Brazilian trio will perform at Cold Spring home

After a hiatus, Sandy McKelvey will again host a concert in the backyard of her Cold Spring home on Aug. 17, this time with Choro Das 3, a Brazilian group comprised of three sisters that is touring the U.S.

McKelvey became acquainted with the term “house concert” while living in New York City. A roommate organized a prototype, which McKelvey describes as “a classical music concert held in a wealthy person’s home, usually accompanied by food and wine, with time built in for people to socialize.

“I never considered doing it for myself,” she says.

In 2018, McKelvey noticed a Facebook post by Jill Sobule, a singer-songwriter she admired, noting that Sobule did house concerts in between her larger gigs. McKelvey got in touch, proposing a concert, despite a complete lack of experience in hosting.

She compiled an email list of everyone she knew in Cold Spring and invited them. “We got a big crowd [30 people] and I made new friendships,” McKelvey says.

Jill Sobule performed in McKelvey's backyard in 2018.
Jill Sobule performed in McKelvey’s backyard in 2018.

Audience members were asked to contribute food or beverages for a potluck, and 100 percent of the cover charge went to the musician. McKelvey thought she might like to host another musician but the pandemic put that idea on hold.

When restrictions eased, she organized her second and third concerts soon after attending a Brazilian music camp for adults at Smith College in Massachusetts. Most of the other campers were professionals. Inspired by what she was hearing, she began to ask, “Would you play at my house?”

In one concert in the summer of 2022 on McKelvey’s back porch, Cesar Garabini (Brazilian 7-string guitar) and Dominique Gagne (flute) performed an evening of choro (pronounced “shoro”), which the host describes as “the foundation of all modern Brazilian music, including samba, bossa nova, Brazilian jazz and pop. Almost all music that is part of Brazilian culture came from choro. It was developed in the late 19th century, blending classical traditions with African rhythms, blending different cultures, in an urban environment.”

In another concert, The Lake Trio (Kerry Linder on vocals and percussion, Martin Pizzarelli on bass and Mark Sganga on guitar) performed bossa nova.

The Lake Trio played in Sandy McKelvey's house in 2022.
The Lake Trio played in Sandy McKelvey’s house in 2022.

McKelvey’s fourth concert, this past spring, featured Cold Spring composer Daniel Kelly. “My family had just gotten a used Yamaha grand piano, so he performed improvisations in the living room, which holds about 20 people — the backyard holds around 50,” she says. “It made me so happy. There’s so much negative and scary going on in the world and hearing music in my house brings in beauty, community, friendships.”

Daniel Kelly improvised on the family’s new grand piano earlier this year.
Daniel Kelly improvised on the family’s new grand piano earlier this year.

Choro Das 3 is a trio formed by sisters Corina (flute), Lia (7-string guitar) and Elisa (mandolin, clarinet, banjo, accordion and piano). The sisters, from São Paulo, have released 11 albums and have been touring North America, Europe and Brazil for the past 21 years. The house concert is part of their first U.S. tour since 2019.

What’s next on the schedule? “I don’t have a plan,” McKelvey says. “I’d like this to become a series with a few concerts every spring and summer. I’d love to see this at other people’s homes, in a way we could all share in the promotion of the event, and make it a community thing. I’m personally interested in a lot of Brazilian styles, but the intention is not just to do Brazilian music.”

An evening of choro in the summer of 2022 featured Cesar Garabini (guitar) and Dominique Gagne (flute).
An evening of choro in the summer of 2022 featured Cesar Garabini (guitar) and Dominique Gagne (flute).

Ideally, “these concerts should be kind of spontaneous and serendipitous,” she adds. “It makes it more fun that way. House concerts are social. You get to meet the musicians, chat with your neighbors and make friends. All this while sipping wine and enjoying the delicious food people bring to share.”

Choro Das 3 will perform at 6 p.m. on Aug. 17 at 10 Whitehill Place in Cold Spring. (In the event of rain, the performance will move inside.) Tickets are $25 and reservations are advised. Payments can be sent by Venmo to Sandy-McKelvey. Call 917-498-6262 with questions. Bring a dish to share or wine, beer or a non-alcoholic beverage.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Rooney has been writing for The Current since its founding in 2010. A playwright, she has lived in Cold Spring since 1999. She is a graduate of Binghamton University, where she majored in history. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: Arts