Last summer I caught The Becky Chace Band at one of Rhode Island Historical Society’s Concerts Under the Elms. The musicians put on a lively show with a good mix of original tunes and covers, all anchored by Becky Chace’s confident lead vocals and Brian Minisce’s virtuoso lead guitar.
I immediately signed up for the band’s email list, and a steady stream of news about upcoming gigs followed. One of the concert listings caught my eye:
Yes, you heard it right! We’re playing a show at a funeral home where none other than Christy Bergeson is the Director. It’s a space we think will make for a good house concert setting and we haven’t played in Warren in a while so, come check it out. $15 suggested donation, part of the proceeds goes to the Warren Preservation Society, 6:30pm doors, BYOB. Full band rockin’ in the Wilbur Romano Funeral Home.
I had to get tickets, of course. How often does one have the opportunity to hear live music at a funeral parlor?
That is how my husband and I (and two intrepid friends) found ourselves spending a windy autumn night at the Wilbur Romano Funeral Home.
It was perfect! There was plenty of parking and the acoustics were wonderful. The décor was typical of the venue—lots of tasteful wallpaper and draperies, but the sedate setting didn’t stop the band from putting on a raucous show.
A few weeks later, we caught them at another “house concert.” Literally—at a 3 bed/2 bath split-level in a neighborhood of similar homes.
It felt a little strange to walk up to a stranger’s front door and let ourselves in, but a pail in the foyer was filled with five- and ten-dollar bills (from donations, not ticket sales), so we knew we were in the right place.
The eat-in kitchen was crowded with music-lovers hovering around a table loaded with homemade appetizers. The peninsula was obscured by a motley assortment of wine and beer—evidence that everyone had followed the BYOB instructions on the band’s website. In the family room a few steps away, the musicians were setting up.
Our host had already rearranged his sofas and recliners, and dragged chairs in from the dining room and kitchen. The band tested their microphones. Guests settled in as if watching football on TV.
The band launched into its first set and filled the room with blues-tinged originals and lesser-known cover songs. Lead guitarist Brian Minisce performed with his usual blistering intensity despite a head cold and failing voice.
90 minutes later, we were on our way home, clutching one of the band’s CDs and looking forward to our next opportunity to hear Becky, Brian, Mark (bass), and Eric (drums).