Stanstead House Concerts Network – SHCN

Almost five years ago (Oct 2014), Hal Newman decided to invite emerging voices of music to perform in his livingroom in the village of Stanstead, Quebec – right smack dab on the border with Vermont.  A whole lot of concerts later, as first envisioned, that network of improbable venues stretches from Quebec to West Virginia.

The Stanstead House Concerts  Network – SHCN (“SHCN”) wanted to create a network of ‘safe’ zones for emerging voices where they could perform, reinvent their sound, reconnect with their musical roots – and their audience.

SHCN believes audiences want to experience something more than merely applauding on cue in a theatre where they are separated by distance and darkness from the artist and one another.  SHCN believes we can – and need – to do so much better to encourage the next generation of artists and the audiences who will support them.

SHCN are firm believers in the power of the creative economy to make a significant difference in the quality of life and living in rural communities (places often referred to in terms of drive-bys or flyovers). SHCN sees its network as the connective tissue bringing living rooms and cafes and B&Bs and country inns and libraries and town halls and village meeting houses and theatres and studios and maker spaces – all sort of improbable venues – together.

SHCN joined the Canadian Live Music Association because it believes each of our stories are being told in splendid isolation and there is a need for an organization which can weave them all together with purpose. There are so many people doing wonderful things to support music in their own cities, towns and villages and we need the Canadian Live Music Association to share our stories so that policy and legislation can reflect the reality on the ground.

Live music and the artists who create performance experiences are chronically undervalued in Canada. So are the people and organizations who present them. Our hope is that by joining the Canadian Live Music Association SHCN can work with other members to shake things up and – to quote Graham Parker – ‘Get started, start a fire.’


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