The house was shaking on Friday, March 12.

It wasn’t an earthquake or anything like that. It was Bill Bourne tapping his foot to the beat of his music.

Our living room was crowded with about 30 people enjoying this private concert.

Some guests asked how we arranged for someone like Bourne to perform in our home. Well, we were participating in Home Routes.

This venture, based out of Winnipeg, is slowly spreading across Canada. Home Routes is a not-for-profit performing arts program with a volunteer board of directors, a small staff and a community of volunteer concert hosts.

All a host needs is a place for the performance, a meal and bed, and the audience.

When Bourne arrived, he quickly moved his equipment into our living room. It took him about 40 minutes to set up his computer, the amplifiers and microphone. He placed a colourful rug on the floor for his stomping board and stool.

He told us he was recording all of his Home Routes concerts in the Yukon and hoped to use some of the material for a CD.

The living room is a 15′-by-15′ room on the second floor of our country home. My husband, Roger, and I had moved most of the furniture out of the room for the evening and set up chairs (donated by Hidden Valley Elementary School).

The audience would fan out from Bourne’s performing space to the back of the living room. We probably could have squeezed a few more people into the room – maybe some sitting on the floor or another chair or two – however this was our first home concert. We will know more about the crowd placement for April 17 when Kate Reid will play for us.

The audience – a mixture of friends, family and neighbours — arrived at about 7:30 p.m. and the concert started at 8. Everyone paid $15 at the door.

Bourne also had CD’s on display. All proceeds from the sale go to the performer.

The neighbours walked over through bush trails connecting our properties. A home concert is great for country folks who may not want to drive back into the city for the evening. In the prairies, where Home Routes began, some folks may never get to a concert in the “big city”.

Roger and I prepared a few snacks. But so did some of the guests. So we had lots of yummy food and wine to enjoy between Bourne’s musical sets. He played for about 45 minutes, then we enjoyed the snacks before returning to the living room for another 30 minutes of entertainment.

Bourne graced us with a two-song encore before we let him leave the stage.

Roger, my daughter Kirsten, and I enjoyed supper with Bourne before the concert. Providing supper is a host requirement. I had asked Bourne if he had food allergies or dislikes. He told me “no, surprise me.”

We enjoyed lemon-laced rice, spinach and Haines, Alaska salmon with wine and rhubarb pie for dessert.

Bourne stayed overnight after the concert – another host requirement.

After a famous “Roger Omelet” on Saturday morning, Bourne packed up his equipment and personal bag. He was off to Whitehorse to have his amplifier looked at and then drive to Teslin for a Saturday night concert.

Bourne is a wonderful man. His personal energy, love and respect for people and music shone through from the moment he drove into the yard to his leaving.

The Home Routes program is a wonderful idea. I encourage anyone interested in world-class artists performing privately for you and your friends to take a look at hosting your own concert.

Just call Tim Osmond in the Winnipeg office of Home Routes at 1-866-925-6889, ext. 207.