Gig Report / House Concert Fundraiser / Audience Perspective

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Fountain Pen

This article is an editorial and expresses the opinion and experience of the author. Please post comments in the discussion page.
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The Terry Fox Cancer Research Fundraiser – A Memorable Concert House Party

On the first snowfall of the season and the first day of December, we headed out in my Jeep 4 x 4 with a certain degree of trepidation to White Rock to attend my first house concert. My mom and her friend had been raving about these parties for about a year and when this one came up and they invited me, I couldn’t refuse. Not only are these highly talented musicians who play for party-goers enjoyment, but they gather for a purpose. These house concerts hosted by Paul are fundraisers for a worthy cause. This time the money went to the Terry Fox Foundation to raise money for cancer research. Last time I believe the proceeds went towards the training of a seeing-eye-dog for the blind. So as we drove in from Maple Ridge to White Rock, I heard all about several of the past parties and I expected to thoroughly enjoy myself.

We arrived at a beautiful house tucked away from the road and situated in the woods which were covered in freshly fallen snow. The winter scene was beautiful and the older style house was equally warm and full of charm. Paul and another handsome gentleman greeted us at the door and accepted our donations to a worthy cause, and we laid out our potluck dishes on the already covered kitchen counters. The food was amazing.

Just off from the kitchen was a large recreation room where carpets had been laid, and a hundred or so chairs placed in front of a temporary stage that was placed in the corner. The room was huge and adorned with large plate glass windows and a big cozy fireplace.

After eating for a bit and refilling our wine glasses we found a seat close to the front to enjoy the music. The headliner for the night was Valdy, but before he came up, we were entertained by a line-up of a few other players. Lawrence and ST came up and sang a few numbers, then Paul came up and sang a few songs. They spoke for a short while on how cancer had impacted their lives, and we were reminded of the reason for the concert and I was glad to be part of a fundraiser of this kind. Then a fellow named Tom came up and sang a few songs including quite a funny anti-Christmas number which was a laugh. Keith and Brian followed, this time standing up on the stage. The energy was great and the time flew by. I didn’t once think about the main act as I was quite enjoying the music. These guys all played so comfortably and the sound was so great that I was sure they had all played together many times before, so I was quite surprised to learn later that quite a few of them hadn’t played together before at all! Lawrence and ST played a few more songs, and then it was time for a quick break to refill the glasses and eat a little more before Valdy would come up.

Valdy was a name that rang a bell, but I couldn’t place his name to a tune before he began to play. And what a charismatic and energetic man he turned out to be! Tall, formidable and full of humorous stories with a Maritimes twist, he put on a completely entertaining show of folk songs, and upbeat fun songs with the occasional vignette of some interesting past experience thrown in to boot. I recognized a few tunes that I could hum to, but it didn’t matter whether I was familiar with his music or not. I don’t even know how long he played, but it must have been well over an hour before his break. The second set was shorter and then a couple of other musicians (Paul and ST) came up and played a few more songs with him as a finale.

At a house concert such as this, we have the opportunity to enjoy the music at a much more intimate level. When you meet a person face to face and socialize as peers, and then when you see that person walk up on the stage and open their mouths to produce song, and strum their fingers across the strings of their fondly held guitars to produce a melody, and this amazing music pours forth, they became larger than life, and you are a part of it all. You don’t encounter this same kind of intimacy at a concert held at a large venue. The atmosphere is somehow more intense, more personal and the music more intimate. It is mystically better for me.

I was sad to see the evening end, and when the music was over people began to leave almost immediately. I don’t know if that is the norm, but given the snow outside that hadn’t stopped falling, I think that everyone thought it was time to go if they weren’t going to be sleeping over! I was able to donate to a worthy cause, meet more than a few interesting people, and completely enjoy myself. I look forward to more of these parties!

Tara Masaki

See also: Gig Report / House Concert Fundraiser - ST's report from the same event