Mrs. Kitching Takes the Stage: How These Salesianum Superstars Came to “Rock the House”



Mrs. Kitching (from left to right): Jack Alberta, Mike Barkasy, and Chris Tremble

Anthony Barone, Reporting Journalist

Salesianum has many things to offer, including a high-energy band that likes to live in the moment. They’re not the marching band or the jazz band. Instead, they’re a rock band – one that plays whatever sounds good to them. They’re called “Mrs. Kitching.”

I had the pleasure of speaking with them, or at least “two-thirds” of them according to lead guitarist and Salesianum junior Mike Barkasy. He was joined by the drummer, sophomore Jack Alberta; the bassist, Chris Tremble, is a junior at Cab Calloway. The three of them had formed quite a bond, befriending each other at the Independence School in 2016, and then making music afterwards. The name “Mrs. Kitching” came from their time at Independence when they jammed together in the band room of the band director, Mr. Kitching.

Fast forward three years, and they’re now a band that serves as a marker for a new generation of music. Their debut single, “Narrow,” was released on March 1, 2019. Being their first effort, it serves as a rallying cry to listeners as shown by the reception it received when performed at Salsthon last year. The main chord progression of the song, sounding stylistically similar to “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix, was written by Jack at age 13. After mere minutes of meeting with the band, it is plain to see just how ambitious this group is.

The band plans on releasing their debut album, ​Subject to Change​, “in the next month or two.” The songs were written over the course of two years, leaving a generous buildup of content. On it is a “ton of different sounds; You’ll hear a little bit of everything,” said Mike. “It’ll knock your socks off!” Much like “Narrow,” there will be other smash hits on the album, from dance and jump beats to mosh songs and ballads. By their own admission, the album draws from multiple influences. Regardless of the variety, however, they maintain that their music fits under the “large umbrella” of alternative.

Despite still being all but unknown, Mrs. Kitching continues to get more and more popular. They especially pointed out one gig as a highlight for them: “I’d say the Kennett Flash,” remarked Jack, with which Mike immediately agreed. At that performance they sold a whopping 200 tickets, 20-30 being fellow supportive Salesians. Clearly, the band will take all the support it can get. “Dude, you gotta come along, and this is a message we tell to everyone: our gigs are our favorite things in the world,” remarked Mike. To them, the energy of everyone “going crazy” is the best part. They’ll get to experience this thrill again, since they’re booked for fall shows at the Queen and in Philly, in addition to another concert at the Flash.

Both Mike and Jack are thankful for the critical acclaim that they’ve received. They especially are thankful for Chris, Mr. Kitching (who allowed them to use his name), and anyone who’s listened to their music, has come to their gigs, or at least are hoping to do so. In their eyes, these people helped get them where they are. They also appreciate the opportunities they had to take risks, which allowed them to leap forward with no regrets. “We played covers at house parties, and I look back… and like, man… I looked ridiculous. Then again, you gotta do that,” Jack justifies. No matter the result, the whole thing is a learning process for them; there are no bad decisions, only “happy mistakes.”

Each member has high hopes for the band in the future, for good reason. “We wanna go as far as the world will let us,” announced Mike. No matter how you receive Mrs. Kitching, they’re here to stay. With an ever-growing fan base and a carefree attitude, no one can or will discourage them from pursuing their passion and rockin’ on.