SHCN Stanstead House Concerts Network

By leveraging the whole community we created an ecosystem to support/be supported by SHCN. We’ve learned that people value live micro-venue musical experiences much more than in the recent past. Interestingly, so do the artists – who each reflect on the honesty injected into a performance space where each concert is a truly interactive experience. Artists talk to audience members – they become raconteurs. Audience members chat with artists and share their inspirations, their musical memories – and occasionally their sense of loss soothed through a specific melody.

“What we love about house concerts is the collective energy exchange shared between the audience and the performers. People tend to want to really listen and dive into the music in a quiet and comfortable setting. That mentality is easy to harbor when combined with the familiar element of a living room. It makes for a very comfortable yet unique show experience for everyone. It’s also a great way for artists to build relationships and fans without having tons of pressure to advertise and draw a crowd. This is especially helpful when we’re building shows in newer regions. It’s the collective energy that carries the arts and that seems to thrive at house shows. Our experience with SHCN has been fantastic. All of our hosts have been wonderful, caring and interesting people who want music to thrive. We’re lucky to be a part of this supportive family!” – Zack DuPont (Burlington VT) 2017

A little more than four years ago (Oct 2014), we decided to invite emerging voices of music to perform in our livingroom - here in the village of Stanstead, Quebec - right smackdab on the border with Vermont.

We're not a wealthy family in terms of dollars however we understand the value of artists and we wanted to create a network of 'safe' zones for emerging voices where they could perform, reinvent their sound, reconnect with their musical roots - and their audience.

So we quilted a network of like-minded folks and partnered with B&Bs and inns and bakeries and massage artists and yoga teachers and recording studios and film-makers and storytellers.

The network grew organically to include micro-venues in Quebec, ontario, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, maryland, the district of columbia, virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, & Tennessee.

We have an educational outreach program - we offer schools without music programs the opportunity to host 'our' artists for an hour-long Songs/Q&A Session on the day of - or morning after a concert at one of our home venues.

We precede each concert with a dinner. These have been grand potluck gatherings and the addition of culinary chaos to the mix seems to appeal to the concept of engaging as many of the artists’ and audience members’ senses as possible. So it’s not only the music. It’s the show. It’s the kitchen. It’s the whole unlikely experience. We have learned people are never too busy to go to a show they really want to see. And they want to experience these concerts.

Shows start at 7:30 pm and consist of two sets. A typical concert winds up (for the audience) at 9:30 pm. We picked a starting time which suits the needs of our audience – many of whom travel more than 90 minutes each way to attend these concerts. We want to ensure they can get home safely at a decent hour.

After hosting more than 100 concerts we have managed to stay true to our original goals and objectives:

To support emerging artists;

To reward audiences and venue hosts (presenters) for participating in our events;

To stimulate local economies (creative or music economy) and create locally sustainable ecosystems;

To contribute to musical education in venue communities;

To create educational and employment opportunities for young people; and

To create a sustainable (in every sense of the word) network.

In 2015 we had hoped to have 15 hosting houses across Appalachia (Quebec to Mississippi) by 2020. In 2018 we have surpassed that number and continue to grow.

We have a trusted brand among artists, audiences, hosts/presenters, members of our network and leaders in the music and entertainment industry.

We are now working on integrating environmental and cultural sustainability into SHCN. Imagine being able to assist our partners with a plan that would further enable their ability to continue to play a vital role in their respective cultural communities. ​

We understand the value of artists and we wanted to create a network of 'safe' zones for emerging voices where they could perform, reinvent their sound, reconnect with their musical roots - and their audience.

Contact SHCN - E: newman.hal@gmail.com / T: 819-238-1470

ours is a collaborative partnership waiting to happen. drop us a line so we can get started doing great things - together !

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