Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg
One thing is for sure: SaddleBrookians like their music/entertainment! Whether attending the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra (SASO) or other concerts in the DesertView Theater for the Performing Arts, listening to groups perform at one of our wonderful clubs, going to plays or readings or attending any number of music venues in and around Tucson, people in SaddleBrooke enjoy and take advantage of opportunities to be entertained. But a new and unique idea in music entertainment has emerged over the last few years – the SaddleBrooke house concert.
Not many people are aware that house concerts are becoming quite en vogue here in SaddleBrooke. This idea has been emerging as a wonderful opportunity for people to host a concert right in their own home. Indeed, if you are thinking of throwing a party, for a special occasion or just for the sheer delight of having friends over for socializing, a house concert would be a stellar idea!
The house concert formula is simple: a willing couple picks a date and time, invites an entertainer (from, or outside of, SaddleBrooke), sends out an invitation to the invitees and provides seating for the guests. Generally, the guests bring an appetizer or a covered dish to share, along with their beverage of choice. The concerts are free. The host/hostess generally suggests that the attendees give a donation to support the entertainer.
Andrew Hines and his wife, Barbara, have been organizing house concerts and have had ten concerts in 16 months. A house concert is as grass roots and as intimate as it gets, affording the opportunity to see world class music in an informal setting, they explain. Andrew and Barbara host individuals who perform their own original music. The house concert is a special way to spend time with friends with potluck appetizers and delicious desserts. In addition, sometimes there are opportunities to jam with the performers afterwards – a rare experience to be sure.
Another couple, Bobbie and Buz Bailey, recently hosted a house concert featuring J.D. Loveland. Forty people were in attendance! In Buz and Bobbie’s words, “We have really enjoyed hosting our first house concert. It was truly magic to have an outstanding performer in the comfort of our living room, entertaining our friends and their guests.”
J.D. Loveland is new to SaddleBrooke and has been performing in local venues around town; he is gathering quite a following for his musical talent (guitar and singing) as well as his penchant for impersonating well known musicians. Think Elvis and Willie Nelson! In J.D.’s words the reason house concerts are important to him is that performing up close and personal is the ultimate experience for him as an entertainer. “I can literally feel the laughter and applause and see the sparkle in everyone’s eye.”
SaddleBrookians are fortunate that they have so many options for their entertainment pleasure. House concerts, however, bring music/entertainment to a new level in a way that touches our musical soul. This I have learned.