What better way to greet a new year than to know The Mainstay performing arts center in Rock Hall will be under the seasoned hand of newly hired Executive Director Matt Mielnik.
Mielnik, a Utica, New York native with an extensive background in professional performing arts presenting, looks forward to continuing The Mainstay’s three-decade tradition of showcasing top-notch musical talent.
“I’ve spent most of my adult working life in the presenting business, whether for profit or the non-profit sector,” he says.
Fresh out of college with a liberal arts degree, Mielnik opened a bar in upstate New York, where for six years, he experienced the power of live entertainment. The venue soon became a hotspot for musicians traveling from New York to Chicago.
From there, Mielnik took a job as a technical director with a museum offering classical ensembles, national touring companies, dance ensembles, and traveling children’s performers. Five years later, he found himself in another multi-performance venue in a nearby community and was tasked with developing their signature brand. This was an opportunity to express some of his tastes in music. An acoustic guitarist himself, Mielnik brought in musicians like Tom Rush and David Bromburg and at the same time promoted local arts, a combination he also sees as a key to The Mainstay’s longevity.
Mielnick is excited about The Mainstay’s future and says the outdoor pavilion will be an additional draw but wants to make sure everyone knows that it will not replace the intimacy of the indoor stage that has been the venue’s hallmark.
The new director is amazed at the quality of the local talent and cites pianist Joe Holt and his invitational ensembles as an example of the kind of performance he’s like to present. Mielnik says he is acutely aware of the great singers and musicians who reside in local communities.
“The plan for February is to have something every weekend with Joe Holt on Friday evenings and even some classical presentations throughout the year,” he says,
Mielnik wants The Mainstay to be known for its wide range of music rather than one particular genre like jazz or bluegrass. He wants to share that exploration with us.
Tom McHugh founded the Mainstay as a single concert that grew into a series in a rented space and then a year-round non-profit venue in its own building on Main Street in Rock Hall.
BTW, get tickets for The Mainstay’s New Year’s Eve Potluck with Joe Holt on December 31 at 5 pm soon!
This video is approximately seven minutes in length. For more information about The Mainstay, go here.