In Search of Musicians


Many times we book bands at Chestnut House Concerts that we have heard live, but other times we simply trust recordings and recommendations and we’ve never regretted that method.  We listened to Dave McGraw and Mandy Fer’s recording “Seed of a Pine” and viewed various videos of them playing.  We also knew that they collaborated with Birds of Chicago on recordings and in live shows – so although we had not been to one of their shows, booking them was a no-brainer.

Dave and Mandy were able to work with Folklore Coffee & Company to book a performance at Elizabethtown’s 2nd Friday – which provided us with an opportunity to see them live before their show here next week. I had been at the building years ago when it was a different coffee shop and I was reminded again of what a great space Folklore has on the corner of Main and High Streets in Elizabethtown.  I commute daily to Harrisburg and so going to E-town (the halfway point of my hour commute) on the weekend is not typically high on my list of desires – but the Davy Crockett sandwich, the butternut squash soup, the friendliness of the staff, the ambiance and, of course, the music…made it worth it. We met Dave and Mandy and they joined us in the order line to refill Mandy’s tea and get another espresso for Dave to help combat the cobwebs after having driven straight from Portland, ME to Pennsylvania.

A few things were apparent at the live performance.  Mandy is energy. Her feet pound out the rhythm and her fingers fly over the frets as she demonstrates her high skill level as well as the ability to put emotion into the music.  Prior to the show I wasn’t aware of Dave’s percussion abilities.  He uses a doumbek to give rhythm on several songs and the sounds of the drum vary from medium pitch tones to deep resonating tones that make you look for a bass player in the corner.  Dave and Mandy work together smoothly and it’s obvious they’re having a lot of fun both writing and performing their songs.

We’re so excited for our house concert guests to hear Dave and Mandy one week from today – Saturday, November 16, 2013.

Potluck at 6:00 pm; show at 7:00 pm.

Not Surprised


One year ago today, Thursday October 20, 2011…I went to the Ware Center to hear Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three. I had no idea who was opening for them until I arrived at the venue.  

I remember that when The Stray Birds came on the stage, prepped and ready to go, Maya made a comment about how the group rehearsed the night before and that they sounded great.  She was not exaggerating even a little bit.  The group was on fire – keeping variety with instrument changes, tight vocal harmonies, mostly originals and a couple covers to awaken the collective memory bank of the audience.  

Since that day a year ago I’ve watched as the group’s popularity has grown, tracking Facebook posts of their tours up and down the coast, hearing about local performances and CD releases. Their new cd is currently the #1 song on the Folk DJ radio chart and their song “Dream in Blue” is the #1 song. 

I’m honored that we are able to host this group on Saturday, December 8, 2012.  I’m not surprised that we have ‘sold out’ seats for this house concert.  Sometimes there are cancellations, so if you’d like to attend and did not yet request tickets, email  your information to and we’ll put you on a waiting list. ~ Karen