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Neither rain, nor cops, nor crabby neighbors can stop South Florida's house concerts

Offering performances almost every month (except in the summer) since then, the Singers established a Website (www.singerfolkmusic.com) to promote their shows and those of other organizations. They turned their home over to out-of-town acts such as David Roth and Jack Williams, opened their doors to ever-expanding crowds, and have traded sleep for the occasional post-concert late-night jam. Last December's gig, by eclectic quartet Still on the Hill, brought out 90 people. Although the couple admits their house has suffered some wear and tear over the past two years, they happily report that no priceless objects have disappeared, no fights have broken out, and irate neighbors have called the police on only one occasion.

On a Thursday night in 1999, legendary guitarist-singer Williams, whose endless endurance onstage has earned him a reputation as the Bruce Springsteen of folk music, got a bit carried away. He kept playing and playing. Around 11:00 p.m. a police officer knocked on the door and requested that the man on the karaoke machine cease and desist.

Williams stopped but the music continued at the Singer house, sometimes the site of two shows per month. Aptly named, the Singers are singers themselves and for a while opened for their headliners, providing that local component missing in many house concerts. As hosting duties began to outweigh performing, though, they gave up their shtick.

Gregg Cagno strums before supper in the Singers' back yard
Gregg Cagno strums before supper in the Singers' back yard
Second act: The Singers (foreground) and friends dish out the gourmet goodies
Second act: The Singers (foreground) and friends dish out the gourmet goodies


Information about South Florida house concerts is available on the Internet at www.singerfolkmusic.com, http://members.aol.com/souflafolk, www.browardfolkclub.com, and www.houseconcerts.com. Tickets generally range from $10 to $15. Reservations are required.

You see, Singer shows are different: "We do major food," Bob says proudly. Noting the expansive bright kitchen, pots and pans hanging from a rack suspended from the ceiling, and the hundreds of bottles of hot sauce lining the walls above and across from the cupboards, it's obvious someone in the Singer household is a serious cook. That would be Bob, who has taken to whipping up gourmet meals for intermission. Each concert has a culinary theme. In honor of Jack Williams's Southern heritage, Cajun deep-fried turkey and accompaniments were served. A few weeks ago, when the Singers welcomed Gregg Cagno from New Jersey and Dave Nachmanoff from California, East met West as Bob fired up his wok and created a spectacular four-course Chinese meal that included peanut chicken, barbecue pork, and steamed dumplings.

Upcoming gigs at the Singers' will feature Roth again, who will come down from Chicago, and Deidre Flint from Philadelphia, who will have the honor of performing the last show in that house. By March the Singers will have moved to a slightly smaller dwelling in a country club community a few miles south of their current residence. The concerts will not stop. Bob notes that the music -- and the great meals -- will live on in the community's roomy clubhouse, which is equipped with a large kitchen. "The feeling I get in my heart is so full," he said during the Cagno/Nachmanoff gig about putting on shows. "I can't tell you how great it is to do this."

Not everyone agrees. Perhaps it's best the Singers are moving. Around 11:00 on that night, as a few of the 50 concertgoers straggled behind, chatting in the living room, a perky Coral Springs policewoman appeared at the doorstep and asked that the party quiet down. The neighbors had grumbled once again. Chastened yet unfazed, the couple took getting busted with good humor. "She looked like Britney Spears," Saralyn chirped cheerfully about the cop. "I thought she was going to rip off her uniform any second and start dancing around!"

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