It was one of those gigs where I was so happy I took piano lessons as a kid, I had stuck with it as and adult and, most importantly, remained a professional so that I could witness what I am about to tell you.
No one thinks they really need live music. Most importantly the ‘Bean Counters’ who sit around in their office and don’t realize that music truly is the universal language that we all understand.
That’s okay. We all have a job to do.
It’s like Gatorade after a 60 minute workout. It’s like scratching an itch in a hard to reach place. It’s like a hug and a kiss from a loved one who has returned from a long trip.
Here’s the story …
This guy was your typical office worker who didn’t have anything else going on his life except to be an office worker. He was kinda grumpy. He had no sense of humor. He had no friends. So he was the guy that made everyone feel a little uncomfortable.
He wore the weird shirt that didn’t appear to coordinate with his tie – or anything else that he wore for that matter. And his hair was always a little bit messy. He didn’t talk much because, well, he liked to be quiet.
Let’s call him ‘Ralph’.
What nobody knew about ‘Ralph’ was he had watched his Mom die of cancer when he was 10 back in 1969. As you can imagine it was horrible.
She was a single Mom. He was an only child. They were not members of a church so there was no support network of any kind. After she died he went to live with an aunt he had never met, in a state he had never been to, with an ‘uncle’ who wasn’t married to his aunt. They had no other kids either. His aunt was nice enough and all. But let’s just say ‘nurturing’ was not a concept she knew much about.
School was also a little rough for Ralph in this small rural town of about 4000 people. They were nice and everything. But having come from a large city school, he felt lost and way behind the other kids.
He wasn’t very coordinated or even remotely interested in sports. He just didn’t get the importance of all that running around and throwing balls and stuff. No one had ever showed him how and he didn’t have any allegiance to one team or another. So, seriously. Like, what’s the point?
The thing about his new school tho, was they had a choir as part of their curriculum. He had no idea how it would change his life.
Choir allowed Ralph to be around other people – especially girls. It allowed him to comfortably shift into his changing voice as puberty set in. It allowed him to express his emotions which ran so deep and so pensive at such a vulnerable and tenuous time of his life.
He stayed with choir all through middle school and high school. He didn’t excel at singing. He was never a featured soloist or anything. He just really enjoyed it for reasons that a growing young man could simply not explain.
But that’s where it ended. College was not in the picture for Ralph. He went to work and learned finance. He was actually pretty good at analysis. He eventually learned accounting with a small local firm that had hired him right out of high school.
In 89 that small local firm was bought out by a much larger one which then grew into a multi-billion dollar corporation through the 90s. He was a good and consistent employee. He was promoted regularly but never to management. He got transferred back to his hometown city in 98 where he just slipped easily into the anonymity of the hustle and bustle. He lives there to this day.
He never married. He never joined a church or a community choir. He doesn’t do much of anything in the way of outside activities. He likes going to the movies. But he feels too shy to search for anything. No one ever gave him permission.
Until one night in February his company event consisted of a large Holiday Party featuring piano music entertainment.
‘Ralph’ was sitting alone, kind of in the background. I don’t think he was eating much off the buffet. I didn’t notice his beverage of choice. But I did notice he was alone.
When I perform I never call anyone out. I never embarrass anyone. What I use is a technique I call “A Saucer of Milk”. It’s like when you want to call a cat over. You don’t yell or command. You just lay out a saucer of milk. If you want what we have to offer, (and your soul knows you do), then you’ll be over in time.
This story is getting a little long. So I am going to finish this tomorrow.
In the meantime, thanks for listening and let me know when you want to have great live music and comedy in the form of piano music entertainment and interactive, sing along fun that brings people together and creates life long memories for everyone in attendance.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have event planners tell me that is exactly what they’ve heard people say, and honestly, they’ve said it themselves.But how do you get to that point? How do you create a corporate event that leaves people “wowed?” For me, it’s a collaborative process with the client.
I’ll create that one special song, or develop that one memorable moment or special entertainment experience that has people clapping their hands and tapping their feet.
Whatever the event, I’ll create customized songs that fit in with a strong brand presence, or key elements of a new product launch or trade show theme, or find a way to honor that someone special.
When you hire me, here’s what you get: a seasoned professional who has built a reputation of making events an overwhelming success, filled with lasting memories for everyone.
Isn’t that what you want when hiring a lead entertainer?
Of course it is. And I know corporate entertainment! It’s a unique niche, and it’s what I specialize in!
I work hand-in-hand with you to make sure the content, the music and the comedy is in line with your goals, your company and your audience.
There’ll be no surprises, no red flags, no questionable content – nothing that will embarrass you or anyone in your company.
Once we decide on “the line,” I won’t cross it. So you can rest assured that everything will go according to the plan we develop together.
Sound like the professional entertainment you’re looking for?
Let’s talk about it!
I encourage you to give me a call at 773-527-7417. I’m here to answer any questions you may have, discuss the process or check available dates.
If you have the responsibility to book a key entertainer for your company’s next big event, I know that this is not your first rodeo.
It’s a complex process that’s probably taken you many years to acquire the skills required to make it a successful event.
And there is absolutely nothing like getting a call or note from the CEO telling you what a great event you orchestrated.
My career is based on playing a significant role in helping you get those types of calls and notes.
Whether it’s the parody songs I create or the way I weave your message into comedy entertainment or my ability to get everyone to stand up and sing along together, I know how to engage a room full of people.
I’ve been doing it successfully for most of my adult life.
But don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at what others in your position have to say about me:
Marda Cottrell Popejoy Inc. Fairbury, IL 61739 Ph-815-692-4471
“We had an absolute ball with your guys at our party! Since we have used you before we knew what we were getting and the second time was just as great as the first! My boss said he thinks this was the best Christmas party that we have ever thrown! I hope that we can work together again in the future!”
Cheri Breneman, Administrator Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts email@example.com 800-524-6620
“As for the evening entertainment, I heard nothing but positive comments on you performance. Your talent was an exceptional fit to our audience (age, gender and culture) and the conference social event. It is a true pleasure being involved with something that makes others happy and you accomplished that in more ways than one. Thank you for your service to the IAFPD 72nd Annual conference.”
Hopefully, I’ll be able to add your testimonial to my list of references.
A phone call is the best way to get that process started.
Please give me a call at your convenience. You can reach me at 773-527-7417.
I look forward to talking to you!
Another beautiful frosty day in November here in Chicago. We had another successful corporate event last night. It was a dueling pianos show in Peoria IL courtesy of Central Illinois Dueling Pianos. Thank you very much Andrew
We entertained a whole bunch of government officials. Some newly elected. Some newly un-elected. And of course all of their staff. We had a lot of laughs.
I love that part of our job as a musician, as an entertainer for an event.
Getting people to laugh. Sometimes we’re just improvising. Sometimes they’re routines that we have been doing for years. But the thing about dueling pianos is we are always going to have something different.
It’s because of the audience. Every audience, tho similar, is different. Different requests. Different celebrations. Just different.
But we know you’re going to have fun. We know we’re going to get you to where you want to go. You want to have fun and you need to laugh. We just have to organize the deck chairs, if you will. Alphabetize the chaos.
We had that rolling laughter last night. That interactive banter that keys off of people in the audience and their responses. A quality dueling piano show allows for that to happen. It’s so flexible.
I feel like the laughter is the key. I have always been looking for that laugh. As long as I can remember. Its a key component of what I do. Getting people to laugh.
One of the ways to do it is to be able to laugh at myself. That right there is probably the top way to get others’ to join me in laughter. I don’t take this whole music and comedy thing too seriously. I know, comedy is a serious business and all. But I just don’t take myself too seriously.
I hope you don’t either. And don’t take it too personally either. We’re all human. We’re all really kind of the same – for the most part. We all do and think the same stupid stuff. So it’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes. It lightens the load we have to carry.
I think I read something somewhere about how laughter releases a chemical into our systems that keeps us young. I hope that’s true. Because there are times when I absolutely crave hearing laughter and having a good laugh – at myself most of all.
I hope you have a great Holiday season. We are busy busy busy again. Yet there are still a few dates open. I’d love to help you laugh some night too. Call me and we’ll see what we can do.
We are up in Wisconsin providing entertainment for events like these all the time. While every night is special, I need to tell you about this one.
Sheriffs and deputies and their office staff. There were about 130 people in attendance. We took one look at the room, noticed there were mostly men in the house and thought, “Keeping 50% of these guys would be a major success.” Usually in a corporate event keeping 25% is successful. It’s just the way it is.
Let’s face it most folks go to a convention or a conference to meet other people in their industry and to reacquaint with old friends. So live music entertainment is the last thing on their minds.
So we went up there on stage and tried something a little different. We didn’t go up there and do our usual, “Hey! Here we are! We’re going to rock the house!” Instead we just went up there, laid down a saucy groove, played a couple of solos and listened to them get quiet as they began to listen. We introduced each other, waited for the applause and then went into our show.
It was remarkable! We kept over 90% of the people in the room.
We know we’re good at what we do. We know we will get people feeling good and singing along (even if they’re not inclined to sing). We just don’t always know how you’re going to get there. Our methods are to take chaos and organize it somehow. But honestly the audience tells us everything we need to know and we adjus from there.
By the end of the night, we had everyone gathered around the pianos, arm in arm singing at the top of their lungs. An organized chaos if ever there was one.
Handshakes all around and platitudes galore.
One of the quotes from one of the wives said, “You don’t kow how much these guys needed this!” Someone else explained, “These guys are under intense pressure everyday. You gave them some much needed relief.”
I’ve kept thinking about that all week. These folks in law enforcement see the rest of us at our worst. Either as perpetrators when we are guilty or as the victims when we are not. I have no idea how they do it, how they hold empathy and compassion while doing their jobs. In essence, how they maintain their humanity.
Again, it wasn’t us. We were the guys behind the pianos that night and we are good at what we do. But it is the music. It is the power of the music that speaks to all of us – when we bother to listen, it is the music that heals and nurtures and pulls us all together in the face of our day to day trials.
So let us help you. Let us come to your next event and take your guests and friends and family to a relaxing, soothing place. Let us do our jobs so you can do yours. Thanks.