Some Bayfield residents will embark on a different kind of home renovation for their living rooms and backyards this summer – one that turns houses into intimate music venues.
On Friday, local residents will host the second of three house concerts, which raise money for Pine River Arts, an arts and culture nonprofit. Organizers hope the fundraisers will raise $1,000 – one step closer to financial sustainability for the year-old organization – while using music to connect audience members across social divides.
“People tend to think they don’t have things in common with each other anymore, when I think we have a lot more in common than what people are imagining,” said Shelley Walchak, Pine River Arts founder. “In my world, music is the way for me to help people see that we have this commonality.”
The upcoming concert, hosted by Walchak, will feature Durango resident Tom Klema, known for finger and flat-picking on acoustic guitar to original songs. Klema played regionally in the 1990s and won third and fourth place in a Telluride finger-picking contest. The show will start at 6 p.m.
“The intimate setting allows for a greater depth of emotional conveyance, not only from the performer to the audience, but from the audience to the performer,” Klema said. He hopes the house concert will be a “re-coming out party” in the community.
Events can include hors d’oeuvres, alcohol and a donation of $20. Durango’s Sounds True Trio, which mixes jazz, soul and R&B, will wrap up the series Aug. 23, while the first home concert in June featured local contemporary jazz group, The REC Jazz Trio.
“It’s good for the musicians because people are coming there to actually listen,” said Clay Lowder with The REC Jazz Trio. “When we look and see people who are totally into what we’re doing, it inspires us, too.”
The idea of house concerts isn’t new. Chamber music originated as private shows in the homes of the royal and wealthy in the 1800s. In the 1920s, Harlem community members hosted jazz “rent parties” to help pay rent, and the punk scene has a tradition of pop-up, do-it-yourself shows. More recently, the Listening Room Network even created a national house concert network. While house concert hosts can sometimes run into zoning issues or unhappy neighbors, Walchak said the only limit is the size of the person’s house.
The arts are, and have always been, a core component of communities, Klema said. “They hopefully will provide some degree of inspiration. There’s a spiritual component. ... I think that’s the role of music and art.”