Hosting a Concert in Your Home

Kids and adults alike can get their creative juices flowing by hosting a concert at home.

| January/February 1985


Vita Wallace performs a piece on her violin with her brother, Ishmael, beside her on the piano.


Many people forget that entertainment can be made at home with friends and neighbors and that you do not have to go to movie theaters or some such thing to get entertained. Last fall my brother, Ishmael, and I gave a concert at our house, which we call the Irving Place Conservatory. We call it a conservatory because Ishmael plays the piano, I play the piano and the violin, my father plays the cello (but not very well) and my mother plays the viola and the piano (not very well either). My brother also composes, and I sing. We call it the Irving Place Conservatory because we live on Irving Place.

We decided to give a concert to show our friends and neighbors all the work that we had done on music in the summer. We also thought hosting a concert would be fun to be in a formal setting with a stage door, much applause, fancy clothes and encores.

Everyone enjoyed our concert. My mother said it reminded her of the parties that her grandmother used to go to, where she would be asked to sing and play the piano. It reminded me of the party in Laura Ingalls Wilder's book Little House in the Big Woods, where Pa played the fiddle and everyone danced. Anyway, I thought I would tell you how we put on the concert so you could do something like it if you wanted to.

Actually, we were already experienced at putting on performances at our house, and we had learned what was involved...the hard way. Like many children, Ishmael and I had put on unplanned plays and concerts for our parents when we were little. One thing we used to do was to make instruments — zithers strung with fishing line, xylophones made out of beer bottles and such — and play on those. But they usually broke, or else we forgot what we were going to do.

Later on, we got more organized and put on plays with some of the neighboring kids. We hung a sheet across part of the back porch for a curtain and tacked up sheets with scenery painted on them. Once we even made a dragon by putting sheets on the mowing machine that our parents kept on the back porch.

It certainly wasn't a perfect theater! And many times our neighbors got sick when we had planned to do a performance, or the audience didn't show up. Also, sometimes we fought over who would play what part and even over how the plays were supposed to go.

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