The Mainstay has been presenting Mainstay Mondays with Joe Holt for some time now. Each Monday, from 7-8:30 pm, musician extraordinaire Joe Holt has invited a different outstanding local musician or group to join him to bring a variety of talents and genres to the community. It has become one of the more popular features on the Mainstay’s calendar. And one of the few places where you can listen to live music on a weekday!
Singer Barbara Ferris joins Holt for a return engagement at the Mainstay Monday concert this Monday, Oct. 22. She will be singing jazz gems from Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin along with other standards. In addition, Ferris will perform an original improvisational song, “I Hear You Calling,” based on the traditional “kulning” – a calling song with which ancient shepherdesses called their flocks down from the mountains. Ferris describes it as “a poem put to music” and adds that it is her “first attempt at writing anything for the public.”
Ferris is familiar to local audiences from her performances with “Sam’s Jazzy Swing” group, which gave concerts at Church Hill Theatre and the Mainstay as well as various venues around the area. She also appeared as Golda in “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Garfield Center. Currently, Ferris is working to recruit musicians for the house tour at this year’s Dickens of a Christmas sponsored by Main Street Chestertown.
Ferris was born in New York and spent her early years there and in Massachusettes. The family then moved to North Carolina which she still considers home. A graduate of Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia, she combined an English major and an applied voice minor as a classical mezzo-soprano. She traveled throughout the southeast USA with the college’s concert choir as both a choir member and a soloist. Ferris also won first place in the advanced mezo-soprano division of the southeastern region competition sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She followed college with appearances with various groups in the North Carolina area, and as guest vocalist with the Appalachian State University and Campbell College jazz bands. Her musical career over the years has included multiple appearances at concerts, festivals, and restaurants, not to overlook weddings and many other occasions. Many local students have received the benefits of Ferris’s professional expertise while she was employed as a speech-language pathologist in the Kent County Schools for seven years.
As the Mainstay website says about the Monday evening programs: “Each week is a unique, one of a kind show. Seating is casual and tables are available (bring your own dinner, if you like), along with a cash bar. Doors open at 6:30 pm with the show starting at 7:00 and running until about 8:30.” Admission is $10.