Starting in February of 2022, the Mainstay, Rock Hall, Maryland’s non-profit live music venue, will feature a new live show every week on its diverse, year-round schedule. Two new monthly performance series for the upcoming 2022 season will take their place in the calendar.
For the past five years, pianist Joe Holt was the host of the “Mainstay Mondays” series at the Mainstay. These weekly programs featured a unique collaboration with a different regional guest artist (from a variety of genres) every week. Holt is well known on the Eastern Shore for his imaginative, whimsical improvisations, as well as being a sensitive accompanist and collaborator, and for creating a space for all in the audience to join him. He commands a repertoire of moving ballads, familiar jazz tunes, as well as up-tempo burners. Starting this February, then on the First Friday of every month at 8 p.m., Joe will continue these collaborations as Host and Producer of the Mainstay’s new “First Fridays” series. Mainstay Director Matt Mielnick suggests that this is the perfect way to cap off a night’s entertainment following Chestertown’s First Friday daytime activities. Joe has announced his first few guests for the monthly series: On Friday, February 4 Joe presents a show he has named “In Love with Swing”.
His guest artists include Cody Leavel on sax and Amy Shook on the upright bass and vocals. Amy is well-known to local audiences as the co-leader of the all-women powerhouse 3-Divas Jazz Trio. Cody Leavel, from Rehoboth, DE joined the touring company of the Glenn Miller Orchestra immediately after graduating from college and has been playing professionally ever since. On Friday, March 4, Joe shares the stage with classical piano virtuoso Stephanie LaMotte. Stephanie is the Music Director of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Chestertown and the associate conductor and accompanist of the Chester River Chorale. This dual piano performance will be about a classical and a “jazz”/improvising pianist “navigating the universe together”. Joe quips that the show is the perfect occasion for a reminiscence of classical music humorist Victor Borge.
February 9th will also see the start of the Mainstay’s monthly Open Mic Night series. Subsequently, on the second Wednesday of every month (beginning at 7 p.m.) the Mainstay will welcome area performers to take the stage and perform a sampling of their repertoire. The invitation is open to musicians (individual and small ensemble players) who bring their own instruments to perform both cover songs and originals. The Mainstay provides the sound system, and a piano will be available onstage. The event is perhaps best suited for people who perform on acoustic instruments. The Open Mic also welcomes original poetry recitations and short comedy bits. Players will sign up for a spot in the evening rotation upon arriving and will appear on the program on a first-come-first-served basis. Mielnick adds that the Open Mic format also provides the chance for local musicians to support the talented Kent County musical community, whether they are amateurs or professionals. These events are open to the public and there is no admission charged.
The Mainstay is also renewing its commitment to featuring the area’s best jazz, bluegrass, Americana/ roots, Gospel, and blues in its 2022 calendar. For more information visit the website at mainstayrockhall.org or contact us (410) 639-9133