The Pros from Dover

Remember that iconic 1970 movie M*A*S*H? There is a scene in the movie with an obscure line, spoken by actor Elliott Gould (Barbra Streisand’s first husband). During a hospital scene, Hawkeye and Trapper John must perform surgery, but want to play golf so they arrive at the hospital in their golf gear. The nurse does not recognize them as surgeons, so Hawkeye says, “tell them the Pros from Dover are here to operate”.  

Well, popular local singer Matt Lafferty never forgot that line so he decided to name his band “The Pros from Dover.” It is kind of a “tongue in cheek” approach to band naming (especially considering none of the band members are from Dover, DE).   

The Pros from Dover was started in 2014 as a fun side project,” Lafferty maintains. “We are an ever-revolving mix of different players depending on the availability of the musicians as well as venue or situation.”  

Lafferty has an affable, laid-back personality and his rapport with his audience is justly so.  He has a lot of anecdotal stories to tell. He usually plays Solo and Duo acoustic monthly at venues such as DogFish Head Tasting Room, Irish Eyes, Twin Branch Winery, and Brimming Horn Meadery, all in Milton, DE. Other venues on rotation are Arena’s Deli (Rehoboth Beach), Blue Coast (Rehoboth), the American Legion Post 17 (Lewes), Irish Eyes (Lewes), Nassau Valley Vineyard’s Farmers Market (In Season – Lewes) and Bordeleau Winery (Eden, MD). 

Lafferty’s enthusiasm for music started with hearing the Beatles in the 60’s in Philadelphia and “the top 40 tunes of the day” on the local AM and FM radio stations. “Something about the music resonated with me in ways I still can’t explain today,” he says. “During high school I got my first guitar and a Mel Bay guitar chord book. I painstakingly learned all of the major, minor and 7th chords and played along with the vinyl albums, 45’s and later cassettes.”  

 “I have always worked a full-time job and have been fortunate to perform the live music on the weekends,” he says. He has performed in the UK, France, and Canada. His full-time job is Corporate Compliance and HIPAA Privacy Manager at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes. 

As a self-taught musician who he says has been very fortunate to have developed a good ear, as well as watched other musicians and picked up on the patterns and chords of a song. “This is a process I still practice today,” he says. I not only hear the music and musicians, I listen closely, too. Lafferty’s singing “career” launched in November 1983. 

His wife, Tenley, serves up samplings and tastings at the Twin Branch Winery, one of the venues where Lafferty performs. The winery is undergoing some renovations now and soon will be reopening.  

Singing and drinking wine may seem like a great combination to many, so the big question is, “Do they sing and sip wine at home?”  

“She tries,” he says. “I think she is tired of hearing me sing, and she has heard the songs so many times before. She is my Cher, and I am her Sonny!!!” 

As his saving grace, he offers this: “Tenley really does enjoy working with the great crew at Twin Branch Winery in Milton, DE. Yes, we certainty do enjoy our wine, and we belong to 3 wine clubs in DE and 3 wine clubs in northern VA. I don’t think our 3 rescue dogs like it when I sing, so I keep it to a minimum.” 

Kind of sums up Matt Lafferty’s demeaner.  So fun to interview, just a beautiful person.

Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry s a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.  

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