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Goderich Signal-Star

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

House Concerts Showcase International Talent

Riverview in-home concerts bring big names to Goderich.

The music scene in Goderich is about to get more intimate thanks to newly-arrived resident Debbie Carroll.  Carroll will be hosting a series of house concerts out of her Goderich home, beginning October 30 with a spook-filled evening with Vancouver’s Eileen McGann – a Juno-nominated traditional Celtic musician.

Prior to living in Goderich, Carroll hosted about 25 such concerts in her Toronto home, part of a growing trend of spontaneous concerts popping up all over the place.  While the intimacy of having 20 or 30 people in your living room may seem like a full house, what really fills the evening is the music, and Carroll has top-notch Canadian and American talent slated to perform in Goderich.

“It’s a concert, it’s listening to an amazing musician – we get amazing musicians.  They sort of fall out of the sky like angels,” she said.  “What we do is we really try to keep the standard of our performers so high.  It encourages others to come because we get high caliber performers.”

Under the moniker of Debbie and Bill’s Riverview concerts, Carroll said the in-home shows also have a spot for local performers to open up for the featured acts.

Goderich, Carroll said, is a town full of music lovers, and she stressed the house concerts are much more along the lines of a private party than a business.  Donations are accepted to pay for the entertainment and refreshments, but the evening is really about bringing music lovers and music-makers together in a close setting.

“It’s totally for the love of it,” she said.  “We love to share it with other people.  Because we’re new to Goderich we’re trying to get the word out that we’re wanting to get involved.  Because of the talent, caliber, think they are going to like that.”

The response Carroll gets from her performers is always positive – playing unplugged and up close to a rapt audience.

“The vibe?”  Carroll said.  “So many times I say that two or three days later I feel the walls are still ringing.  It’s something where the audience and the performer can feed off each other.”

The advantage of having everyone on the same level, in the same room allows the artists and audience a level of interaction not found in the concert hall, and Carroll said many is the sing-a-long that broke out at a house concert.

“The target audience is anybody who likes listening to music,” she said.  “They don’t have to be a musician, they just have to like music and want to get up close to the people who make it.”

She noted her house concerts are scent-free, so listeners should leave the perfume at home.

In a culture where CDs, radio, television and the Internet can bring instant entertainment, the quaintness of the house concert, Carroll said, brings music back to a fundamentally shared level.

Reservations and donations are required in advance of the in-home shows, and more information can be found at