Before we performed, we twirled.

My name is Frances. I am Eleanore’s sister. I play the piano. One of the ways I have fun with music is hosting parlour parties.

A long time ago, people used to get fancy and get together in their parlours to eat cakes, play games and perform for each other. They did not have phones, computers, iPads, mini iPads, iPods, or TVs.

Instead, they sang for each other, played instruments for each other, and recited poetry.

 

 

 

 

In my parlour parties, I decided that it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to play an instrument or sing or recite poetry. You just share what you love. One friend even performed a gymnastics routine on her balance beam. Another friend showed us her Baby Bell mini wax sculptures. I host a party about every 8 weeks and so my friends are always thinking about what they’ll perform next. If you’re nervous and it’s your first time, you can always perform a duet!

Parlour Parties are really easy and fun to host! Just read these 10 easy tips:

1. Tell your friends to get fancy or handsome. I wear a dress that my grandma wore when she was younger. You can find clothes at thrift stores, too.

2. Find a place to have your parlour parties. Mine is in my very, very small living room, but we all squish just fine. If you have a hot climate, you could do it outside! Maybe a classroom would work, or a gym.

3. Invite a special musical guest. This person should be a professional musician–or practically one. I invited my piano / voice teacher, Donna Axton, to play piano for my first parlour party. Having a special musical guest makes me feel more confident because the musical guest always goes first.

4. Find some good parlour games. They are usually very old-fashioned. I found mine on the internet.

5. Make a good dessert, like cakes or cupcakes. I make mine with my aunt and grandma. Serve lemonade!

6. Everyone who comes in the door HAS to be dressed up. Parents included.

7. Make a program. I write mine out in fancy writing. And then with my dad’s help, I burn the edges to make it look old.

8. Invite your friends at least 4 weeks ahead of time so they have lots of time to practice!

9. The host has to be very confident when she/he introduces the performers.

10.  Be ready to let new things happen! At the end of my first parlour party, a couple of families stayed late and we had a Blue’s jam session with guitars and my piano. It was totally unplanned. And very fun!

If you have any questions, or if you host a parlour party and want us all to see some of the pictures and tell us about it, just email me through my sister’s email on this website. I will write you back or post your pictures or comments on this page!

 

Parlour Party Sunday April 14

Frances explains the “Slow Arts” at the Bookshelf, our beloved local bookstore.

Frances Joy’s introduction to the latest Parlour Party:

Hi. My name is Frances. Welcome to our Parlour Party.

We are grateful to be here in the Bookshelf where we get to present and celebrate the SLOW ARTS.

These days, there are so many gadgets to compete against it’s overwhelming. They draw us into them…kind of like quicksand…and it can get hard to breathe.

A long time ago people spent lots of time in parlours… singing, playing piano, playing violin, reading poetry & passages from books, and performing jokes and plays, etc.

I wanted to bring back Parlour Parties. Partly because they are calming, settling & inspiring.  Partly because they help us breathe. Partly because we get to wear fancy, frilly, old-fashioned clothes and partly because we get to share our “other sides” we don’t normally get to share.

So. Thank YOU for being here.  Thank you, all my friends, for being brave and performing.  THANK YOU, Emily Tessmer, for being our special musical guest.  Thank YOU, Crux Events for giving us the stage.  Thank YOU, Elizabeth Bell’s first grade class, for making the paper flowers.  And finally, thank you to the Bookshelf, for being the place we can come to buy good books.

 

Eleanore and Daniella play a duet

 

Lily tells the story of the Big Mouth Frog as Catherine the Great rests on the shelf

Brian Hess of Quartet Minus One & his son Orland step in to “Stir it Up” with the Kates’ family band Late for Dinner. Emily Tessmer accompanies!

Okay, true: we used a bit of electricity this time…and, yes, even a stage! But the larger space made it possible for us to invite coaches, teachers, mentors, grandparents, and lots of new friends!

Friends thank Frances Joy for a wonderful party with flowers & a certificate to the Bookshelf!

 

On July 11, we hosted a parlour party in downtown Truckee for Truckee Thursdays!!

Suddenly, the parlour party wasn’t in a parlour anymore! We had amps and PAs and mics but we still dressed up!

Our audience? Friends, family and strangers! Lots and lots of them! We didn’t think people would stay the full 2 hours. But they did.

You all did a great job. Thank you.

Here are some pictures.

 

Waiting to cross the tracks to Truckee Thursdays and the side stage!

 

A really neat view from above Moody’s Bistro