Community Papers

House party extraordinaire

Carol Hubberstey and Clair Wakefield of 2776 Dewdney Ave. are getting ready to open their home to about 30 friends, neighbours and even a few total strangers.

It’s all part of the Home Routes concert series, in which musicians from across North America and beyond register to provide an evening of entertainment to small audiences, right in people’s homes.

The series is the brainchild of Tim Osmond, who started Home Routes, a non-profit organization, in Winnipeg in 2007. They audition musicians, primarily in the folk, blues and world music genres, and then send those performers out on scheduled home concert tours. The performers arrive at the homes and play a full two- to three-hour set for what tend to be small, but appreciative crowds.

“After the concert, the performers have a chance to mingle with their audience, talk to them and get to know people they would never have met,” said Osmond. “It often turns out to be a great little gathering.”

There are 16 tours currently running across Canada, from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia, and the Vancouver Island tour has a total of eight concert stops for the musicians.

Hubberstey and Wakefield’s, Oak Bay home became one of those stops when they responded to an advertisement looking for people who were interested in hosting a concert. “We had a short interview, provided some details about our house and it was done,” said Wakefield. “We advertised the first show, but for the second and from now on, we really just rely on word of mouth and friends and neighbours. The shows are real popular, so it’s not hard to fill the place.”

They’ll be hosting their third musical event on Nov. 28 and anticipate a full house.

“We charge $20 for the night and all of that money goes to the performers,” said Wakefield. “The idea is fantastic. It gives people a chance to hear this great music that they wouldn’t ordinarily hear and it’s a good way for emerging musicians to supplement their income during the winter when the festival circuit is done.”

He said that he and Hubberstey really don’t have to do anything but provide chairs, and perhaps some coffee, for their guests, although he admits that they’ve provided some other refreshments and food at the two events that they’ve hosted to date. “It takes a bit of organization, but it’s worth it. The last two concerts that we did were so amazing. So much fun. These talented people are right there, and the atmosphere is so intimate. It’s like nothing you’re ever going to experience anywhere else.”

Wakefield and Hubberstey still have three concerts to go after next week’s event in  February, March and April. “I’m pretty sure we’ll sign up again next season, too. It’s a great idea.”

The Nov. 28 concert will feature Grant Simpson and Don Ogilvie, two jazz/folk musicians who have played together for seven years, across North America and as far away as Shanghai, China. “They have a jazzy-blues compilation that is just going to blow people away,” said Osmond. “These people in Oak Bay are in for a real treat.”

Osmond said that anyone wishing to attend a concert or host their own home concerts can contact him at tim@homeroutes.ca or by calling, toll free 1-866-925-6889.

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