Jim and Marta Boulton in the backyard of their Red Deer home where they host concerts through the summer. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

A home and a live music venue

A love for music and mobility issues inspired Jim and Marta Boulton to turn their Red Deer home into a concert venue.

Last year the couple went to a concert at a friends’ home and fell in love with the idea of hosting shows in their own living room.

“We both love music,” said Jim Boulton. “I think it’s great to have the live music in our home.”

The couple moved to Red Deer five years ago, five years after Jim was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, into a house with a large living room and backyard. Due to the open layout of the home they thought it would be a great venue for music – inside and out.

On Aug. 19 the couple will host their fifth show featuring Cat Jahnke in their backyard, although if it rains, the show will be indoors. Jahnke was performing at the concert that inspired them to host their own concerts.

“We’ve been getting lots of positive feedback. People have been telling us they’ve really liked these private concerts,” Marta Boulton said.

Their niece Randi Boulton performed in their first house concert and returned again last month to perform. The Boultons have also hosted shows for Ontario artist Tom Savage and Calgary-based band The MojoLisa.

The Boultons know a few others who host concerts in their homes in Red Deer, but due to their love of music and respect for these travelling artists, they would like to see house concerts become even more popular.

“We know how hard it is for singers to get exposure and make a living doing the job they love,” Marta Boulton said.

Being able to perform in house concerts is something Jahnke loves doing, she said.

“House concerts are absolutely one of my favourite things,” she said. “The audience is right there and I get to communicate with them in a different way than I would in a bigger venue.”

Jahnke’s solo act consists of acoustic instruments – guitar, piano and ukulele – as well as using a loop station, where she can perform a song acapella with her own voice looped over itself a number times.

To get tickets for an upcoming concert, join the Facebook group “Woodlea House Concerts.” The Boultons’ home can accommodate up to 50 people.

Tickets cost $25, with a majority of the proceeds going to the artist. The money that doesn’t go towards the artist, goes towards the food served at the shows.


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