Madison woman hosts acoustic musicians in her home, creating intimate connections for small audience

These concerts aren't the typical house shows
Madison woman hosts acoustic musicians in her home, creating intimate connections for small audience
Courtesy of Shannel Trudeau-Yancey

When you hear the term “house concert” you might imagine walking up to one of the run-down houses occupied by college students on West Mifflin Street. Even before you enter you can hear the rumblings of loud music. Inside you find people crammed tightly together, grappling for the best view of the night’s band.

But imagine walking up to a humbly decorated home reminiscent of a North Woods cabin. You walk in the front door and are greeted by the scent of burning candles and freshly prepared tapas. Soft cushions are spread out on the floor to make your stay even more comfortable. In the corner of the room a musician is playing calming acoustic folk music.

Both settings are house concerts, but they couldn’t be more different — from the music they showcase to their intended audiences. House concerts aren’t a new idea, but the latter is more conducive to sipping from wine glasses than red Solo cups.

On the more genteel side, you’ll find Shannel Trudeau-Yancey’s Trudeau Sessions, an ongoing series of house concerts put on by Trudeau-Yancey in her home. Started a year ago, the sessions were created to pay homage to Trudeau-Yancey’s late father and their mutual love for playing and listening to music. The intimate atmosphere is cozy — as far from the campus scene as you can imagine.

Each session relies on a shared sense of authenticity and genuine connection between Trudeau-Yancey and the featured artist. She says those connections are what make the shows special, and that applies to everyone in attendance, too. After nearly every show, audience members chat with the artists, often building continuing relationships.Madison woman hosts acoustic musicians in her home, creating intimate connections for small audience

“It’s certainly not a moneymaker for me,” Trudeau-Yancey says. “It’s more about the love of music; it’s about connecting with these really crazy cool artists.”

While it’s no secret that Madison has a robust music scene, Trudeau-Yancey says the Trudeau Sessions are ultimately about providing an alternative, calm space for music to be shared.

“It’s a real different kind of intimate feeling that I think Madison needs,” Trudeau-Yancey says.

In the short time Trudeau-Yancey has been hosting the sessions, she’s gotten some great feedback from those who have attended the events. Trudeau-Yancey’s chiropractor — who she says has been to almost every show — even offered his home for a future session in the event that a featured musician has equipment that doesn’t fit in Trudeau-Yancey’s home.

Whether it’s the time spent mingling with people of all ages (Trudeau-Yancey says the crowds can span anywhere from 19 to nearly 80 years old), the cozy atmosphere or the incredibly talented musicians who bring the shows to life, Trudeau-Yancey has found her own little pocket of success in Madison’s music scene.

“It’s been really cool how it’s just sort of organically come together,” Trudeau-Yancey says.

Logan Rude is a digital content producer for News 3 Now and a former editorial intern at Madison Magazine.