House concerts, while still definitely a thing, have transformed over the years. They tend to be slapped together at the last second with subpar sound and an audience that is more interested in getting digits than actually listening to the artist. House Concerts in the Glen is after something different altogether. It is about a warm and cozy house giving audiences an intimate venue to discover an eclectic array of new and established artists. Even the contribution you make at the door goes directly to the artists as opposed to the purchase of a red plastic cup at other house parties.
In the summer, the shows are outside in the garden with a potluck or BBQ; in the winter there is a fire pit. Host Joan Mann has lived in Bend for more than 30 years and has been a longtime supporter of the arts and the Sisters Folk Festival in particular. She has hosted close to 50 of these house concerts since 2011 and is nowhere near done.
The upcoming artist for the winter Concert in the Glen is Beth Wood, a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter from Portland. But she hasn't always hailed from up north.
"I've been a full time touring singer songwriter for 18 years," she tells the Source. Wood will release her 10th album this spring. "I started playing piano when I was 5. Took classical piano and violin lessons all growing up, started singing in the choir. I went to college in North Carolina for voice and piano, studied for two years, and discovered the classical world was not a good fit for me. I got my degree in literature at University of Texas-Austin, joined a band, and never looked back!"
Wood's voice is crisp and sublime and her guitar work is memorable without being flashy. While she is also accomplished on the piano, the guitar is what truly represents artistic freedom to her since she trained herself on it.
Playing the shows at The Glen is a much different experience for someone who started out playing in bars.
"I love playing intimate venues like house concerts," says Wood. "It is more up-close and personal, and requires some getting used to. It's a totally different experience. At house concerts, people come to listen, and it is wonderful to play for folks who are interested in stories and lyrics. It is two-way sharing, an energy exchange that is pure magic to me."
That magic that Wood feels is a huge reason why she isn't just a musician or an artist, but a true storyteller in the oldest school sense of the word. When she goes to concerts, she loves to hear the stories behind the songs because getting to know the artist and how they think and feel is a huge part of the experience for her. Wood says the most gratifying aspect of playing music is "seeing someone being vulnerable, walking in nature, connecting with others and their stories, experiencing an artist's unique expression."
The House Concerts in the Glen aren't just a way for people to eat good food and listen to musicians they might not have heard. It's about connection and finding the pieces in ourselves and others that make us a community. Wood describes it best, saying it is a "relaxed night of story and song, a few shared laughs and perhaps a few tears, and a warm and welcoming group of music-loving folks."
House Concerts in the Glen
6 pm, Sunday, Jan. 10, 6 pm. Songwriting workshop
starts at 1:30 pm.
1019 NW Stannium Rd.
$15-$20 suggested ($45 with workshop)