• Across the bay event sold out
By Christina Whiting
Every July, Quiet Place Lodge transforms into a floating stage of live jazz and bluegrass music. The intimate gatherings feature world-class musicians and culinary delights that benefit the Homer Foundation. This feast for the senses is Halibut Cove Live, hosted by Pauli and Harmon Hall.
This year’s performers include the bluegrass and blues stylings of Todd Grebe and Cold Country, as well as the Dan Mac band, with Brad Shermock, the lead trumpet player for the Doc Severson band, and John “Pypes” Teamer joining them.
Located across the Bay from Homer in the quiet community of Halibut Cove, Quiet Place Lodge is situated on two and a half acres, directly across from popular Saltry Restaurant. About 150 people call Halibut Cove home in the summer. The number drops to 20-25 residents in the winter.
“Halibut Cove is a one big family of individuals who support each other,” Pauli Hall said. “Kids run free, surrounded by artists and fishermen.”
Quiet Place Lodge has been a work of love for Pauli and Harmon Hall for 19 years. Harmon came to Alaska from Texas with his family for the first time in 1959. Pauli’s first trip was in 1976, and then 1981, when she took her first college summer job cooking at a fish camp near King Salmon.
The Halls met during the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill clean-up, when Harmon was a terminal manager in Valdez and Pauli ran a 30-man camp of welders and crane operators. The couple fell in love and was eager to pursue their dream of running a lodge in Alaska. When they discovered Quiet Place Lodge on their two-year anniversary and found it for sale, they knew they were home.
The couple purchased the lodge in 1995, and spent eight years remodeling, renovating and upgrading the fixer-upper. The lodge was originally established in 1982 and consisted of plywood cabins, had no running water and was operated as a Bed and Breakfast.
“We did what we could with the money we had,” the Halls said. “We rewired, replumbed and put in a biocycle system, shutting down for one season to complete the upgrades.”
The Halls lived at the lodge year-round for four years, until it was time for their older son Garrett to go to kindergarten. They then moved the family — along with one-year-old Ian — to Homer. Since then, the family has wintered in Homer and summered in Halibut Cove. Halibut Cove Live has been a dream-come-true for the Halls. With a music degree and performance anxiety, Pauli thought hosting live music performances would allow her to surround herself with talent and bring music back into her life — without having to perform herself.
In 2006, when University of Alaska Anchorage Jazz Department Head Karen Strid connected with Peggy Stern, a New York City jazz pianist that Pauli had studied with in college, Pauli’s dream of creating a jazz festival in Homer began to take shape.
In 2008, Pauli collaborated with Jocelyn Shiro, Cherish McCollum, Karen Strid and Peggy Stern to create the First-Annual Homer Jazz Festival at the high school’s Mariner Theater. Stern performed jazz piano. This was followed by a jazz concert at The Saltry Restaurant in Halibut Cove, then at a cabin on their property and then in their main house.
Three years ago, Harmon purchased a random floating tubular structure, which the couple were unsure what to do with. Pauli awoke one morning with the idea to use it as a stage, and they followed up with an amphitheater to create a space to host live concerts. At the same time, they created a website and logo, and expanded the performances to include jazz, bluegrass and new music. Along with this change, they also stopped managing the lodge as a lodge, and began marketing it as an event destination: Halibut Cove Live presented by Quiet Place Lodge.
Pauli, Jill Berryman, Tia Pietsch, Joy Steward and four volunteer staff members pull concerts together over the course of six months. Musicians are secured in January and tickets go on sale in February or March. Plans for each year’s lineup begin with tide tables, as the floating dock requires an 18-foot plus tide.
When they realized the concerts drew people in from all over Anchorage and the lower Kenai Peninsula, the couple decided to use the concerts to provide a way for them to give back to the communities they love. Rather than becoming a nonprofit, however, they decided to team up with the Homer Foundation. Now, every year, the small venue for 60, raises about $30,000 in unrestricted revenue.
“We put those funds to work for our community,” said Joy Steward, Director of the Homer Foundation. “We distribute our investment income as grants that support a broad range of programs to help build healthier, more vibrant communities.”
The Halls said they would like to expand the performances to also include theater and comedy.
“I would love to host Red Green,” Pauli said.
They would also like to host four or five concerts, beginning as soon as next year. With all three of this year’s concerts already sold out, the Halls know they are onto a good thing and are making plans for next year’s lineup.
“It is fun to support new musicians and we hope to have bigger names as well, and more young people,” Pauli said. “This is all a dream come true.”
Visit halibutcovelive.com for more information.
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