Long-time patrons Andy and Michelle shared these beautiful thoughts with us about how hosting Love Good concerts out of their home has impacted them as a family, and within the larger context of their community. Their experience truly depicts the heart of our movement, and we hope very much to replicate these kinds of meaningful encounters in more and more lives.
Five years ago, we got an email casting the vision of a movement of people rising up to support good music of all genres. Jimmy Mitchell was organizing an extensive tour to net patrons for this new “Love Good Music” movement and needed hosts for House Concerts. It was an immediate yes from us. When we shared the email with Michelle’s parents and her sister and brother-in-law, they also hopped right on board. Our brother-in-law even volunteered their hundred-year-old farmstead as the location for the concert. We were pumped! We sent postcards to over 500 people for that first concert. We rounded up a flatbed trailer for a stage, made copious amounts of food, and bought enough beer to drown an Irishmen. We had zero head knowledge of what it took to promote and host concerts, but we had heart, and grace…lots of the good Lord’s grace.
The night of the concert, Jimmy and the five other artists he was touring with arrived in time to share a meal with us. The food was good, but the conversation was even better. We were all excited for the evening ahead. Now, it would be re-writing history to pretend that everything went perfectly that night. It was hot. There were bugs. Our camera ran out of memory. We didn’t have a great turnout. But you know what? The artists gave their gifts without reservation. The music was incredible. And it wasn’t a concert of well-performed cover songs. They were songs straight out of the hearts, minds, and souls of young people trying to make sense of a fallen world destined for redemption. There were fun songs and serious songs. Songs that conveyed beauty, pain, joy, and longing, and that explored the heights and depths of the human experience. Songs that touched the hearts of those who heard them. And as the sun set that night, seeds were planted that good music, and this movement to support it, mattered.
We’ve had the opportunity to host seven concerts since that first one and are getting ready to host an eighth here in September. It is seriously one of our favorite things to do. Not just because of the music, but because of everything that goes along with it. We like to think that we’ve gotten a little better at hosting concerts five years in, but the truth is, good things happen at these concerts regardless of our imperfections.
One of the things that has impacted our family most directly is our relationships with the artists. They are seriously some of the most incredible human beings we know. We’re lucky, because we get to host them at our house for a couple of days surrounding their concerts. We get backstage access to some of the coolest people on the planet. We eat meals together. We play games together. We share life together, even if just for a couple days. We learn preferences, opinions, and life stories, and get to connect meaningfully with other people just like us who are trying every day to stay on the narrow road to Heaven. Even more importantly, our kids get to know and love the people behind the music that is forming their minds and nurturing their souls. It never gets any easier to say, “until we meet again” because we never know when that will be – maybe never again this side of Heaven. But every time we are left feeling so grateful for the opportunity, even if just for a few days, to live life well in communion with others.
Hosting concerts has also helped us enter more fully into community with others. Because of how incredible both the music and the people behind it are, we’ve had no choice but to overcome our shyness and come out of our shells so that we could share the movement, the music, and the people behind it all with others. We have been emboldened to share this truth, beauty, and goodness not only with our family and friends, but even with total strangers. Because really, who doesn’t need more beauty in their lives? That coupled with a desire to have a good turnout for the artists means that we embrace a pretty “ye all come” attitude when it comes to house concerts. We’ve invited friendly strangers we struck up conversation with at the grocery store. We’ve talked to people we know through work, sharing CDs and invitations with them. We’ve walked the neighborhood and invited neighbors we hadn’t even met yet. We’ve welcomed friends of friends into our concerts, into our home, and into our lives. The conversations themselves, whether they ever end up in concert attendance, are so, so good. But we’ve also had some of the most surprising people come to concerts and embrace music they never would have otherwise.
People love the concerts. They love the atmosphere. They love the music and the movement. They love the opportunity for community and conversation. And they go home with CDs and inspiration to build a better culture. We get asked all the time, “When are you going to have another concert?” Little by little, the seeds of truth, beauty, goodness, life, love, culture, and community are being planted. And as they grow, lives are being transformed.