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John Reno House Concert


John Reno House Concert

Last night John Reno was in town for a house concert and we (Linda and Bry) dropped in to listen to some great stories and music. John is a great musician and I loved the informal setting which gave John a chance to share some of the background stories for his songs. The evening was put on by the Atlanta Trop Rock Alliance which has put on some great events (John Friday, Brent Burns, Hugo Duarte and Jeff Pike) and continues to schedule some of the country’s best Trop Rock musicians.

Parrot Island Band night out listening to John Reno

“Panman” Dart Fifer sat in for a few songs with John last night on the steel pan. Dart plays with a number of local steel pan bands and also with Jeff Pike (A1A) on some of his local gigs.  Dart and Linda spent a little time comparing steel pan techniques and although Dart did a fine job, Linda is still the prettiest steel pan player around (in my own humble opinion:).

Dart would fit in nicely on Parrot Island

I enjoyed John’s story related to his recent trip to New York. He and John Patti (a Trop Rock heart throb and excellent steel pan player) recently finished in the top 5 in a Folger’s Coffee jingle contest. While they didn’t win (as many of us hoped and believed they would), their success in this contest not only promoted Trop Rock music but also introduced their music to an even wider audience.

John has some wonderful stories about his dogs, his boats and his experiences as a professional musician. While we haven’t played with John, we did play in the same event a few years ago (Trop Rocks the Smokies). Hopefully we will have the opportunity to hear him again soon and maybe even play a few songs together.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend a house concert, you can always host one yourself. Invite a few friends over and a fun band (like the Parrot Island Band… just call 770-855-3404 and ask for Bry), and you can enjoy this wonderful setting for music in your own home. While we play many neighborhood events and parties, the house concert setting allows a musician to tell the stories (and you know I love telling stories) that inspired their songs. Although we enjoy being background at various events, there is something unique and enjoyable about house concerts. They can be held inside or out and can be put together with just a little effort and a few good friends.

One of the highlights of the evening actually took place on the way to the John Reno house concert. We stopped off at I-Hop for some pancakes and as we entered, we heard the song "I Got You Babe" playing. Last week at our marina gig, one of the ladies requested this Sonny and Cher classic 😉 and was a bit put off that we didn't have this song in our song list. Maybe this was a sign that we should add this song to our repetoire…nah:). Thanks again to John Reno for some wonderful music and until next time… beaches and blessings to you all.

What Is a House Concert?


What Is a House Concert?

WHAT IS A HOUSE CONCERT? It is a seated concert that provides an opportunity to hear live music in a friendly, intimate, home setting. It is a gathering of guests, family, friends (and their friends) in which to share a casual, fun experience; a place to meet the artists, become acquainted with their music and hear some of the stories behind the songs. A house concert isn't a party, although there is normally a potluck before or between sets. Simply put, it's playing for a small, intimate audience who are "Ticketed, Seated and Listening"!

WHY AT A HOUSE? Hosts open their home to friends and neighbors because they like to share great music with them. Hosting house concerts affords them the opportunity to introduce musicians/songwriters that their guests may be unfamiliar with or reacquaint them with those they've heard at other house concerts. Additionally, it gives the songwriters a lot of pleasure to share their music and hopefully further their names in the music world and keep them doing what they do and love.

It should be noted that many hosts choose their backyard as the venue, which can provide a wonderful ambience. However, there should always be a plan for weather contingency.

WHAT DO THE HOSTS GET OUT OF THIS? They receive no economic benefit from the house concerts. The benefit they do receive is the joy the music and gatherings bring to their home. 100% of the suggested donation goes to the performers.

DOES IT COST THE HOSTS ANYTHING? Typically, the cost to the hosts is minimal. They may want to rent chairs (although guests are usually encouraged to bring their folding/camping style chairs), provide ice, water and some food, paper and plastic goods; not to mention their time. But the benefits of having a group of people who appreciate the same music they do far outweighs the money and other costs.

WHAT DOES IT COST THE GUESTS? There is a recommended cash donation of $15-$20 per person, depending on the distance the songwriter must travel.

HOW MANY PEOPLE COME? As many as the home can comfortably accommodate without becoming a fire hazard. Depending upon where the songwriter is traveling from, 30-35 people is usually the minimum it takes for it to be financially feasible.

HOW DO HOSTS PROMOTE THE HOUSE CONCERT? Many hosts have found websites like evite.com to be extremely effective in sending invitations and tracking the number of expected guests.

WHAT ABOUT THE NEIGHBORS? Hosts usually invite their neighbors and encourage them to attend. As a courtesy to them, they plan their gatherings on weekends only, either Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons or evenings or Sunday afternoon. No performance runs later than 10:30 p.m.

HOW CAN YOU BECOME OR FIND A HOUSE CONCERT VENUE? First, find someone with a home that could accommodate 35+ people. Then contact the entertainer you are interested in hearing … oh, like maybe, the Parrot Island Band … and then determine a date for that performance. As you begin to promote the show to folks, ask them to be considerate and make a reservation only if they plan to attend.