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Setting up your space for a house concert

To create the “listening environment” which is signature of our best shows, we find it important that all seating is directed toward the “stage.” First step is to gather your chairs (maybe even pillows, back jacks, or benches), and arrange seating towards the stage area of your room. If you need more seating, contact a rental service or ask guests to bring some folding or lawn chairs. If you expect guests to dine directly before or after the show, arrange your tables and chairs pointing towards the “stage.” This will create a center point and minimize distractions for everyone.

It is helpful to have an area near the entrance for donations, and enlisting a “door person” is often easier and more effective than remembering to remind everyone at some point during the concert. Another spot, away from the “stage” and centrally located where people will be mingling is ideal for our mailing list, CDs, etc. A small table or chair on stage for our water and other items we’ll need while performing is helpful. We generally play standing, though we may occasionally choose to sit if the room feels more conducive to us being low and close. If we do sit, two armless chairs, or low stools are preferred.

Acoustics are always better indoors, but for house concerts and private events such as weddings, we will consider the idea of an outdoor show depending on the weather. Cool temperatures can dramatically decrease the quality of our performance due to stiff, frozen fingers, and cold, unresponsive instruments. Precipitation is also a big concern for our instruments. Wind effects the sound in our mics and can make it hard for Laurel to literally keep her bow on the strings. We much prefer connecting with an audience in a comfortable, cozy room than fighting the elements, so if we do plan an outdoor event, it’s best to arrange a plan B in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.

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