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Friday, July 19, 2024

Patchwork House Concerts are a quilt of intimate musical delights

Since 2008, Patchwork House Concerts has been a haven for musicians and music enthusiasts, as Monique LeBlanc and George Kephart host both in their Bedford home.

Since 2008, Patchwork House Concerts has been a haven for musicians and music enthusiasts, as Monique LeBlanc and George Kephart host both in their Bedford home.

It’s more than just a concert. It’s a chance for people to connect with musicians on a personal level, something you don’t often find in larger venues. – Monique LeBlanc

For LeBlanc and her partner Kephart, it all began in 2008 with a simple invitation from friends to experience live music in their living room.

“Back then, George’s former neighbours contacted us and asked if we would be interested in hearing Rose Cousins perform in their living room,” explains LeBlanc. “We thought that sounded fun and was our introduction to house concerts. We really wanted to get involved, so we set up a website and put out some feelers. And the rest, as they say, is history.”

LeBlanc reminisces about the early days when they scouted musicians through platforms like the now-defunct Acoustic Roof and reached out to artists themselves. “It’s been a mix of both approaches over the years,” she explains. We’ve had musicians approach us based on word of mouth, and we’ve also actively sought out talented performers.”

Despite juggling full-time jobs, LeBlanc and Kephart host these concerts roughly once a month, welcoming music lovers into their home. “The challenge isn’t finding great musicians,” says LeBlanc, “but rather getting people to step away from their screens and experience live music in such an intimate setting.”

Patchwork House Concerts hosts George Kephart and Monique LeBlanc.
George Kephart and Monique LeBlanc (above) have hosted Patchwork House Concerts since 2008.

What sets Patchwork House Concerts apart is the music and the communal experience it fosters. LeBlanc describes how audiences come to listen to the artists, creating an intimate atmosphere where artists engage with storytelling and interaction. “It’s more than just a concert,” she says. “It’s a chance for people to connect with musicians on a personal level, something you don’t often find in larger venues.”

The name “Patchwork” has a special meaning for LeBlanc and Kephart as it not only indirectly fulfills a family tradition of making quilts that LeBlanc missed out on growing up but the diverse range of music featured at their concerts and symbolizes their family’s blended nature.

“Between us, we have three kids, and it was at times complete chaos with the kids in three different schools and two different school systems,” says LeBlanc. “Like a good patchwork quilt, our family is very strong and colourful.”

What started as a casual gathering 16 years ago has evolved into a full-fledged series of concerts. Patchwork House Concerts celebrates its upcoming 120th show in April, featuring bilingual folk/pop artist Kristen Martell, who says house concerts have been a great addition to her tours. Martell will perform with her guitarist, playing songs from her last record and latest French single. “I love house concerts,” says Martell. “They’re a really intimate setting, and the audience interaction is special.”

According to Martell, house concerts are not only a great way to connect with fans on a personal level but also financially viable. “Especially for emerging artists like myself,” she says. “It can be tough sometimes with bigger venues of 100 plus seats because they can be expensive.”

With all proceeds going directly to the musicians, LeBlanc says it is about supporting the artists and fostering a love for live music. “It’s a unique blend of music, friendship, and shared moments,” she concludes. “And in a world filled with digital distractions, it’s refreshing to unplug and savor the magic of live music in a cozy setting.”

In addition to Martell’s performance on April 13, LeBlanc and Kephart will welcome folk/indie artist Daniel James McFadyen on May 11 and two-time Canadian Folk Music Award winner Lynne Hanson on June 2.

For a complete list of upcoming shows and tickets, visit patchworkhouseconcerts.ca.

Editor’s note (19 April 2024): This article was updated with information on the upcoming May 11 concert.

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