How Our Story Began
It all started when Tom McHugh, our founder, retired (early) from his career position as a Professor of Education and American Culture at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He returned to Rock Hall and Kent County, the place where he started his teaching career. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of music and his background as a semi-professional musician, he began to stage informal concerts. A local real estate mogul offered him the free use of a vacant storefront on N Main Street in 1997 and The Mainstay was born.
The year-round, weekly programs of The Mainstay, often featuring world renowned players in a variety of genres, have continued without interruption (with virtual concerts broadcast during the COVID shutdown) ever since. The name refers to that part on a sailing vessel which supports the whole superstructure and holds things together. That is the work The Mainstay has chosen to do — to support, serve, and inspire the great arts communities of Rock Hall, Maryland, the greater Kent County area, and our appreciative neighbors along the Chesapeake Bay.
A Little of our Playlist
Here are just a few of the impressive talents who have taken the stage at The Mainstay