For information: email: email@example.com or call (781) 856-3249
“Lynn songwriter Don White mixes an acute sense of timing with the heart of everyman to put on concerts that move the listener from the laughter to tears and back again.” – Tim Mason, Club Passim, writing in the New England Folk Almanac
Weddings – Recovery
“Open To Suggestion – Your House Maybe?”
(parties, bar mitzvahs, functions, house concerts, etc.)
“We wanted our 40th anniversary party to be unforgettable, even though it was just a simple summer buffet in our yard. We wanted a way for our guests to get a sense of the love that has sustained our family for so long, and to feel included in a shared circle of warmth. There is something about Don White’s musical celebrations of love, (those who don’t know him well refer to them as “songs”), which made our gathering both sacred and hilarious, all at the same time. We’ll remember the night, the stars, and he music forever. Thanks, Don”
– Linda Weltner, “Ever So Humble” Thursdays in the Boston Globe.
“What better way to celebrate your 50th birthday than by inviting Don White to perform at a bash consisting of almost everyone who has been an important presence in your life since Day 1. Parents, relatives, old friends, new friends all gathered to help my college roommate and me accept, with grace, the fact that we had successfully completed our first half century of life. Add Don and his son, Lawren, to the mix and it made for an entertaining and festive event to be remembered for years to come.
Don was not only the “hired” performer, but a guest who happened to be a musician. He fit right in with the crowd as we invited him to partake in the food and merriment. We appreciated the professionalism he demonstrated in arriving very early to set up and in gathering information from us regarding the type of crowd in attendance, our backgrounds and songs we wanted to hear. He even accommodated a request for a song that he very rarely performs. Then, during his act, he comically interjected tidbits that we leaked to him.
The group ranged in age from 18 to 87. A handful had actually been previously subjected to the Don White “experience.” As for the others, Don was able to win over even those who were skeptical about the whole “folk music” and comedy “scene.”
My friend and I totally appreciate Don’s contribution to our life altering event. Since most of the people did not know each other, and I was their only connection, Don’s performance pulled the party together. People had such a great time that they suggested I start sending out invitations for the “century” birthday party. I wonder… is it too early to book Don for that?”
– Terry Dubow, Chelmsford, MA
“Was just reading ‘Moments’ and relating it to our lifes as husband & wife &parents. You recently sang at our youngest daughters wedding and you were great(good job, thanks-a-lot)!!! And, it helped us with one of our ‘moments’.
The song you sang was ‘I Know Exactly What Love Is’ and the song had a special meaning for the little girl bride and her teary-eyed dad; but, it also had a different and special meaning for all who were in attendance. The grandmother who’s husband had died, the family that had lost a son, the women who thought of their dad’s, and the dad’s that thought of their children.
We thank you for helping us celebrate a great moment in our lives – you will be very happy to know that the emotion of your performance and the impact of your lyrics created an emotional environment that carried over to create one of the all time great wedding receptions! The entire reception was full of love and hugs and dancing and joy. An emotional barrier was removed by the briliance of your performance and everyone was closer and willing to express emotions and love.
This was the last of our 4 children leaving home. And, so now we put aside child raising and try to learn how to mature gracefully (I got two gray hairs in my mustache). We also have to learn how to spend time together as adults – because we were just kids when we married and we have spent the past 30 years learning how to be parents, and protectors, and providers.
We thank you for sharing your emotions and love with us on that special day, and for sharing it with us thru your music.
So, we have a lot of moments to remember and a lot of new moments that need to be created.”
Thanks & God Bless
Ed & Judy Flaherty
“I can’t believe that 2 weeks have gone by since you regaled a small yet enthusiastic group of my friends in my basement here in Lowell, and I’m just now getting around to posting this message. (Well, maybe I CAN believe it since procrastination is one of the things I do better than just about anyone.) And especially considering that I think the performance took place less than 6
weeks after my first e-mail message to you in which I gingerly danced around the subject of whether I should actually attempt to pull it off! I haven’t told you, and I think it’s definitely worth saying, that your response put me 100% at ease and convinced me to take the plunge. Of course, my wife still thought I was crazy to be planning such an event in the basement of a house we had just moved into. (But at least this gave her a very real, tangible, and SPECIFIC reason to call me crazy!)
So what can I say? The performance was spectacular. Those who attended are still smiling. Many of those who couldn’t make it have already said they’d try harder next time if I decide to do it again.
As for me, it’s a bittersweet feeling; 6 weeks of gestation, ever-increasing anticipation, and then a magical evening during which you somehow managed to deliver on all of my expectations (and then some!), and then, just as suddenly as it began, it was over, leaving me with what I dare to describe (in my male ego-centric naivete) as some sort of post-partum depression.
Thank you Thank You THANK YOU for a wonderful show. Thank you for bringing your talent, your persona, your wit, your warmth (and your son!) to our little corner of the world. I hope you enjoyed the opportunity to paraphrase Kerouac in the basement of a former Unitarian church in Lowell. Let’s do it again some time.”
I just wanted to thank you (and Lawren) again for a very special evening that essentially blew the other half dozen”house concerts” I’ve attended out of the water! The experience was one that I know I’ll always remember, and would certainly recommend to anyone. The problem is that it’s one of those cases where “you had to be there”! I am still amazed at your ability to take a room full of people ranging in age from 22 to 84, the vast majority of whom had never heard a note of your music, and completely grab their attention (and enthusiasm) from the very first song. As you shifted gears from the comical to the serious, I looked around the room at faces shedding a few tears where moments earlier they’d been laughing out loud. Then, just as quickly, you had smiles on their faces again…It was a very genuine connection you made with all of us, heart and soul.
I have to admit that I was equally fascinated by the impact you had on the congregation at church the next morning. Not to knock the recording of “Brown Eyes Shine” on your new CD (which I love, particularly the “Second Chance Crew”–but that’s another story!!), but I swear that your version this past Sunday morning was even better. And that, Don, is the kind of message that ought to be coming from pulpits more often! Seriously, I’ve had a number of phone calls since then: “where has this guy been?” “where can I find his CDs?”, etc…
I realize it was a pain in the ass driving down and back, but I hope your first musical venture to New Jersey was worth it to you. I know it definitely was for all of us who had the pleasure of hearing you. Last, but not least, on behalf of the McKay family–thank you for the healing quality that’s so evident in both your music and your sense of humor. The family room (where you played), and the house in general feel lighter, more alive.
Now that I know what’s possible and now that there’s a definite “base” of White fans to draw on down here, I’m thinking of ways in which to make a repeat venture even more worthwhile from your perspective! Thanks again, and please let Lawren know it was a genuine pleasure meeting him as well!
I have been performing since 1988. I have been very fortunate, especially in the past few years, to have been able to do it with regularity and to have built up enough of a fan base to reasonably assume that I should be able to continue to perform regularly in some capacity. For this I am very grateful, because I am well aware of how few people are in this situation.
I have not been able to utilize the traditional methods of acquiring legitimate success in the business for several reasons. The first one (that someone who is still holding a day job after ten years of performing might want to come to grips with) is that maybe I’m just not good enough. An unpleasant thought, but one that gains credibility with each gray hair. There are, however, other less ego-damaging possibilities for my relative anonymity. I have been raising a family for eighteen years and have been unable to tour and live in the sort of rolling poverty that is expected of performers at the beginning of their careers. It has, upon occasion, been suggested by my spouse that I embark on a permanent world tour. Those are fleeting moments of clarity on her part, however, and the general consensus is that my responsibilities to these people at home ,who give my life meaning, take precedence over the needs of an audience who came to see someone else. Thirdly, and this is just an educated guess on my part, I think it is possible that, with a few obvious exceptions, the people in a position to further my career have no point of reference for my unique blend of comedy and pathos and justifiably consider me an unreasonably high risk investment…. That’s ok. I don’t blame them.
The point here is that it is up to me to make sure that I take care of my family and that I continue to perform with at least the regularity to which I have grown accustomed. This requires some new thinking. I am interested in two things. To contribute in a meaningful way to anyone who comes to see the show and to bring the show and the music to as many people as possible without losing my house, my marriage, or my tiny mind. Toward this end, I have encouraged my fans to be creative in manifesting opportunities for me to come and perform where they are. You don’t have to wait for the one coffeehouse booker in your area to decide that I am worth hiring. (It might not ever happen.) I WILL PLAY AT YOUR HOUSE. Or in your back yard, church, local function hall, barn, whatever. I am not a snob about this. It doesn’t matter to me if I play for a group of people in a coffeehouse or a group of people at your house. All I require is an environment that allows me to perform (chairs – ideally facing my direction, no sporting events on a TV above my head, and a muzzle on your drunk uncle.) I am not just willing to do this, I am anxious to do it. Private shows bring me close to the people who support the music. I leave them feeling like part of the family. There is almost always a way to make it happen without costing the person who organizes it more than they can afford and it helps me do what I love without having to go broke in the process.
Right now approximately twenty percent of my shows are private. My goal is to have that up to fifty percent. There are a lot of options. For example, the more ambitious person could put together a private show that included The Loomers.
I am especially interested in performing for people in recovery and I will make special concessions to help facilitate this type of show. Benefits for worthy causes will also be given special concessions.
Think this over. Talk it over with your friends at The Royal Order of Secret Squirrel’s Lodge (or wherever it is you go – or say you go – at night.) To inquire about specifics, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org – the phone number is 781 856 3249
FAQ – Private Shows
What is a Private Show?
A private is simply any show that is not open to the public. It is any situation where someone is willing to hire me to perform for their friends or associates.
If I wanted to hire you for a private show, what would I have to do?
Agree to pay me a certain fee for my services and create a performing environment that is conducive to performing.
Could you explain what constitutes an environment that is conducive to performing?
Gladly: All the chairs facing my direction. All the people brought in close to the performance area. The person who hired me demanding everyone’s attention, and giving me an enthusiastic introduction.
What do you see as your responsibility at a private show?
My only responsibility is to make you look like a genius for hiring me.
What might keep you from making me look like a genius for hiring you?
I’m glad you asked.
#1 Kids – precious few children under the age of nine have any conception of the possibility that someone else might actually be the center of the universe.
And no parent can give a performer their attention when an adorable five-year-old is using the spotlight to draw attention to how cute they are. If there are going to be children at your private show, they should be herded into a separate room and someone should be given the responsibility of keeping them away from the performance area during the show.
#2 Drunks. – Drunks and children see the world in the same way. Unfortunately, you can’t just give a drunk some crayons and a coloring book and expect them to play quietly in another room away from the grownups. (Wouldn’t it be great if you could?) If there is going to be more than moderate drinking at your private show, I will probably make the decision to perform as early as possible before your favorite uncle gets totally hammered and starts calling out requests for Danny Boy.
Could you describe a typical private show?
This is the most popular scenario: Sue is having a birthday. Bill wants to get her something that will let her know how much he loves her. He throws a party and invites all her friends and family. He knows that she is a big fan of mine and would never suspect that he would be able to get me (a big folk star) to perform at her party. He hires me and we conspire covertly to surprise her on her birthday. We arrange for a specific time for me to arrive. He tells me all her favorite songs. I customize a set specifically for the situation. After everyone is settled in at the party, Bill herds them all into the living room, which is set up coffeehouse style. I put on a 45 minute show for the birthday girl and her friends. Bill looks like a genius for making this happen. Their sex life is subsequently reinvigorated. They live happily ever after. I get paid (Which reinvigorates my own sex life) and disappear quietly into the evening to spread joy and marital bliss in other parts of the universe.
What other situations are appropriate for a private show?
As long as you can create a situation where I can have everyone’s attention, I will consider anything that you can dream up. I do not want to limit your creativity, I want to stimulate it. In the past year people have put together situations that I would have never dreamed of and they have all been wonderful.
A man hired me as a surprise mother’s day gift for his wife. He met me in the driveway. We went inside. Her introduced me to his wife. (Who only knew my music from the radio.) They sat on the couch and I put on a show for them. It was very cool.
On two occasions people have hired me to perform for people they know who have medical conditions that make it difficult for them to get out to a public performance. I put on a show right in their bedroom. They were both very emotional experiences for everyone.
- I have been hired to sing I Know What Love Is at over thirty weddings.
- I have been hired to sing at a wedding. The Loomers have been hired as the wedding band and I have sat in with them for a set at the reception.
- I have done a lot of shows for business groups who were gathering for dinner at restaurants.
- I have entertained for teenagers in rehab.
- For parents groups.
- For high schools.
- I have done performances and workshops for young writers and aspiring performers.
- On three occasions I have been honored to be asked to sing at funeral services for fans of mine who have lost a loved one.
If you are serious about it, I will consider it.
Why are you doing this?
Because I want to make a living at music without having to live on the road and be away from home all the time. I am not a snob about this. I am just as happy to play for you and your friends in your living room as I am to play a regular show. It’s all the same to me.
Do I have to supply a sound system if I am planning a bigger type of private show?
No. The Don White Machine is a self-contained unit. If you live within driving distance of Boston, I will bring my own sound system if it is necessary.
Will I be able to speak with you directly to discuss specific details of the show?
Most of the details will be worked out between you and my agent. However, as the show gets closer I may contact you directly just to make sure that we are on the same page and to discuss how I might customize the show for your specific needs.
How much will it cost me for your services at my private show?
You have to get in touch with my agent for this information. I am not trying to be deliberately evasive about this, but I don’t want to put down a price here that is etched in stone. I want to maintain flexibility.
This is how it works: Weekend nights are the most valuable to me. If I am going to give you one of them , I will need to be paid something in the vicinity of what I would make if I were doing a public show.
Weeknights and weekend days (assuming I can get out in time to do an evening show) are more flexible.
The best thing for you to do is to get in touch with my agent and let him know what date you are looking for. He will tell you if it is available and what we think it is worth. If it is beyond your means, tell him what you can afford and he will work hard to find a way to make it work for you. If you are prepared to make a serious offer, we can almost always find a way to work it out.
What is a house concert? How does it differ from a private show?
A house concert is a show that is open to the public, which takes place in a private home. Whoever is running it is essentially responsible for the same things as a regular concert promoter. (Getting the word out, selling tickets, having an information number, creating a good space for performer and audience, paying the performer etc.) At a house concert the people are gathered specifically to see a show. The entertainment is the focus of the event. At a private show the people are gathered for another reason. (Sue’s birthday.) The entertainment is an interjection into that event. At a house concert I would do two sets. At a private show I would do one.
Why wouldn’t you do two sets at my private show?
Because the people are not there to see me. You are probably the only person there who has ever heard of me. Your guests are gathered to see you and their friends. The event will only be a few hours long. Getting people to stop talking with people they know and love to listen to someone they have never heard of, is something that you can only do for 35 to 45 minutes. That seems to be the perfect amount of time to ask for people’s attention and to really make a big impact on the event. My job is to be a memorable interjection into the gathering , not to consume it.
What if I live outside New England and want to hire you for a private show?
Mrs. White has a very simple rule about travel? You can be gone as much as you want, but you must bring me back the same amount of money as you would have made if you stayed here. I will go anywhere that people want me to go. I have to be able to fly in and out and have an amount of money (above expenses) in my hand upon my return that is in the neighborhood of what I would have made if I stayed in New England.