Rockabilly by Josh Christina at the Mainstay, Oct. 14

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Josh Christina

Josh Christina, a Baltimore based rockabilly and country singer and songwriter in brings his band for a good-time FallFest concert at The Mainstay in Rock Hall on Saturday Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. Admission is $17 in advance and $20  at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Josh Christina is only in his early twenties but already he has been dazzling audiences from Baltimore to Nashville with his piano and vocals. He is a ridiculously good piano player, born into a musical family in Baltimore who has spent the last 15 years of his life honing his sound. It’s a danceable combination of country, classic rock, big band and rockabilly with influences from Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and maybe even a little Elton John. It’s a sound distinctly his own and there’s a modern streak as recent influences have included Adele, Charlie Puth, Chris Stapleton, and Meghan Trainor.

This is concert is the culmination of a day of music, crafts, food and fun at Rock Hall’s annual Fallfest billed as a celebration of Family, Community and Oysters.

Christina’s most recent recording, “I’m 21” (a reference to his age) was released last year and was produced in Nashville by Kent Wells (who has worked with Dolly Parton) and features the title song as well as other originals such as ‘Rockabilly Saturday Night’ and ‘Kiss Me when You’re Sober.’

Christina’s personal journey began at age six, when he took an interest in the King,  Elvis Presley. “Hearing Elvis for the first time, I remember thinking his sound was so unique and raw. I watched DVD’s of his performances – my favorite was his 1954 performance of That’s All Right. His sound was so clean, yet so edgy. As I developed as an artist, I found myself gravitating toward that same sound.”

By eight, Christina had organized a Junior Blues Brothers act that performed regularly at venues in the Baltimore area. At 15, he began playing piano after taking a trip to New York City with his parents to see Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway. “While I bought tickets out of my love for Elvis, I remember being blown away by the stylings of Jerry Lee Lewis… He had such flare. He redefined the piano for me.”

With his newfound passion for piano, Christina began writing, drawing inspiration from the “simple, yet clever, corny rhymes” of writers Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Stevie Ray Vaughn. After graduating from Dulaney High School in 2013, the Cockeysville native went to work on his debut album. “Man From Another Time,” featured several rock and roll and rockabilly covers, along with a few original songs written by Christina.

His sophomore effort, “Good Old Love,” released in 2015 was produced by Wells in Nashville. “Making your debut in the Nashville scene – a scene currently dominated by pop country – is tough. I couldn’t have landed in better hands. From the start, Kent insisted on embracing my vintage rockabilly sound.”

And on the subject of Nashville’s pop country dominance, Christina isn’t worried, “I think the country genre is beginning to shift back to its roots. Meghan Trainor has done it with the pop genre, taking it back to its roots with her sound’s doo-wop influence. Bruno Mars has done the same in R&B with notes of funk in his sound. Slowly but surely, artists in the country genre are putting their foot down and adding notes of classic country and rock to their sound. If anything, I feel I’m at a bit of an advantage. My sound isn’t headed that direction. It’s already there.”

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

October 16      Joe Holt welcomes Chuck Redd

October 21      Sue Matthews: Matthews Sings Porter

October 23      Joe Holt welcomes Rebekah Hock

October 30      Joe Holt welcomes Brad Chaires

November 4    Peter and Will Anderson Quartet featuring Chuck Redd

 

Old Songs, Old Blues, Old Bay — Tom McHugh at The Mainstay, Oct. 7

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Song collector, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom McHugh returns to The Mainstay, the little performing arts center he founded in Rock Hall, Saturday October 7, 2017 at 8 p.m for an evening of old songs, old blues and Chesapeake flavored music with his musical pals, Bill Matthews, Tom Anthony and the award-winning guitarist Guthrie Matthews. Admission is $15 in advance and $18 at the door.

This will be a lively evening of song with Tom McHugh on vocals, banjo, kazoo and blues harp, Bill Matthews on guitar and vocals, Tom Anthony on bass and their special guest Guthrie Matthews, a gifted guitarist who has made a name for himself on the Eastern shore and beyond, on guitar and vocals.

They are calling this evening Old Songs, Old Blues, Old Bay. The Old Songs part refers to some of McHugh’s favorite songs from the folk revival of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s including songs from such legendary sources such as Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton along with commentary about the people and times. The Old Blues are Delta and early Chicago blues from the likes of Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton and Lightning Hopkins. The Old Bay refers to some of the songs McHugh has written and the stories he tells about the Chesapeake and the people who work the water and live on its shores.

Tom McHugh has been a teacher and a collector of songs and stories most of his life. When not teaching, he’s taking what he’s learned and putting it into song or finding a way to promote the arts in the community or in a learning setting. He taught at Washington College and then at Vassar before retiring back to Kent County and eventually founded and ran the Mainstay for nearly 20 years. Since retiring from there he’s been working to help connect community artists to the public schools and playing music whenever he can.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar. The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Mainstay sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website. Follow the Buy Tickets link to buy tickets at the advance price. If you would rather pay at the door, you can make a reservation by calling 410-639-9133 and pay by cash or check at the door.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

October 9        Joe Holt welcomes Rosemary Benson

October 14      The Josh Christina Band (A FallFest Concert)

October 16      Joe Holt welcomes Chuck Redd

October 21      Sue Matthews: Matthews Sings Porter

October 23      Joe Holt welcomes Rebekah Hock

October 30      Joe Holt welcomes Brad Chaires

John Rimel and Tom Proutt at The Mainstay Sept 23

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John Rimel and Tom Proutt

Virginia songwriters and singers John Rimel and Tom Proutt will be in concert at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD on Saturday September 23, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $15 if purchased in advance and $18 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

John Rimel and Tom Proutt are Virginia songwriters who share the stage for Americana and gospel-influenced performances of their original songs. Their music ranges from folk, rock, country and bluegrass to blues, Cajun, and gospel styles but this is a chance to hear them and their songs as they were written with just guitar, piano and vocals.

John Rimel’s thought-provoking lyrics span a wide range of topics and his musical sensibilities are just as broad. He was a winner in the American Song Festival and the Music City Song Festival. He secured his first of many album cuts on the Statler Brothers’ 1983 release, “Today”.

Since that time, he has had songs recorded on seven Top 10 albums, including a Billboard #1 country album as well as a #1 bluegrass album. In addition to the Statler Brothers, his songs have been recorded by Dailey & Vincent and Jimmy Fortune with whom he shares a number of co-writes including “More Than A Name On A Wall,” a top 10 hit, named the 1990 Country Song of the Year.

An excellent piano player who has done a lot of session work, Rimel has also toured nationally as the keyboardist for the Jimmy Fortune Band and has performed his songs on the Grand Ole Opry.

Tom Proutt was born in Maryland and now resides in Virginia. He has a 40-year career as a singer and songwriter and is a voting member of The Recording Academy (The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) that produces and awards the Grammys. His work was considered for a Grammy in 2015 and 2016. He is in demand as a studio musician throughout the mid-Atlantic region.  His music is frequently aired nationally on NPR and PBS stations.

Kent County’s own Mary Simmons will sing harmony with Rimel and Proutt on some of their songs.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Mainstay sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website. Follow the Buy Tickets link to buy tickets at the advance price. If you would rather pay at the door, you can make a reservation by calling 410-639-9133 and pay by cash or check at the door.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

September 23 John Rimel and Mike Proutt

September 25 Joe Holt welcomes Van Albert

September 30 Michel Nirenberg Quartet

October 2  Joe Hold welcomes Barbara Parker

October 7  Tom McHugh with Bill Matthews, Tom Anthony and special guest Guthrie Matthews

 

Melissa Aldana at the Mainstay Friday, Sept. 15

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Melissa Aldana

The acclaimed Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldan brings her quartet to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, on Friday September 15 at 8 p.m. Admission is $22 if purchased in advance and $25 at the door.

This engagement of Melissa Aldana is funded through the Mid Atlantic Tours program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Melissa Aldana is an acclaimed tenor saxophonist who is a native of Santiago Chile but is now based in New York. As a child, Aldana studied with her renowned saxophonist father Marcos Aldana (son of saxophonist Enrique Aldana, whose Selmer Mark VI tenor Melissa performs with to this day).

Her first instrument was alto sax but after hearing the landmark Sonny Rollins recording,  + 4  at the age of 12, she switched to tenor and never looked back. In a recent interview with Jon Solomon at Westwords, the Denver arts and culture publication, she said of Rollins, “I just heard a deep voice, a human voice when I heard him. And something clicked in me. I was like, ‘Yeah, this is my voice. This is what I’m really hearing.’ It just deeply connected to that. Sonny had one of the greatest sounds, but then it kind of changed my whole perspective about what sound means. Sound is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about a great musician. So it was like I heard his sound and heard his soul, pretty much. I was so young, so I couldn’t — it’s more related to the feeling more than understanding what he was doing.”

In 2007, she received the Berklee Presidential Scholarship and moved to the US to study improvisation and composition with George Garzone and others at Berklee and to pursue jazz at a higher level.

After graduating on 2009, she moved to New York City where she resides. She has become a fixture on the city’s jazz scene, performing with her own quartet and as a “sideman” at the best New York clubs and concert halls like, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Village Vanguard, The Blue Note, Iridium, Smalls, Jazz Gallery and  Birdland. She will be headlining at Birdland a few days before her Mainstay date.

Aldana has also played in international jazz festivals like the Montreal Jazz Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, Festival Jazzuv Mexico and Festival de Jazz de Madrid, Spain.

In 2013, she became the first female instrumentalist and the first South American ever to win the Thelonious Monk Competition. She is also a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Jazz at Lincoln Center and a double recipient of the Altazor Award, Chile’s highly prestigious national arts prize.

The New York Times called her most recent recording, the explorative and deeply swinging, Back Home, “a supremely focused statement.” The intricacies and unpredictability of her solos, as well as the subtlety of her interactions with her collaborators, make for fascinating listening. The closer you listen, the deeper the reward.

Joining Aldana are Sam Harris on piano, Pablo Menares on bass and Jimmy Mcbride on drums.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website. Follow the Buy Tickets link to buy tickets at the advance price. If you would rather pay at the door, you can make a reservation by calling 410-639-9133 and pay by cash or check at the door.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

 

September 18 Joe Holt welcomes Paul Midiri and Mike McShane

September 23 John Rimel and Mike Proutt

September 25 Joe Holt welcomes Van Albert

September 30 Michel Nirenberg Quartet

Greg Hatza Organ-iztion at The Mainstay, Saturday, Sept. 2

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Greg Hatza

Greg Hatza, one of the great, unsung heroes of the jazz organ brings his group to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Saturday September 2,  at 8 p.m. for an evening of blues, R&B and soul  jazz.

An acknowledged master of the jazz organ, an expressive instrument that bears traditions ranging from gospel to blues. Hatza coaxes his own brand of rootsy, blues-based jazz from the instrument, a funky, soulful, sinuous sound that satisfies the groove junkie in every listener.

A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Hatza’s musical instincts developed as early and as naturally as the ability to walk, and by the age of four, he was picking out blues and boogie woogie tunes on the piano and started formal lessons shortly thereafter. He became obsessed with the Hammond B3 organ as a teen when a friend turned him on to records by Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Ray Charles, and Johnny Hammond Smith. At 16, he played his first professional jazz gig with the Frankie Scott Trio, playing around small towns in central Pennsylvania.

Because there were no jazz organ instructors at the time, he was largely self-taught, learning from local and visiting organ players at jam sessions at a local club called the Grand Hotel.

It was at the Grand, that Baltimore Colts football great and jazz fan Lenny Moore heard him and asked the teenager to perform at a club he was opening in Baltimore. Moore became his manager and Baltimore became Hatza’s home. He played at the club for four years and during that time recorded two albums for MCA subsidiary label Coral Records, “The Wizardry of Greg Hatza” and “Organized Jazz.”

In the late sixties, Baltimore was still an organ town and had its share of great players. Hatza really got a chance to hone his jazz organ skills by playing with the best musicians in town. Moore’s club was a great stopping point for national jazz artists who came to Baltimore to perform.  It was here that Hatza met his mentor Jimmy Smith and got to play with him. He also met and got to play in jam sessions with such personalities as Kenny Burrell, Groove Holmes, Damita Joe, Philly Joe Jones, Roland Kirk, Les McCann, James Moody, and Sonny Stitt.

With the trend towards more advanced electronic keyboard and rhythms, Hatza adapted to the trend, switching from the Hammond B-3 to the electric keyboard and piano. He played in different be-bop groups and as a member of the contemporary fusion band Moon August which was awarded the title “Cultural Ambassadors” for the city of Baltimore under then Mayor Kurt Schmoke. The group traveled to Kawasaki, Japan for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Kawasaki/Baltimore Sister City Exchange.

Since then Hatza has become a fixture on the Baltimore jazz scene. He received a degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory, and a Master’s from Baltimore’s Towson State University, where he taught jazz, piano composition, improvisation and music theory for many years turning students on to the wonders of the organ as well.

He also expanded his stylistic scope to include distinct international elements studying tabla, sitar and erhu, a two-stringed Chinese fiddle.

In 1994, Greg met Joey DeFranscesco who told him the Hammond B-3 was enjoying a popular renaissance.  He formed the Greg Hatza ORGANization and has been performing and recording on the instrument non-stop since that time. For the last fifteen years, in partnership with the Rev. Dred Scott, he formed a group called Jazz in the Sanctuary which performs jazz-gospel concerts throughout the tri-state area. Hatza also currently serves as the Choir and Music Director at St. Gregory the Great Church in Baltimore and performs Indian/World Music fusion with the Grammy nominated group Melodic Intersect.

About his latest recording, “Digging Up My Roots,” Hatza says, “The music on this CD is a collection of R&B and Blues songs that I grew up with in Reading, Pa.”

“My father owned a small restaurant that had a juke box which had all the current R&B, blues, and rock & roll songs. When the box was serviced for new records, they gave the old 45’s to my father who in turn gave them to me.”

“When I was around 14, I bought my first Hammond organ, the compact M series. Around the same time I joined an African American R & B band that played current and older R&B and Blues songs. I must acknowledge that the African American community in Reading and later in Baltimore was very embracing of me and my music and was very instrumental in helping to form my career as a jazz organist.”

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Admission is $15 if purchased in advance and $18 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

September 4    Joe Holt welcomes Beth McDonald

September 7    Katie Thiroux

September 11  Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Tom Baldwin, bass

September 16  Melissa Aldana

September 18 Joe Holt welcomes Paul Midiri and Mike McShane

September 23 John Rimel and Mike Proutt

Katie Thiroux Opens Chestertown Jazz Festival Sept. 7 at Mainstay

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Katie Thiroux

Acclaimed bassist, vocalist and composer Katie Thiroux headlines the opening night of The Chestertown Jazz Festival in a concert at The Mainstay in Rock Hall on Thursday September 7, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $25 in advance and at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

A compelling composer as well as a powerful performer, Katie Thiroux has garnered considerable attention for her bravura bass playing, assured singing and compelling compositions. With the release of her debut album, “Introducing Katie Thiroux” (2015), her substantial gifts as a bandleader and recording artist are also on view. This release received many awards including “Debut Record of the Year” from the Huffington Post, All About Jazz, the Jazz Journalists Association and “Top 5 Debut Records of the Year” from NPR Jazz Critics Poll. Other accolades include being a 2015 semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Competition, featured on WBGO’s “The Checkout,” Downbeat magazine and NPR.

Her new release, “Off Beat,” was released mid-August. On it, she lends a contemporary flair to mainstream stylings and carries on the hard swinging tradition of such bass masters as Ray Brown and John Clayton, while channeling the buoyant vocal finesse of iconic singers including Anita O’Day, Chet Baker and Ella Fitzgerald. She and her combo offer in-the-moment jazz that draws upon the rich history of the music, from swing to bebop and beyond.

Thiroux’s recent performances with her quartet include the Blue Note, Birdland, the San Jose Summer Jazz Fest, NAMM and the Juneau Jazz and Classics Festival. In May 2017 Thiroux paid tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live as a featured performer and musical director at the request of the Grammy Foundation.

The Mainstay’s former Director, Rory Trainor, booked Thiroux for the festival’s opening night just before he moved back to Milwaukee last Spring, according to the festival’s organizer Mel Repelyea. Right after that, Quincy Jones booked Thiroux and her quartet for a two-month stand at Jones’s jazz club in Dubai this past summer but she’ll be back in time for this date.

Coming from a musical family in Los Angeles, Thiroux was surrounded by music; beginning with violin lessons at age 4. She switched to the acoustic bass at age 8. While continuing her studies on bass, Katie explored both jazz and classical vocal styles; landing principal roles in the LA Opera and Opera Pacifica by the age of 10. Captivated by an early recording of Lionel Hampton, Katie was driven to pursue her love for jazz and began studying privately with jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton at age 12.

In 2005, Thiroux began a mentorship with John Clayton that started at the Vail Jazz Party and later that year she received the Los Angeles Jazz Society award, “Shelly Manne New Talent.” In 2006 she was awarded the Phil Ramone Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College of Music. Upon graduation, Thiroux was asked to teach at the Berklee International School in Ecuador, Quito. She then treturned to her native Los Angeles and completed a Masters of Jazz Bass from California State University of Long Beach.

In addition to work with her quartet, Thiroux is an active member of the Larry Fuller Trio and has been heard with, among others, pianists Justin Kauflin, Bill Cunliffe, Geri Allen, Helen Sung, Tamir Hendelman and Eric Reed, trumpeters Brian Lynch and Terrell Stafford,  saxophonists Jeff Clayton, Charles McPhearson and Ken Peplowski, guitarists Mundell Lowe and Larry Koonse, drummers Terri Lynne Carrington, Lewis Nash and Jeff Hamilton, and vocalists Patti Austin, Niki Harris and Tierney Sutton.

She has performed at jazz festivals in the United States, Mexico, Germany, Finland, Serbia, Singapore and Switzerland as both a leader and a sideman and often incorporates workshops for students and audiences into her schedule. It is her passionate belief that exposure to jazz history, culture and styles is vital in keeping the music alive and thriving. Her swinging bass, clear vocals and inspired instrumental arrangements are reflective of her musical idols both past and present and her knowledge, perseverance and fervor for the music make her a rising star in today’s scene.

Nevin Dawson: The Versatile Viola at the Mainstay, Aug. 26

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Nevin Dawson

Nevin Dawson will showcase the many facets of the viola, the oft-forgotten middle child between the violin and cello at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Saturday August 26, 2017 at 8 p.m. Admission is $15 if purchased in advance and $18 at the door. He will be joined by Philip Dutton on keyboards, Rebekah Hock on oboe and sax, Tom Anthony on bass and guitar, and Ray Anthony on drums.

In performance and in life Dawson has moved seamlessly from classical music to Celtic to jazz and to rock. He tells  how he grew from a third grader playing Twinkle Twinkle into a cross-genre professional and on stage he demonstrates many of the stops along the way.

He will perform solo and in various combinations with his back up musicians and build a one-man band using a looper pedal. There will even be a few vocal numbers.

Dawson studied viola at Penn State University while earning a degree in Forestry. He has played with many symphonies and chamber ensembles, including Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.

He currently teaches violin, viola, and cello at Music Life in Chestertown and plays with Shore Strings, the Dover Symphony, and is featured on seven recordings. He is equally at home playing his own compositions and arrangements, performing Celtic music with Meredith Hadaway’s group, Harp and Soul, or providing sensitive back-up in the Pam Ortiz Band.

He performs solo shows, including the introductory programs for the National Music Festival’s Fiddlesticks grade school education program and sings with the Chester River Chorale/Chester Chamber Singers.

He was a member of the Red Devil Moon ensemble, presenting the new musical by Robert Earl Pice and Pam Ortiz that was selected to participate in the 2017 NYC Fringe Festival.

He lives in Chestertown with his wife and son, and serves as Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator with University of Maryland Extension during the day.

The Mainstay sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website. Follow the Buy Tickets link to buy tickets at the advance price. If you would rather pay at the door, you can make a reservation by calling 410-639-9133 and pay by cash or check at the door.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

August 28 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes John Thomas, Saxophone

September 2 The Greg Hatza Organ-ization

September 4 Joe Holt welcomes Beth McDonald

September 7 Katie Thiroux

September 11 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Tom Baldwin, bass

September 16 Melissa Aldana

Jan Knutson Headlines at the Mainstay

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Jan Knutson

Jan Knutson, the young jazz guitarist mentored by Frank Vignola headlines at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD on Saturday, August 19, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $15 if purchased in advance and $18 at the door. Knutson will be joined by Grif Kazmierczak on violin, mandolin and trumpet and Eddie Hrybyk on bass. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Jan Knutson is a dazzling 18-year-old guitarist who has been playing for 9 years. He has studied with such luminaries as Rodney Jones, Steve Abshire, Paul Wingo, Shawn Purcell, Frank Vignola, Frank Latino, and Heather McKay in addition to online lessons with Martin Taylor.

Knutson has appeared as a guest artist at The Mainstay with guitarists such as Frank Vignola, Bucky Pizzarelli, Steve Abshire and Martin Taylor. In this, his Mainstay debut as a bandleader, Knutson and his trio will be playing music ranging from Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz to classic jazz standards. He will be joined by Grif Kazmierczak on violin, mandolin and trumpet and Eddie Hrybyk on bass.

His first performance at The Mainstay was when he was given a solo after a Frank Vignola guitar workshop.

Knutson says, “The Mainstay is a very special place to me. As you mentioned on your website, it was the first place I met and played with Frank Vignola who has been a truly great mentor and teacher to me. It was also the first place I played with Bucky Pizzarelli and Martin Taylor. It is a real privilege to play there again.”

He has performed at many other venues including Strathmore Mansion and the Kennedy Center and with artists such as Frank Vignola, Al Caiola, and Olie Soikelli at The Cutting Room in New York City, and with Frank Vignola at Germano’s in Baltimore, and the Djangoary Festival in Richmond, VA.

Jan Knutson

Jan Knutson was 2016 Artist in Residence at the Strathmore Music Center in Rockville, MD, the guitarist for the 2016 Jazz Band of America, won first prize in the 2015 Shenandoah Conservatory Jazz Soloist Competition and has performed as a soloist with the US Army Blues.  He was a member of the elite Jazz At Lincoln Center Summer Jazz Academy in Summer 2015 and 2016, attended the prestigious Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz program and in May 2016 he was featured with Frank Vignola, Julian Lage, Vinny Raniolo, and Olli Soikkeli at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This past June, he performed at the Syracuse Jazz festival and will be the featured jazz artist at the Richmond Folk Festival in October 2017.

He recorded his first CD, Out of Nowhere, produced by Frank Vignola in August of 2014 at Sweetfoot Studio in Easton MD.  The recording has been played on radio stations across the country and was reviewed in Just Jazz Guitar magazine. His second recording, Looking Both Ways, is on the Patuxent Music label and was released last year. The recording is a mix of standards and originals and includes solo guitar and combo performances featuring some of the finest musicians in the DC area including guitarist Steve Abshire, mandolinist Danny Knicely, and Tommy Cecil on bass.

In addition to the guitar, Knutson plays violin, viola, and trombone.  He now studies at the Manhattan School of Music with Rodney Jones.

Originally from Buffalo, New York, Griffith Kazmierczak is a versatile multi-instrumentalist with a unique musical voice on trumpet, violin and mandolin. He has a Masters in Jazz Performance from the University of Maryland, has been recognized for his unique compositions in Capitol Bop’s D.C. Jazz Lofts concert series and is one of the most sought-after trumpet players in the greater D.C. area.

Ed Hrybyk is an upright and electric bassist, composer, arranger, and educator active in the Baltimore music scene. He graduated from Baltimore School for the Arts in has a degree in jazz performance from University of the Arts. He resides in Baltimore, MD and has played and/or recorded with Ultrafaux, The Bumper Jacksons, Hot Club of Baltimore, Sonny Nelson and the Unity Reggae Band, and The Manly Deeds. He made his debut as a bandleader last year with his band, the Bright Moments Sextet which will release an album of his original compositions in September 2017.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD, and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas, and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Mainstay sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website. Follow the Buy Tickets link to buy tickets at the advance price. If you would rather pay at the door, you can make a reservation by calling 410-639-9133 and pay by cash or check at the door.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

August 21 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Danny Tobias

August 26 Nevin Dawson: The Versatile Viola

August 28 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes John Thomas, Saxophone

September 2 The Greg Hatza Organ-ization

September 4 Joe Holt welcomes Beth McDonald

September 7 Katie Thiroux

September 11 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Tom Baldwin, bass

September 16 Melissa Aldana

Mainstay Names Carol Colgate Managing Director

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Carol Colgate

When Carol Colgate first attended a concert at the Mainstay, the intimate storefront performing arts center in the waterfront village of Rock Hall,  her initial impression was, “It felt like home.” Today, as the managing director of the friendly and popular live music venue on Main Street, Colgate says that first impression continues, and she would like everyone to feel that they have a home here.

“What I love about the Mainstay is that it grew organically from the time it was founded by Tom McHugh and the core group of original stakeholders, and that the synergy between the music, the audience, the room and the performers has been a natural development. It really is the home of musical magic,” she said, referring to the tagline that accompanies the venue’s logo.

The new managing director position, created in a management reorganization by the Mainstay’s board of directors, is a natural progression for Colgate. She has 30 years of business and arts administrative experience, having worked primarily in theater. Recently, she was a team member in the Kent County production of the new musical, “Red Devil Moon,” where some of her original paintings were featured.

Colgate’s tenure with the Mainstay began as administrative assistant to former executive director Rory Trainor a year ago.  “Rory re-invigorated my love of performance and gave me the opportunity to combine my management skills with imaginative concepts and creativity,” she notes.  All the while, she took on more and more administrative responsibility.

She is enthusiastic to be working with The Mainstay’s very motivated board members on all the operations that keep the venue a vital, thriving part of the local arts scene.  She sees her job as “maintaining the artistic integrity of a long-standing tradition while continuing to grow and expand by keeping our pulse on what’s exciting in the larger community.” Now that the managing director position is filled, Colgate and the board will be hiring staff to work on the programming and marketing for The Mainstay.

Mainstay board president Dan Seikaly says Colgate was a natural fit for The Mainstay.  “For the first 20 years, The Mainstay operated on the energy of Tom McHugh and a few volunteers,” Seikaly noted. “Following Tom’s departure, everyone became aware of the complexity of running a non-profit entertainment venue that presented over 50 concerts a year.  Carol was undaunted and enthusiastic. She learned, adapted or developed methods to grow The Mainstay without losing sight of what made it unique.”

Beyond her demonstrated executive skills, grants management experience and flexible approach to the multi-faceted needs of The Mainstay, Colgate has an innate understanding of the culture that marks the Mainstay’s popularity with its audience and supporters. “Maintaining that culture is important as we continue to move forward with all the creative strengths that bring everyone together,” she said.