Wunderlich House Concerts

By on March 9, 2016

Lititz resident opens her doors for musicians

There is an underground music phenomena going on nationwide. House concerts — where everyday “Joe Music Fans” open the doors of their homes to musicians — are growing in popularity. In Lititz, that music fan is Ruth Wunderlich. Her Wunderlich House Concerts take place in the living room of her Easr New Street home.

“I have to be a private house party, and you have to be invited,” explained Wunderlich. “All you have to do is e-mail me to be invited.”

Wunderlich threw her first house concert in 2005 when she was living in Austin, Texas. The act was The Therapy Sisters, who were looking for monetary help to offset medical bills of one of the members of the band. The next year she followed up with three concerts. After 19 more concerts, Wunderlich moved to Neffsville in 2013. Since finding a home in Lititz, she has had two concerts, and looks to have four shows annually starting this year.

“I always have an opening act and I always encourage…additional collaboration,” said Wunderlich.

Wunderlich finds many of her acts by attending festivals and conferences connected to Folk Alliance International. Formed in 1989, the group aims to “nurture, engage and empower the international folk music community.” Each year, the main organization and its regional affiliates hold music conferences around the U.S. It is at these gatherings where Wunderlich keeps up with new and seasoned acts, and finds many of the musicians for her house concerts.

“Initially I went to…folk festivals,” said Wunderlich. “For three years in a row now I have attended NERFA — the Northeast Regional [chapter of the Folk Alliance International] — which is in upstate New York. [That is where] I met Stuart Markus and Robin Greenstein.”

In October 2015, the troubadour duo of Markus and Greenstein were the first to performer at Wunderlich’s Lititz home. Eighteen people were in attendance. She believes her house can handle up to 40 people, and hopes to hit that mark soon. When asked about her personal preferences in music, Wunderlich said she enjoys the creativity of original songwriters.

“I like the new folk the best, because I feel like I’m discovering new talent, which really isn’t quite true,” said Wunderlich.

Her next concert will feature Greg Klyma, who has been a hard-working, heavily-touring musician for many years.

Greg Klyma

Greg Klyma

Greg Klyma

I caught up with Greg Klyma from his home in Buffalo, N.Y., his voice straining through a “scratchy throat.” He assured me he’d be mended by the time he makes it to Wunderlich’s house on March 13. After learning about her house concerts, I thought I should take a look at who is staring next in her Lititz home.

“I’m taking it easy. No worries,” said Klyma, who I incorrectly tagged as folk musician. “The term folk is sort of ubiquitous. Maybe I’m being a bit too cerebral about it, but I think [folk] is dumped on anyone who stands there with an acoustic guitar. I don’t know that I’m necessarily a folk act.”

To the 43-year-old Klyma, the word ‘folk’ invokes the greats, like Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie.

“I’m a rocker and honky-tonk kinda country act who delivers songs in a folk format,” said Klyma. “Does that make any sense? I mean, most of my songs are pop songs!”

You won’t hear songs about old time miners or social injustice; more likely Klyma will sing about the time his woman left him, again. Citing an advantage of a captive audience, he performs his songs at house concerts as regularly as he can. To Klyma, a house concert is the exact opposite of a chatty bar filled with TVs and reminiscing friends and coworkers.

“It’s nice to have an opportunity [to perform] where people are listening,” said Klyma. “We have the epidemic of background music. We get into an elevator, there is background music. You go into a restaurant, there is background music…. House concerts create a wonderful opportunity for people writing to be in the foreground.”

Klyma literally blames his parents for his involvement in music. His mother pushed him into guitar lessons at age 13. A child of the ‘80s, he surprised his instructor by shrugging of the then-popular R.E.M. hits and Van Halen riffs by requesting to learn Willie Nelson. Once seasoned on the guitar, he immediately started writing songs. Klyma tours constantly and has recorded four studio albums and one live album, “KLYMALIVE in Buffalo” (2009).

To see Klyma perform at the next Wunderlich House Concert e-mail RuthEllen@me.com. Reservations are by $20 donation (benefiting the performer) and seating is limited. Doors open at 5:45 p.m., and the show starts at 6:30 p.m. with Lancaster-based opening act Robert Bobby. Wunderlich encourages patrons to arrive at least a half an hour prior to the start of the show. After Klyma, the next Wunderlich House Concert series features Lou and Peter Berryman on Saturday, April 16.

Details about all Wunderlich House Concerts can be found at wunderlichhouseconcerts.com.

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *