great practical steps and pointers for directly engaging your representatives effectively!

https://www.indivisibleguide.com/download-the-guide

The Most Common Problems with Live Videos (for Booking House Concerts)

ConcertsInYourHome has a robust audition system that requires two live videos from artist applicants. Judges include industry professionals, but the majority are active house concert presenters. These hosts offer specific feedback to the artists regarding the materials presented.

We’ve seen thousands of video evaluations. Here are the most common problems they report to the artists about the videos. Here are the big three that have nothing to do with the songs selected.

  1. Not a listening audience. If you can’t command the respect of the audience in the video, why would we expect anything different when we see you?
  2. Different lineup than advertised. If you are booking yourself for house concerts as a solo act, we might enjoy seeing you with a violin player if we’re digging 5 and 6 videos deep into what you do. But the first two videos MUST be a good representation of what you are bringing to our house. Don’t make people imagine what you’d be like without the full drum kit and backline.
  3. Lip-sync, strum sync – keep it real, even if that means the audio won’t be pristine.

In addition, here are the most common problems with regarding the songs or performances.

  1. Long intro. Usually, the priority is the voice, and artists who strum their 4 chord intro* several times before getting to the vocal will lose the booker’s interest. Remember that people are busy, and your video could be in a long line of potential acts for that concert series. If you tell a story, tell it really well, make a point and be expressive.
  2. Not feeling any emotion – eye contact is often a factor here. You might be staring at lyrics/computer or just trying too hard and getting in your own way.
  3. Pitchy vocals or instruments. We don’t seek perfection in live video, but there are a lot of performances where pitch problems are relentless.
  4. Cover songs – the existing communities of house concert hosts tend to prefer original music, unless they book traditional, celtic, classical, and blues genres. Even though a couple of covers in a show is a welcome treat, it’s usually a mistake to introduce yourself with a video cover tune. Even if you love to play Cohen/Buckley’s “Hallelujah,” it doesn’t mean you play it in a remarkable way.

* Songwriting Tip: The intro to your song shouldn’t be a twenty second warm-up. It should get the same songwriting attention and care as the rest of the song. If the chords are no different than the verse, there better be something magical going on over it. If the intro is there simply out of songwriting habit, if it serves no purpose, get rid of it.

When you submit songs or videos to a judging process, keep in mind that the judges will be listening to many artists in a row. Find a way to get to the essence of your content and sound quickly.

Press Release: Listening Room Festival 2017 (#LRFest17)

For Immediate ReleaseScreen Shot 2017-03-07 at 9.48.18 AM
Florida “House Concert” Festival Connects Fans from All Over the World

The 6th Annual Listening Room Festival invites house concert presenters, artists and fans to join in this year’s festivities. Music-lovers from around the globe are traveling to St. Petersburg, FL to enjoy the house concerts, showcase, and planned group activities from April 19-23, 2017.

Six international contest winners will play the Main Showcase (April 21) at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg, as well as house concerts in the surrounding region. This year’s artists are The Currys, Teneia, Mark Croft, Flagship Romance, Daniel Champagne, and Christie Lenée.

House concerts are the core of the festival. Music fans volunteer to host living room concerts, and invite friends to attend an up-close-and-personal show by a professional touring artist. Attendees are asked to make a suggested donation of $10-20 per person to the performers.

The main showcase at the Palladium Theater features all six acts and is not to be missed.  In addition, this year’s festival includes group activities and workshops to educate and inspire fans to join the growing house concert movement.

2017 Festival Schedule

Schedule is subject to change. Please register for the festival to receive updates.

Wednesday April 19

  • Evening – House Concerts (Tampa, Tarpon Springs, Largo, Clearwater, Safety Harbor)

Thursday April 20

  • 10:30AM – Office Concert with Mark Croft at the Greenhouse (440 2nd Avenue North, St. Petersburg.)  One-hour concert.
  • Evening – House Concerts (St. Petersburg, Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater)

Friday April 21

  • 7:30pm Main Showcase at Palladium Theater, featuring all 6 acts! (tickets)
  • 10:30pm After-Party at SouZou – festival performers cut loose and jam. Enjoy themed cocktails named after our festival artists. This will sell out – VIP ticket holders get free entry, all others must purchase.

Saturday April 22

  • 10am-1pm  House Concert Workshop and Host Meet and Greet at Staybridge Suites Free to attend if you RSVP here. $5 at the door.
  • Evening – House Concerts (St. Petersburg, Seminole, Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater)

Sunday April 23

  • 10:30am – Brunch for hosts, featured artists, and invited guests.
  • 1pm and 4pm House Concerts
  • Evening – House Concerts (St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Ft. Myers, Sarasota)

The festival is presented by ConcertsInYourHome.com, part of The Listening Room Network.

More information and tickets are available through ListeningRoomFestival.com.

About the Listening Room Network:

Listening Room Network (LRN) creates and nurtures opportunities that pay artists to perform in a listening environment while bringing communities together with a renewed passion for live music. LRN and its signature websites (ConcertsInYourHome.com, OfficeConcerts.com) are leading innovators in the live music industry.

Contact/Press Photos: 

Fran Snyder 727-280-6208fran@ListeningRoomNetwork.com

Website: www.ListeningRoomFestival.com

Free house concert guide: Download (PDF)

HighRes Press photos: Office Concerts, House Concerts, Fran Snyder, and Festival Finale.

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 3.42.54 PM

TenTen Concerts Launch

Notes about TenTen Concerts and our Launch in October.
this will be updated as we go…

TenTen Concerts are intended for weeknights because they are small and easy.

TenTenLaunchShirt

Hosts guarantee a minimum of $100 in donations to the artist (10 X $10) plus whatever they sell in merch. If you only have 8 attendees, you make up the $20 difference… but that won't happen because of your waiting list! 8^)

Winning your prize(s)
1. You must list a show with a current CIYH artist. The show must take place during the month of October.
2. You must take at least a few pictures and send them to Fran by November 25, 2014. (updated)
3. The first twenty hosts to list their events will be on the limited edition T-Shirt. List it just like any other show at CIYH, EXCEPT you'll need to choose TenTen as the format type.
4. Send a confirmation email to Jeff once you've listed the show.

Grand Prize:
Want to come to Florida in April for the Listening Room Festival? It's one of the coolest things we do and we love seeing hosts from around the world attend the events.

We'll have a place for you to upload your pictures, and by November 30th we'll choose one winner for the best TenTen picture. That winner will get up to $300 toward a round trip ticket to Tampa/St. Petersburg for the festival. Second and third place pictures will win $50 each.
(If Grand Prize Winner cannot attend the festival, he/she may trade prize with second place winner.)

 

 

DinnerAndSong – Having it Your Way

 

DinnerAndSong – Having it Your Way

by Jeff Robertson

It hasn’t taken long, but there’s already more than one type of DinnerAndSong event. And these variations are exciting.  They offer options.  So let’s drill down on this.
 
At the core of a mini-concert are two elements that you can’t do without:

  • the music
  • the meet-and-greet afterwards

 
The music is usually an unplugged 35-minute concert, an extraordinary personal experience for the guests and artist alike.
 
The meet-and-greet is 15 minutes of connecting and selling signed CDs.  Warm, efficient, opening doors for follow-up interaction.
 
So there’s your core.  50 minutes.
 
What happens before the music is what creates those cool options, and it’s what governs the feel and the length of your mini-concert.  Here are a couple of options:

  1. dinner & song – our flagship event.  Add 40 minutes before the music for a casual meal for 6-10 guests and the artist.  Sweet.  Guests get to know the artist in a unique way.  $10 donation.  Total time = 90 minutes.
  2. dessert & song – shorter, and much sweeter. Sugar everywhere. Add just 25 minutes to the front end for grazing from the dessert table.  6-20 guests.  Afternoon or after dinner.  $10 donation.  Total time = 75 minutes.

 
Ah, are the lightbulbs going off in your head now?  Uh huh.
 
So, how would you rank these options as far as their appeal for your situation? Have another variation in mind?  Leave a comment!
 
Next blog:  Minimize your concert prep.  Stay tuned!

 

 

House Concerts are for Lovers… courtesy of Russ and Julie

Dear Russ & Julie,

I am looking forward to seeing you at the House Concert this Saturday.  Can you please do me a small favor and make sure Jane Doe isn't on your RSVP list. She and I ended our relationship in the not too distant past and I don't wish to run into her.  Thank you for helping to preserve my sanity!

Bob

– – – – –

Dear Bob,

Actually we DO have Jane Doe down for 2 people on the RSVP list.

You RSVP'd first, but she RSVP'd some time ago.

Russ & Julie

– – – – –

Dear Russ & Julie

I don't want to put you guys in the midst of any drama, but can you tell me when she RSVP'd?

Also, go ahead and cancel my RSVP so someone else can see the show.

Funny thing is I'm now dating someone you know who I met at a Russ & Julie's House Concert!!  (We're calling it the Musical eHarmony!)

Thank you,

Bob

– – – – –

Dear Bob,

The answer to your question is that she RSVP'd on Christmas Day.

Sorry that you have to cancel.  We will open up your 2 spots to people on our Waiting List.

So glad we were able to help you find someone here at Musical eHarmony…. we aim to please! 😉

We hope to see you again soon.

All the best,

Russ & Julie

Upper Midwest Selected as Touring Region for Video Contest Winner

Toronto's Suzie Vinnick, the 2010 CIYH video contest's top vote getter, received a 10-gig tour during May 2011 as the grand prize.  CIYH is excited to announce that the US upper midwest was just selected as the tour region.

Suzievinnick_1 Suzie will start out in northwest Ohio and loop counterclockwise including stops in Chicago, Omaha, Kansas, Oklahoma, St. Louis and back through cities in the Great Lakes region before returning home to the province of Ontario.  A very busy 13-day swing!
 
About half of the tour stops are confirmed, which still leaves many opportunities available to be among the dozen hosts who will participate in this special opportunity to host a top-tier artist.
 
Maybe one of these is perfect for you or a friend you know who lives there.  See if you can help us complete this great tour. ("area" means within 90 minutes, green dates are still available.)
 

  •    Friday, May 20 – Montpelier OH, host confirmed
  •    Saturday, May 21 – Chicago IL area
  •    Sunday, May 22 – Chicago IL area
  •    Monday, May 23 – Iowa City IA, confirmed
  •    Tuesday, May 24 – Des Moines IA area
  •    Wednesday, May 25 – Des Moines IA or Omaha NE areas
  •    Thursday, May 26 – Omaha NE or Kansas City MO areas
  •    Friday, May 27 – Kansas City MO area, confirmed
  •    Saturday, May 28 – Tulsa OK, confirmed
  •    Sunday, May 29 – Kansas OK, confirmed
  •    Monday, May 30 – St. Louis, confirmed
  •    Tuesday, May 31 – Indianapolis IN or Chicago IL areas
  •    Wednesday, June 1 – Cleveland/Akron OH or Detroit MI areas

 
We'll welcome host requests to sponsor full house concerts on any of the above days.  DinnerAndSong (DNS) events are also fine for weekdays.
 
Interested?  Contact Jeff at jeff @ ListeningRoomNetwork.com by Sunday, January 9, for details.