Saturday, July 18, 2009

Another Amazing House Concert in the Nebraska Outback

When you're open to pretty much anything, it's amazing what opportunities come your way. My telephone rang Thursday morning. A road manager was on the other end of the line. A booking had fallen through, and his band was going to be coming through Sutherland on the way from Denver to Omaha. Did I know of a gig they could get in the North Platte area.

Now, it just so happens that what the Mister and I do in our spare time is host house concerts, so even though he got in touch with me through my "official" job as a tourism professional (and I use that term loosely), he had called the right person.

My first question was "how much"? When he came back with the right answer - a place to stay, maybe a meal and a place to play. I knew we were on the same wavelength.

After a quick call to the Mister to make sure he was in agreement, I called the manager back and said "come on down!"
I will be completely honest and transparent here - If I were searching for acts to present (through my favorite House Concert website www.concertsinyourhome.com), I wouldn't have chosen a German Brass Band. We are open to hosting ANY kind of music, but that one just wasn't on our radar screen.
It was a learning, growing, life expanding experience! They were great and everyone who came just loved them. 

The band is "Original Colbitzer Musikanten" from Magdeburg Germany. They were on an American tour playing German-American festivals, at which they are generally the headline act. Their driver/road manager is from Minnesota and works with the German festival in his neck of the woods, which gives him great opportunities to meet bands and connect with other festivals. Fortunately, he has had two years of high school German and some practice, so his translations were quite good.
Naturally, being your average Americans, neither the Mister nor I speak a foreign language. As the bass player joked, we know "sauerkraut" and "bratwurst". However, the language barrier proved to be no problem in our enjoyment of the band, the music, and making new friends. 
Wonderfully talented musicians, in addition to the traditional German polkas and waltzes, we heard Dixieland Jazz, Mariachi, and some good old American rock. 

House Concerts (or, as you can see in this case, yard concerts), are a great way to broaden your musical horizons. As we've found out, there are amazingly talented artists who love to connect with audiences in the intimate way House Concerts provide. Whether the music is the particular genre you're interested in or not, great music of any genre is better live.

As you can see below, these young people, who I would never have dreamed would like Bavarian music had a fantastic time.
Oh, yes, that's the kids, getting the band's autographs.  Even though our guests had less than a week's notice, about 25 of them showed up. We made new friends and House Concert fans, and their generosity filled the donation jar to help the band on down the road.
And they insisted on posing for pictures with the band as well.
As with any House Concert, it's the after party that caps off the evening. Being Nebraska, there were light and sounds shows in the sky, which made the band, who might see and hear only one thunderstorm in a year at home, slightly nervous.
As I said, all of the musicians are extremely talented, and most multi-instrumental and play a wide variety of genres. Late into the night, we were being entertained with good old rock and roll.
If you're in my neck of the woods, stop by for our next House Concert, coming up on August 13 at 7:30 p.m. featuring The Yampa Valley Boys, cowboy music, poetry and humor.

If you're not in my neck of the woods, find your nearest House Concert and get on their invitation list. They'll be happy to have you.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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