When Sarah Stivers says, “Hey do you know this one? Sing it with me,” she often gets an all-out chorus going. Mustang Sally and other songs of the 50s and 60s beg for audience participation. Fun groups move the furniture and make room for dancing – encouraged by the tall attractive brunette with the microphone. Stivers engages a packed house every weekend in the Power Plant Bar & Grill.
Sarah and the guys will play a jazz standard such as How High the Moon followed by Little Big Town’s Pontoon. She definitely knows how to work the room and keep the crowd entertained with her clean, clear, sexy sound. Her smooth delivery transcends genres.
“You cats ready to get started?” she asks the musicians and they launch into Teach Me Tonight. To the audience, “Where y’all from?” she says letting her Louisville dialect ooze. Sarah makes the spotlight look easy, but in reality she puts a lot of effort into laying out charts, selecting musicians, energizing the crowd and orchestrating (pardon the pun) every detail.
Occasional shows became a standing gig that grew into her own booking agency. But her dream of going to medical school called. In 2010, she enrolled and the prerequisite classes for non-traditional students did not keep her attention. In the evenings, she was booking gigs instead of hitting the books. The week before the next term began she knew what her decision had to be. She contacted the school and said “give my spot to someone else.” Sarah could have easily been working on her bedside manner instead of her stage presence.
Beyond performing in the West Baden Springs Hotel atrium in the afternoons and the Power Plant at night, she schedules all resort entertainment from jazz in the library to a 1920s trio on the veranda. It’s her unwavering professionalism, attention to detail and organization that would have served her equally well as a physician, but we’re happy her office is here.