(Guest post by Allison Volk – I’m frequently asking my boyfriend if he wants to attend this or that performance. Don’t get me wrong, Colin loves live performance, too, but when I asked him whether he wanted to go to a Deborah Henson-Conant harp concert, his response was, “Sure. Classical stuff?”

I laughed and said, “No, look, you don’t understand. DHC (as I like to call her) isn’t your typical harpist. She’s kind of like a Hells Angel version of a harpist… she’s a rock star.”

He couldn’t wrap his head around exactly what I meant by that (a Hells Angel harpist? Does she have tattoos? Does she knife people?), so I just laughed and bought the tickets.

Alright, maybe “Hells Angel” isn’t really the right term – but let me tell you, DHC is a sight to see on stage. You’ll never catch her in a frumpy “harpist” gown. She shows up in black leather boots, tight leggings and some sort of rhinestone-studded bustier that shows off her fit physique (gotta keep in shape for those long stints on stage!).

I knew we were in for an awesome night of live music.

The “Theater” was literally a Garden Patio

It was a warm Los Angeles evening, and as Colin and I approached the address we were uncertain as to whether we were in the right place. We were in a residential area of Pasadena – did the GPS steer us wrong?

Then I realized: this performance wasn’t in a concert hall, it was in someone’s backyard! But a transformed backyard lit with glowing lamps and full of people seated beneath the trees, like at a concert.

An usher checked our names off the list and directed us to our folding chairs, arranged facing a staircase leading into the house.

Glowing red and blue lights were directed toward the landing at the top of this short staircase. We took our seats.

I was struck by the element of transformation: even though we were in a domestic setting, it felt… exciting. As soon as we passed the garden gate it became a theater.

That was a metaphor for what I knew was about to happen: I knew I was getting an intimate, VIP experience with a world-class musician. We waited anxiously for the show to start.

DHC Enters Stage Center … through Patio Doors

From the moment DHC set foot on stage, I was captivated. You know how you can go to some music concerts and (be honest) your mind starts to wander? You start to think about the grocery list, or how you’re going to get your next client, or whether the babysitter secretly invited her boyfriend over after you left?

There was no room for that kind of mind wandering in this concert. Deborah demands that the audience stay on their toes all night with her electric performance.

She’ll tell a story, give a look to the audience, and everyone will start laughing. It’s interactive. She’ll ask the audience a question, and people will actually respond! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an audience so engaged through the entire performance. Kudos to DHC.

I believe that part of her appeal and magnetism on stage is her ability to be completely honest. If she messes up, she’ll laugh at herself and she might even say something like, “Wow, I missed a lever there, that’s embarrassing!”

She doesn’t hide her mistakes – she spins off them, incorporating them to the point that you start thinking how boring a performance would be if everything was perfectly according to plan.

Her honestly is so refreshing that the audience laughs along and eagerly soaks up the next phrase. You start thinking about your own mistakes in a whole new way.  Are they really mistakes?  Who are you striving to be perfect for?  And is that really perfect??

I caught Colin laughing and tapping his foot through much of the show. On the way home, we talked about how present DHC was through the entire concert… and how sad we are that she mostly performs on the East Coast!

Get Happy!

Well, this weekend, she’s back at the backyard in Pasadena and if you’re anywhere near get your tickets NOW , get ready to transform (and let me know what happens!)


Allison Volk is an award-winning actress, harpist and professional writer based in Los Angeles. Her scripts have been produced on both coasts. To learn more about her work, visit www.allisonvolk.com. For stalking purposes, you can find her on Instagram as @allisonvolk.

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