When is a live performance a concert?
Dictionary.com defines concert as a noun: a public musical performance in which singer(s) and/or performer(s) participate.
By this definition, there is no requirement for an audience to be present. I would argue that the presence of listeners makes a huge difference to the performance. Knowing that there are listeners changes the way a performer performs. Knowing that the performance is being recorded, such as the presence of a microphone, changes the outcome.
One definition of public is “open to all.” In reality, this is the most difficult requirement to meet. To make “public” means to “publicise,” i.e. let the world know that such a performance will happen. This requires a certain amount of lead time, a broadcast mechanism, and a distribution list, all of which requires time, money, and resources.
Our main criterion in our US concert tour for choosing where to go was “where we give a concert.” I asked my contacts in Colorado to help us find a venue to give a concert. Two tried but did not succeed given the short notice. In the end, I asked singer/songwriter Melissa Axel to open up her home for an impromptu small concert.
The definition of concert does not specify that the performers should get paid or that the audience should pay. It does not give a requirement for the duration or the size.
After Houston, we flew to Denver on 15th November 2010. It was to be a whirlwind visit — a 2 night stopover before San Francisco, but our very first visit to Denver, Colorado nevertheless. We were determined to share our music even though we did not have enough time to plan the visit or stay long enough.
Our host Marty drove us to Melissa’s home in Denver at 6 pm. Melissa and James welcomed us with hot tea and other drinks. The other guests Mark (whom I’ve not seen in nearly 25 years and who fetched us from the airport) and his wife Laura arrived soon after. We sat down just after 6:30 pm and gave a short concert before Marty had to leave. Around 7 pm, we asked Melissa and James to play something. Theirs were original work of Melissa who sang and played the piano while James played the tuba — a remarkable combination.
Melissa Axel and James Jacoby are raising funds to record and release their debut album. They need $7,000 by 3rd January 2011. Melissa wrote:
Since I was a little girl, it’s always been my dream to make a full-length record that will move and comfort and provoke and inspire …
For the past year, I have poured my heart and soul into recording… my debut album with a professional producer and an amazing cast of musicians on strings, drums, bass, tuba, etc. Now the album is almost finished, and I must ask for your help to make this dream a reality:
To support the album and get your copy in advance (download, CD, vinyl LP, plus other exclusive goodies), PLEASE PLEDGE NOW! Read more about it.
Melissa’s website is outstanding. Her music is beautiful. Let’s hope the world is kind and generous. Here’s a toast to kickstart the pledges!!