Frequently asked questions

Are your concerts indoors?
Yes, we always do the shows indoors. It makes the sound more predictable, mosquitos are less fun than they used to be, and Northwest weather can be a bit wild. We have air conditioning too.

How long are the shows?
Typically the shows are 2 hours.

When do the doors open?
We normally open the doors an hour before show time. If you come early you may be pressed into service assembling pizzas, setting up chairs, sweeping the front steps or directing parking.

It is a potluck?
Yes, we do make 30 plus homemade pizza, bake a few loaves of bread, and a vat of chocolate pudding for each show. People typically bring a dessert, salad, or side dish. Beverages are welcome too. We don’t provide alcohol, but people often bring a bottle of wine, beer or coolers. Any leftover wine is often turn into a syrup by adding sugar and boiling down until it gets thick. Blasphemous, I know, but delicious on ice cream. It isn’t necessary to bring a potluck item.

What’s with the name tags?
I started creating names tags for all the guests. It seems to help create a better sense of community if people can address you by name. You aren’t required to wear the name tag and you can put a fake name on one if you are in witness protection.

How many people come to your shows?
We get 30 to 50 people. 50 is the most we can hold comfortably. We had 67 for Gordon Bok. It was too many, but it was a lovely experience. Now I start a wait list and hold the audience to 50.

Are you wheelchair accessible?
No. We have 9 steps to get to the front door. We do suggest people go up the driveway to the backdoor. Two steps at the back door. Washrooms are on the second level which requires 4 steps.

How much does it cost?
We usually suggest a $20 per person donation. Occasionally we ask for $25, especially if it is a larger band. The musicians are touring professionals trying to eke out a living in a difficult market place. At Music Up Close the musicians get 100% of the donation jar. We do it because we like to share great music with our friends.

Are children welcome?
Yes. Well behaved humans of all ages are welcome. Sorry no pets.

Where do you find the musicians?
We attend a lot of house concerts. We are also members of Folk Alliance International (FAI) FAI holds Folk music conferences where we can see, hear and meet lots of musicians. We insist that we see artists play live before we host them.

Do you host local musicians?
Sometimes. Putting on a house concert requires a fair amount of planning, communication and labor. If we like a musician we will drive to see them. The musicians we host are usually touring and don’t often stop in our area. Sometimes they wind up playing other venues locally.

How do I host a house concert?
It is really just a potluck with music. Concerts In Your Home (CIYH) can help you connect with musicians. It is free to venues. They have some excellent publications and will provide individual coaching on the phone or by email. You can host a show easily with an audience of 10 or 12. Some musicians may want a larger venue, but it does not hurt to ask. There are some legal or zoning issues that may come up. CIYH can help you sort those out.Being a member for Folk Alliance International helps with the ASCAP or BMI issues. Lots of house concert hosts ignore all that and just have a private gathering with music.

Why don’t you advertise more?
This is a private residence with a homeowners association. We can not run a business in this location. We don’t run this as a business. We try to avoid any appearance of running a business. I maintain a mailing list of friends who are interested in house concerts. Periodically I send out a missive to let people know who, what, when and where we are doing a show. Emails are free. Advertising is expensive. I am cheap.

Do you require reservations?
Yes. We have limited seating and sell out sometimes. I need to be able to assure the musician we can get them an audience who is willing to put money into the jar. I do a wait list for shows that are full.

Do you have a sound system?
Yes, we started using a Bose Model 2 system when a friend generously offered to let us use it. We previously did the shows acoustically or the band brought their own system.

How do I get on your mailing list?
Send me a note saying “please add me to your list.”
I don’t share my list, but I do occasionally use it to promote other concerts I like.


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2017 Schedule update Music Up Close Tumwater House Concerts


January 13, 2017 JC and Laney

March 4, 2017 The Blue Janes

March 14, 2017 Martyn Joseph

April 6, 2017 Karen Savoca and Pete Heitzman

May 26, 2017 The Susie Glaze New Folk Ensemble

Sept 8, 2017 Dave Stamey 

October 6, 2017 Spook Handy Remembering Pete Seeger Keep the Flame Alive

If you would like to reserve a seat or get an invitation Please complete the boxes below. You will get a confirmation email and necessary details. You may also send the reservation to my email address.


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Phil Wiggins w/ Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons. Harmonica legend performs!


I will be Van Pooling to this one Sunday night. PM me if you need a ride.

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Our House Concert Checklist for Concert Prep.

As I get older I create more checklists.

Three days before the concert date
Start Dough
Roast at least 1 lb of coffee beans
Two Days before the concert
Clean Living Room
Dough step 2
Dust Ceiling for cob webs
Set up Chairs
Clean Bathrooms
Grind coffee beans for coffee toddy
Clean counter tops
Make name tags
Make Pizza sauce
send email reminders with directions
Day Before the Concert
Mop Floors
Transfer coffee to container and refrigerate
slice Onions Olives, peppers
drain mushrooms
Grate romano cheese
Size the mozzarella
Make vat of pudding
set up beverage container
slice lemons and limes
Buy Ice
set up cups, plates, flatware and napkins
set up pump pot
set up extra table(s)
Install table cloths
TP and Paper towels
Pre heat the brick oven
Sweep the breezeway and the front steps
Day of concert
Make dough balls refrigerate
Make coffee in the pump pot
Set out cream and sugar
Make ice water with lemons and limes.
Set out bottle openers
Set out Tea bags
Set out the Music Up Close Sign
Plug in the Light Bar
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What is a House Concert?

I first got that question when I said to my wife, “With the remodel, we now have a space where we could hold a house concert.” I must admit when planning for the remodel the thought of hosting 30 to 50 people for concerts was not on my mind. I was looking for an open space where we could place large furniture, a piano and enjoy the fireplace.

After some convincing and a visit to a house concert in Montrose CA with Eddie and Martha Adcock, Joanna was willing to host a potluck with music. Since then she is hooked on the camaraderie, the music, the planning, and even the anxiety.

For the uninitiated, the house concert protocol, for us, involves booking a musician who is willing to work for whatever gets put into the donation jar. Then we invite all of our friends, relatives, acquaintances and anyone who will listen to me go on and on about a musician. We rearrange the living room, clean up the guest room if the musician is spending the night, and gather reservations from people who might be coming. We are very selective about the music. Generally both Joanna and I have to be very excited about the music for us to reach out to a musician. We have to see them play live. Interaction with the audience is important as well as musicianship.


Bread baked during a show.



Brick oven


We do a potluck before each show. We provide 20 to 40 pizzas for each show too. Pizzas are unusual for house concerts, but we have a brick oven and like to make pizza. Most house concerts put out wine, cheese and a few cookies. We were worried our friends might not want to come hear a musician they had never heard of, so we promised pizzas. It has become a signature for our concerts. Chairs Music Up Close

When people arrive they often bring a dish. When they come in they drop off the dish, stop by the donation jar and hang a coat on a chair. We suggest a $20 donation. I don’t monitor the jar except to count the money for the musician.

Some resources for house concert tips are: Concerts In Your HomeBob BossinRuss and Julie’s House Concerts.

We maintain an extensive list of names of people who have expressed an interest in attending. A month or so before a concert I send out an email hoping to get a few people interested in coming. Planning a month ahead is hard for most folks, but usually a few people reserve seats. A couple more times I send out similar missives to remind people about the upcoming show. I also send a reminder to people who said they are coming, I want to be sure they have the address or want to opt out. Our concerts do require reservations. We have limited seating, it is important to have a reasonable count. We always have a few no shows, and occasionally a couple who show up without reservations.

How much money can I make hosting house concerts? I get that question once in a while. I give 100% of the donation jar to the musicians. I don’t try to recover the cost of anything. Several reasons for that: The musicians deserve to be paid, I can not run a business where I live, and I don’t want to involve the TaxMan, BMI, or the Homeowner’s Association. I do know a few people who live in rural areas who keep some of the revenue for their house concerts. Mostly they are just trying to recover some of their costs. I don’t advertise to the public.  Advertising is expensive. I rely on my email list, word of mouth and the musicians website to get people to fill the seats.

Why do musicians do house concerts? House concerts usually give 100% of the revenue to the artists. Bars, coffee shops, and theaters keep 20% or more of the money at the door. Every venue is different. Some do a percentage of the alcohol sold. Also musicians like house concerts because people listen, are respectful, and they buy CDs.

We have a rudimentary sound system and most of our shows have been done without amplification. A friend loaned us (or stored in our living room) a nice Bose system that has added something to the atmosphere. Some musicians really prefer to have some amplification to allow them to be more expressive with the lower sounds. Others like the amplification to help them preserve their voices.

We have a light bar to light up the stage. Most people get by with a couple of strategically placed lamps and some string lights. I am still unsure the light bar is necessary (it puts out a pinkish hue) but I made the investment so I use it.

I have started giving people name tags. I am trying to build community and I want people to know one another. I also am really bad with names. I make up name tags for all the folks I expect to arrive. I leave them by the donation jar. People seem to like them. Most people take one or make one if there isn’t one with their name already.



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Andrew Goncalves w/Boris Popadiuk December 3, 2016 Saturday. Pizza and Potluck at 6:00 pm, Music at 7:00 pm Suggested donation is $20

Andrew Goncalves is a Portland based singer/songwriter who puts all of himself into the music….every strum, drumbeat, and belted out melody that he sings. His guitar playing is clean and diverse, varying from fingerstyle to percussive with some flamenco overtones. His music and lyrics are infused with his time out on the road of life, and the timeless search for home. Andrew recorded his first album, “Inside Out” with the band “Boa Saida” back in 2010 and recently completed his long awaited first solo album, Fire Inside.

Boris Popadiuk is a native of Portland, Oregon, and has been playing cello for as long as he can remember. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, and the university of Miami Frost school of music where he earned a masters in cello performance. Trained as a classical cellist, Boris eagerly explores a wide array of genres. He has performed and recorded with classical, jazz and pop artists, from Jeremy Denk, Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers, to Gloria Estefan and Barry Manilow.

Please complete the form to reserve seats. Suggested Donation is $20 at the concert

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FAR-West Music Conference wrap up.

We are just returning for the Folk Alliance Region West Conference. We are amazed that the volunteers running the conference can make it so smooth. It was held at the Bellevue Hyatt this year and it will be held there next year Oct 5 to Oct 8. In 2018 it will be held in Los Angeles.

We got to help out a bit. I did some of the paperwork related to booking the New Voices Showcases. Joanna and I helped out with the Green Room during the Saturday night Official Showcase. I escorted musicians to and from the stages while Joanna guarded the instruments, purses, equipment. I also participated in the Speed date like event where the musicians do a 90 second pitch to venues. I got a few dozen CDs out of that and briefly met lots of musicians. I got to meet Patrice O’Neill of Uncle Bonzai. She is also the Wintergrass artistic director.

We met some wonderful musicians and renewed our acquaintance with many others as well as other house concert hosts. I met Tim Noah who has the Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater in Snohomish.

Some of the musicians we met that impressed us were:

Andrew Goncalves from Portland – we hope to book him someday

Orville Johnson – we definitely want to introduce him to our audience.

A few of the folks we really liked: Scott Cook from Alberta Canada, Karl Smiley from Summit OR, Uncle Bonsai, Carey Appel, Robert Blake from Bellingham, Kate Brown from Pasedena CA, Melaney Devaney from Iowa, Otter Creek from Salt Lake City, Freebo from Hot Springs CA, Avery Hill from Portland OR, Jasper and Kale Lepak from Seattle, Rita Hosking and Sean Feder from Davis CA, JW McClure from Everett WA. I am sure there were more but I can’t think of more.


We added our name to a few house concert venues that were unknown to us. Baker Enterprises in Edmonds WA and The CAPE House Concert Series in Cannon Beach,


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