Newburyport Current
Newburyport native Patrick “PJ” Holaday is one of five finalists chosen for this year’s Blue Man Group Boston Drum-Off, which will take place tomorrow, Saturday, July 16, at 1 p.m. at the Outside the Box Festival on The Boston Common.

“I’m thrilled,” Holaday said. “Even if I don’t win, it’s going to be tons of fun and a great opportunity. I’ll be on the main stage right in the heart of Boston.”

The son of Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday and her husband, Joseph Holaday, Holaday grew up in Newburyport and graduated Newburyport High School in 2007.

“Then I took some time off to play the drums and did bartending, carpentry, and traveled,” he said, “before I finished my degree in 2015 at Salem State with a BA in music with a concentration in jazz studies.”

He now teaches music at Zach Field Drum Studio in Newburyport and plays with with LUX, a Newburyport/Lowell group.

“We’re playing at the Newport Jazz Festival this year,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. It took me a long time performing in dive bars and on cruise ships, but the name of the game is getting out there and playing and keep grinding. Slowly but surely it’s becoming my career, not only my passion in life, but my career. I’m very fortunate.”

Locals can hear LUX play on Thursday, July 28, in Market Square.

Tomorrow’s performance in Boston Common is another step up the ladder for Holaday. The Drum-Off is an annual competition that showcases drumming talent hosted by international performance group, Blue Man Group Boston.

The award-winning Blue Man Group show has performed in more than 15 countries and has been seen by more than 35 million people worldwide since 1991. A dynamic combination of music, comedy and technology, the show appeals to a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds. It is continually refreshed with new music, fresh stories, custom instruments and state-of-the-art technology.

This is their third annual Drum-Off. The winner will receive over $6,000 in prizes from Blue Man Group, DW, Sabian, Vic Firth and AT&T. The five finalists selected this year were Jarrell Campbell of Jamaica Plain, Vlade Guigni of Brookline, PJ Holaday of Newburyport, Alex McGillivray of Peabody, and Orlando Retana of Boston.

“My girlfriend went to high school with Kyle Harris and he was a finalist last year.” Holaday said. “He didn’t win, but they were impressed by his playing and now is a drummer with Blue Man Group. They pushed me into it and now here I am and I’m a finalist and I’m thrilled.”