Live at Sunroom Concerts

One of the worst things about going to a concert can be the ride home, particularly if the venue is a fair distance away.

But Nancy Maliwesky has figured out a way around this. She hosts concerts at home. Problem solved.

Maliwesky is a year and-a-half into running Sunroom Songwriter’s Series House Concerts from the comfort of her Dover home in Nottingham Meadows. The venue is open to the public and seats 25 people comfortably. But reservations are required.

In less than two years, Maliwesky and her husband, Jerry, have attracted talent from around North America, including Canada. The couple, who are both singer-songwriters, primarily draw original acts specializing in folk, blues and Americana.

“We’re already booking into 2020,” Maliwesky said. “It’s crazy.”

Next on tap will be the duo Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt Saturday, the last show of the year.

Tell us something special about Aaron and Michael.

Aaron plays the guitar. Michael plays the cello, and I just love the cello; it’s a beautiful instrument. Michael’s aunt is Linda Ronstadt. So apparently the Ronstadt family is very musical. The way they work out their harmonies, and have the guitar and cello, it’s just really unique. They play more high-energy music, which is really fun. 

What inspired you to start Sunroom?

Two of our musician friends got in touch with us because they were going to be playing at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, Md. They had a gig on a Friday and then a gig on a Sunday in Salisbury. They were looking to find another gig to make it worth their while to come down here.

Since we hadn’t been in Delaware for too long, we weren’t too helpful with suggestions. The duo was Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers and Wendy Ramsay. Jeffrey asked, “How would you feel hosting a house concert?” He does house concerts in his house and he writes for the Acoustic Guitar magazine. He’s got a lot of performance experience and experience in the music industry.

So when he asked us, I said, “Sure, we’ll try it out. I can’t guarantee we’ll get a lot of people, because we don’t know a lot of people here. But we’ll try our best.”

We got between 15-20 people and it was wonderful. My husband and I started thinking maybe we should try to keep doing this.

What’s one of the revelations you’ve gotten from hosting house concerts?

House concerts are really becoming a larger source of income for musicians. There are so many musicians, and there’s only so many large venues. A lot of musicians can’t fill a huge venue. They’re certainly worth listening to, they’re wonderful and play locally. But on top of that when they make CDs, with streaming now, they make nothing in royalties.

It was bad enough when they were getting royalties from the old AM and FM radio stations. Now it’s become almost impossible to support yourself from airplay. So it’s a matter of piecing together performances and performance places so that musicians can make a living. House concerts have become a real source of income.