The Mainstay, Rock Hall’s 25-year-old non-profit music venue, is delighted to offer the first show of 2023 in its ongoing monthly series “First Friday with Joe Holt”. Joe is a highly regarded pianist/ jazz performer throughout the Delmarva Peninsula. He is well known on the Eastern Shore for his imaginative, whimsical improvisations, as well as being a sensitive accompanist and creative collaborator, and for creating a space for all in the audience to join him.
Starting in 2016, and running for the next four years Holt was the host of the “Mainstay Mondays” series. Each of these weekly programs featured a unique collaboration with a different regional performing artist, frequently from a variety of notably different genres (not only other musicians from different styles of jazz, but also soul musicians, acclaimed rock and pop artists, Gospel, classical performers, and even an interpretive dancer). At the start of the 2022 Mainstay season, Joe’s diverse programs shifted to a monthly format on the first Friday of every month, and a new “First Friday with Joe Holt” series was debuted.
Joe Holt’s first show in his 2023 “First Friday” series is scheduled for March 3rd. It features jazz pianist Allyn Johnson in a program Joe has titled simply “Two Pianos”.
Washington D.C. area music critics hail Johnson’s performances as “setting a standard for other performers to shoot for.”
A native of D.C., Johnson began playing the piano at the age of five and honed his technical facilities as the pianist in his uncle’s church. “I believe that my improvisational intuition probably developed from playing in that church,” Johnson has stated. He credits what Church musicians call this fluency ‘flowing in the Spirit.’
While Johnson received considerable local recognition early on, he never moved away in pursuit of the world stage. Instead, Johnson now stands as one of the most influential figures in the D.C. jazz scene, where he is known as both a performer who can consistently draw capacity crowds to venues, and an educator (he is the director of Jazz Studies at the University of the District of Columbia).
Showtime for the live concert event is 8 pm. Tickets are $20 in advance of the show and can be purchased online at mainstayrockhall.org. Phone reservations are accepted by calling (410) 639-9133 (tickets reserved by phone are $25 when paid at the door). The Mainstay is located at 5753 N Main Street in Rock Hall, Maryland.
The programs of the Mainstay are supported in part with funding from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Kent Cultural Alliance.