When I decided to move ahead with the idea to produce a Songwriters In-the-Round, it certainly was not without some second-guessing. How many people would really be interested? How often is too often? Would I find enough master songwriters to fill these sessions? How far will artists travel to play for a small audience and little pay? Do I have the right equipment? How do I make sure I get paid for my time and expenses?
But, I put all that aside and developed a plan, then submitted a proposal to Doug Roysdon of the IceHouse Performing Arts Collaborative. Of course, I knew it fit the mission of the organization, so I crossed my fingers and waited for a reply.
The answer came back as an enthusiastic YES! and I set the wheels in motion immediately. It was very important to kick this off with a fantastic lineup, and I still can’t believe the three artists that I chose were all available.
Now, some of the seemingly simplest components of producing an independent show are actually the greatest challenges–and ticket sales is at the top of that list. If you use an app like Event Brite, you’ll end up getting a 1099 and will pay income tax on that, even though none of the money is yours to keep. If you accept digital payments in advance, then you have to do all of the bookkeeping that a ticketing app would do. Cash payment (we’ll call it a suggested donation) at the door is the easiest way for an individual to accept money, but that means you won’t have advance notice of ticket sales. And we all know that Reservations are…not exactly scientific.
All this is to say that I decided to go with Cash payment (suggested donation) at the door, and made sure we had enough ones and fives on hand to make change.
At some point, I had to come up with the words (and the courage) to request a sponsorship, and it was an incredible relief when my request was approved by the marketing folks at C.F. Martin & Co., allowing me to be compensated for my time and expenses. Sidebar: Martin guitars are made right here in the Lehigh Valley, and are considered some of the finest instruments in the world.
One of the unique things about producing a show at the Ice House is that it is almost 100% D.I.Y. You must bring your own sound system, or hire a certified sound company to run the in-house system. You must handle ticketing, merch, refreshments–and also arrange the chairs. It’s a lot of work, but there’s always someone who is willing to help.
Since 2012, I’ve produced at least six shows at the Ice House, and each one has a special place in my memory. Number seven(ish) is in the past now and I’m calling it a success.
“Writing and playing music is what we do. We do this because we have to.”Lisa Bodnar–songwriter, singer, musician
My very deepest appreciation goes to my friends–Alex Radus, George Hrab, Lisa Bodnar–for being superbly entertaining and interesting! They are master songwriters, and it’s an honor to present each of them in the light that they deserve.
Knowing that these three artists are so vastly different in their musical styles, yet so similarly effortless in their ability to weave the program to benefit the audience, is the best takeaway that I can share with you now.
“Tonight we are going to stress the importance of the bridge!”George Hrab–songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist
My goal is to continue to shine a light on the art of the Songwriter, not just here in our Lehigh Valley, but also those in surrounding regions. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming artists from Monroe County, Berks County, Bucks County, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware.
Thanks to everyone who attended on Monday night, and I sure hope to see you again, and again, and again.
“Thank you Dina Hall, George Hrab, Alex Radus and Lisa Bodnar for a most memorable evening. As a person who loves music of most genres, and reveres words, I feel privileged to have been present at last night’s “Songwriters In-the-Round” event. The music and lyrics were beautiful, interesting, provoking, funny and touching. I especially appreciated the opportunity to hear your thoughts about your writing experiences and thought processes.”Julia Jasper, Warren County, NJ