Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mystery of attendance

There was another "house concert" in town last Thursday night, and in spite of the high quality of musicianship that Shadow House Concerts brings to our town over and over again (thanks to Don Tait, who organizes it all), I only went because I had purchased advance tickets after watching a YouTube video of the performer's excellent blues piano. I do love a piano.

What I really felt like doing was coming home after a day at the office and putting my feet up in my own living room. Had I already been home, it would have been a job to drag myself out again. Keep my ticket money, I may have thought; I am content right where I am. I've missed a few really fine shows due to my own inertia; Coco Love Alcorn was one I really regret.

And so we were not all that surprised (just disappointed) to count only 10 people in the audience at the little wooden church in town with its great acoustics. This is quite often the case, for I imagine many people feel as I do: tired and lazy and relieved to be home after their day out, and going out again is not in the least appealing.

It's not that the house concerts are not well advertised. Shadow House Concerts operates on a non-existent publicity budget based on Don's pocketbook, so there's nothing big and splashy, but he runs classified ads in the local paper and puts posters up all over the place and bends over backwards to sell tickets himself.

So why—WHY?— don't more people come out?

We think it's partly because they have not heard of these performers before.
Because they are running around elsewhere with their kids' extracurricular activities.
Because they are adequately entertained by their televisions and computers, in their own homes.

We always purchase at least one of the performer's CDs. 

There's a concert coming up Oct. 26th that we expect to have a huge turnout because he is well known: Jimmy Rankin. The community hall should be filled to the rafters.

Mind you, we expected the same thing when "rising country star" Codie Prevost, who comes from a small village north of Wadena, played a Legion cabaret here a couple weeks ago. I left work about 7:30 that night and walked past the hall to get to Everett's, where my car was parked, and was surprised to see the hall parking lot half empty. It was a warm, dry evening and I assumed the low turnout was due to the farm families being busy in the fields. I was later reminded that there are plenty of residents of the area who are not farmers.

And I didn't go in, myself. I wanted to get home; the last thing I felt like doing was joining a crowd.

Local people come out in droves to support the numerous fundraisers thrown by community groups. Honestly. Wadena has about 1200 people in it, and when one group held a spaghetti dinner and silent auction, they raised $6000! Holy shitoli!

Maybe the secret is hot food.

It's a mystery.


  1. The secret is ALWAYS hot food.

  2. Jimmy Rankin's "Butterfly" is one of my favorite songs ever. Make sure you go, in case he sings it!

    1. Tickets are already in my wallet! And now I'll think of you if he sings that song.

  3. That is typical of all live performances it seems. Having said that, I think that house concerts are amazing opportunities---we've heard some wonderful people, but not recently. It is a mystery.

    I am assuming you are well and not affected by the freight train disaster.

    1. It happened about 10 miles out of Wadena just outside the wee village of Clair, and no one there was hurt, and no one in Wadena was in danger but we were just damn lucky. It could have been right at the busiest intersection in Wadena next to a big propane fuel tank and a gas station, on a freaky windy day. I shudder to think.


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