Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

I Went to a Garden Party

That title is a little misleading. Mrs. E. and were fortunate enough to be invited to a private concert, held in the gardens of a home not far from The Manse.

While the music wasn’t the sort that we would normally choose to listen to, it was nonetheless fantastic. Authenticity is never to be missed. Tim Grimm, writer and performer of classic Americana ballads, is nothing if not authentic. He chucked in a film career in Hollywood to get back to a simpler way of life and write his music. Up close, in a quiet garden with about 40 people listening, he could interact with his audience and drew us all in with his story telling. For a brief instant I felt like packing it in and heading for the country myself. That moment passed. I am a city dweller and suit wearer. But that’s how charismatic the man is.

I bring all this up, because I can’t remember the last time I attended a private concert. I think it is a wonderful idea for a party; especially if you have friends who play music. Follow the simple blueprint of the party we attended for a guaranteed success.

Inside the sun room were two tables, one set up with wine and glasses, the other with Bloody Mary makings and ice. Continuing in to the dining room, a buffet luncheon of four different quiches, an orzo salad, a green salad, fruit tray and small desserts was arranged on sideboards and the dining table. The china was mixed, as were the napkins and cutlery. (The food was all homemade — 15 quiches were baked in all.)

Outside a table was set up with a few cold patés and dips, soda and bottled water and ice. A wheel barrow held ice and bottled beer. Hired banquet chairs were arranged in a semi-circle facing the performance space. Several occasional tables and the garden furniture had been pressed into service as well. Plenty of shade was provided by mature trees and sunshine was welcome on a breezy 72ºF day.

Inside, you could have much the same setup and invite fewer people if seating is an issue. But the combination of good food, friends and live music is hard to beat. This year at New Year’s, I’m going to see if we can cajole a friend or two to sit down at the piano with the Cole Porter Songbook… Think about hosting your own private concert.

Mr. Grimm… from that party. Thanks Jon!

8 thoughts on “I Went to a Garden Party

  1. I think it depends on how much of the evening is spent sitting watching the singer. When I go to parties – especially ones where there are a lot of people I dont get to see very often – I like to mingle and chat. If we are expected to sit for hours watching someone sing I miss out on catching up with people.

  2. That is such a great idea. I always thought it would be really special to have a ‘concert’ after a dinner party on the piano. I know I would feel very special as a guest and it is not something that happens all the time.

  3. Princess, we had an hour before and after to socialise. The show lasted about an hour. It flew by.

    DC, exactly. Like Princess, I prefer people who don’t mind playing over some background chatter.

  4. Without going to extremes, its nice to “treat” your guests and make things special- heard it said recently that people will remember how you made them feel.

  5. I read about something like this in Ready Made, where it was understood beforehand that the guests would “contribute” to the musician. The guests, happy to be drinking and dining together in such a cozy environment, happy that the host had found a truly talented musician willing to perform for such an intimate group, all contributed $10-$25. Would you have gone to the private concert if you were asked to contribute, I wonder?

  6. DD – Good suggestion. Mr E. brings us a wonderful idea, however, it hadn’t occurred to me that the expense could be shared. I know I wouldn’t mind. Sharing really isn’t any different than a pot luck, progressive dinner or BYOB.

  7. Hello DD, yes. Especially since I didn’t have to pay a babysitter since my in-laws watched the children. It was nice that the families didn’t ask though. I’ve never asked anyone to share in the expense of a party, it didn’t occur to me that one would. As host, I feel it my responsibility as I am the one asking.

  8. Dear blogger,
    I would like to get in contact with you regarding a picture on your blog. We on Kairos Future, a Swedish research and consulting firm (www.kairosfuture.com) are writing a report about garden interests among gardeners around the world. We have read a lot of garden blogs in fifteen different countries too see what is fun, interesting, upcoming etc in the world of gardening. It will now result in a report about Global garden passions. As the report is a result from the world of blogs we would like to have picture in it from different garden blogs worldwide. Even if your blog is not about gardening we would like to ask for your allowance to use one of your pictures in the report as we like it. It is a picture from the post ” I went to a garden party” posted on Oct. 8 2009, a picture of a man that sings an plays the guitar.

    I would be very grateful to get in contact with you regarding this picture; my email is nilla.persson@kairosfuture.com. Of course you will receive a copy of the report when it is ready.

    Best regards
    Nilla Persson
    Kairos Future

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