What is Dark Dining Room?
Matthew Larsen is a singer/songwriter who started doing these types of shows after going through cancer treatment at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in 2005. Recovery was slow and isolating, so he started inviting musicians over to play their songs in his mostly empty unlit dining room. There was something special about being in a cozy room with a group of other people listening to live music in the dark. It made everyone focus on the performance and enjoy a shared experience.
Since then, Dark Dining Room shows have been held in houses, lofts, apartments, galleries, and museums throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond. Past performers include The Low Anthem, David Berkeley, Heather Maloney, Winterpills, Kaiser Cartel, Luray, Amber Rubarth, Native Run, Will Stratton, Matthew Carefully, Haunt, Andrew Vladeck, Dennis Crommett, Henning Ohlenbusch, Colorway, Darlingside, and Matthew Larsen and The Documents.
As a nod to Matthew’s cancer history, certain shows have been held to raise money for charitable organizations that make a difference in the cancer community. Dark Dining Room has raised money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, American Cancer Society, The SAMFund, and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Typically, organizations such as these are highlighted in some way at each show.
Matthew Larsen and Greg Saulmon coordinate the Dark Dining Room series as well as perform in Matthew Larsen and The Documents.
Wistariahurst Museum Series
From Feb – May, 2014, the Dark Dining Room concert series was invited to use The Music Room at the Wistariahurst Museum. Wistariahurst is the former home of two generations of the Skinner Family, manufacturers of nationally renowned silks and satins, and prominent residents of Holyoke. The 26 room grand estate and gardens have been a focal point in the Holyoke landscape since 1874.
Performers included Winterpills, Luray, Rosary Beard, Heather Maloney, Mark Schwaber, Colorway, David Berkeley, and Matthew Larsen and The Documents. Catering was provided by Tony Jones Catering.
The museum location was ideal, and we hope to use this and similar spaces in the future.