Many Canadians, myself included, have enjoyed traveling the world to see how others live and to enjoy new experiences. We want to understand and take pleasure in walking in someone else’s shoes for even a sliver of time. Recently, I experienced all of this in turbo mode in the comfort of my very own province. How does one do that you may ask? My advice: learn an instrument, play music you love (you might want to choose something more portable than a harp though), join a home concert tour and hop in your car! (Which must be packed to the brim by the way as pictures below:)
The most amazing part of this 14 concert tour was being able to connect with incredible, loving and warm people as well as being given the opportunity to share my music and stories to an open and receptive audience. I brought my harps from Vancouver to Salmon Arm, from Powell River to Victoria. Have harp: will travel!
I believe we all walk around life with layers of protection that we surround ourselves with around strangers and even those we love. However, on this tour, I believe that there was a certain amount of vulnerability from both the hosts and myself that allowed for the shedding of those layers to foster open and honest conversation. This was perhaps because there was already a foundation of trust, kindness and respect between us that was put in place well before I arrived on their doorstep as a result of the amazing work of the fantastic people who organizes these tours at Home Routes.
Home Routes connects complete strangers who then get to know one another through an unusual mix of music, meal sharing, late night conversation, openness and a desire to connect.
One night, Toby, my husband, joined me at one of the houses. Long after the guests had left and long after the clock struck midnight, we found ourselves sitting in the living room enjoying conversation with complete strangers. If you know me, you know that this is right up my alley. I love visiting with people and I love connecting with people (something my husband has bugged me about since we first met). If you know my husband, you know that this is not his natural habitat. Yet, there we were, visiting with this lovely couple and their bright and kind teenage children. At this point, Toby asked them what it was that drew them to hosting so many concerts a year, (6 per year if you host through Home Routes) moving all the furniture around, doing the marketing work, feeding the musicians, giving the musicians a room to sleep in for the night and all the other associated tasks when they were clearly already busy people. Their response was simple and beautiful and it hasn’t left me yet. To his question, they responded with “This”.
Simple. Plain and true: this. This connection. This community. This conversation. This thread that gives meaning to our lives.
Needless to say, if I didn’t feel grateful enough for the experience when I walked into the tour, I made up for it on the way out. I was so honoured and appreciative that these people put in so much work and effort to create a platform for me to be able to share my music, my voice and my stories. The space that both the hosts and Home Routes creates for conversation, for memories and for new friendships to arise is really a rare thing in this world and I feel so privileged to have been a part of it all.
Thank you to the hosts, their families and the guests for the space that you created which allowed me to feel valued as a musician and a human being. My sincerest gratitude also goes out to the team at Home Routes for everything you have done to make this happen and for asking me to be a part of it.
If you are looking for a home concert experience, things are always happening! Please check out the website of Home Routes to find out when there might be a concert near you! Home Routes
And check out this video of myself and one of the hosts playing a little number together.