Music at home: When art gets social

Published: The Global Canadian (pdf)
July 12, 2018
435 words

Jack Li, clarinet and Scott Meek, piano (Music Friends past event)
Jack Li, clarinet and Scott Meek, piano (Music Friends past event)

When Tamara Leger launched Lions Bay House Concerts in 2015 she wanted to create an event that would allow neighbour to meet neighbour in the town of 500. Since then she’s found that her mix of folk, jazz, and art events has become an artistic success as well. Her concerts include a potluck dinner in a different home each time, and are as much social as musical.

In coming weeks she’ll be presenting award-winning Fingerstyle guitarist Jordan Brodie, regarded as “one of the best young guitar players in Australia”, at a private home in Dundarave on Saturday July 14th, and Montreal-based musician Cécile Doo-Kingué at a home in Lions Bay on Saturday July 28th.

Because of the lack of small music venues in the Lower Mainland, and especially on the North Shore, more than a few people have opened up their living rooms to host small, intimate concerts for thirty or forty audience members. House concerts are informal affairs, often followed by wine and cheese and a chance to mingle with the performers. When you purchase your tickets – usually priced between $25 and $50 – you’ll be given the address and directions to the home hosting the concert.

Wayne Weng
Wayne Weng

The intimacy appeals to New York-based pianist Wayne Weng, who will be appearing in North Vancouver on Friday July 13th as part of the Music Friends House Concert series. Wayne says he enjoys house concerts because “the informality and intimacy strips away the notion that classical music is esoteric and elitist; not to mention that a good deal of the compositions were actually written for and heard in house concerts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries”.

Music Friends is run by Bing Dai and Eric Wong, who studied piano as children, but have degrees in Engineering and Computer Science respectively. They feel that it’s important to present music “in a more authentic way, and to let audience members get to know the performers”.

One of the oldest series is Old Crow House Concerts, which happen mostly at the home of Doug & Lorraine O’Neill in North Vancouver. Old Crow started in 2005, though Doug recalls that it was “instigated” in about 2002. Doug’s concerts are a labour of love. He’s part of a network of people in the folk community, through the Rogue Folk Club in Vancouver, and from attending the legendary Folk Alliance, the annual gathering of artists, fans, and presenters from across North America. Old Crow is on a summer break, but will return in the fall with a new line-up.

Old Crow House Con



Lions Bay House Concerts

Music Friends House Concerts