Category Archives: Musical Comedy

You Call It Piano Music Entertainment. Your Soul Calls It Thirst Quencher

You Call It Piano Music Entertainment
Your Soul Calls It Thirst Quencher

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.

My job today is to let you know how important
live music and comedy can be for your soul.

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 …

piano music entertainment

Sing Like No One Can Hear You

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.

Great Party Ideas That Create Lifelong Memories – The Cure for Presidents Day

So I have finally found one of the most perfect party ideas AND it will cure your next President’s Day.

Throw a party. Yes. That would be throw a party during Presidents Day and bring in a piano player and a award winning chef and see where that would lead.

I have many items on my bucket list. I frequently get new party ideas along with all my new song ideas and lyric ideas. But I don’t think I ever came up with throwing an afternoon party on Presidents Day. 

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No Need To Wait Until Next Year for Great Party Ideas

Well it happened for me yesterday. And what a success! Not a lot of people. Only about 10, maybe 12 folks. A few of their kids showed up. We ate great food, we sang some great songs, we sat down with friends and made great memories. You can too.

Plus, and here’s the good part, you don’t have to wait until next year’s Presidents Day. Start thinking about your outdoor BBQs and your graduation party ideas and your anniversary party ideas. We can make this another fantastic event filled and life long lasting memory creating event that will last a lifetime.

Call me to see what kind of ideas I can come up with for you and your memory tank.

How Do You Spell 60th Birthday Party Ideas?

Everyone Loves A Good Celebration — Birthday Party Ideas 

party ideas, surprise parties, piano entertainment, piano music,

Celebrate Now!

Celebrations are to be remembered. With all that can happen in the course of life, the good fortune to be able to come together with friends and family to commemorate a milestone like a birthday or an anniversary is to be relished with a party. But what can I say? I’m a professional entertainer. So there’s that. 

With that said when I get invited to come to your event as a piano player, I am humbled to know that first of all, you value good music, and second of all that you have allowed me to be a part of an intimate family memory that will last a lifetime.

That is exactly what happened last year in the summer when George and Colleen invited me to their home to celebrate George’s 60th birthday party. A little back story first …

George is happy to be celebrating anything above ground. Especially a 60th birthday party. George had had a major heart attack a year earlier. Like as in MAJOR. The weird part is George is one of those health nuts. Apparently he is quite active riding his bike and taking long tours for fun. He’s been doing this for years. In fact, George looks like one those guys who is healthy. Fit, tall, muscualar and full of life and energy.

If you were to put George in a line of 20 other men his age, you would pick him last as a candidate for “The Big Grabber”. But you would have picked wrong.

At the fateful moment he was blessed to be around his family and his wife, who is a registered nurse and knew how to administer CPR, thus keeping him alive long enough to get him on the table and get his operation that allowed him to live.

Now jump ahead a year later and everyone is happy to celebrate a surprise 60th birthday party for him.

So as part of his surprise party his wife, Colleen, and his kids, now grown, prepared this party under the radar. The misdirect (every surprise party needs a misdirect – where you get the celebrant out of the house long enough to get everything prepared) was to take him on a “short” bike ride down around Chicago to the lakefront and back. Nothing too strenuous.

We were all assembled in the backyard when he came around back towards the garage on his bike when we yelled “SURPRISE!!!” to which George was startled so severely that he fell off his bike.

It was then that we immediately realized maybe this whole “SURPRISE!!!” thing might not be good for his health lest we wanted to inflict another hear attack on the unsuspecting birthday boy. 

BIRTHDAY PARTY, 60TH SURPRISE PARTY, PIANO MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT,

No … THANK YOU!

All was well though. Laughter and some memorable video footage will be enterted into the family archives for future laughs.

I was invited to be the piano player because George loves the Beatles and good music all around. Hence, the addendum at the end of the thank you note I received.

As you can see music reaches and heals all of us no matter where we are at. It helps during celebrations as well as times when Mother Nature rears her inevitable patterns.

So when considering party ideas, whether the good celebrations or the not so good, remember music will touch the soul of everyone who is there. It is an honor to not only play piano music for your birthday party ideas but also to be invited to your intimate family event. Thank you.

Dan – your performance not only touched & thrilled me,
it reached everyone’s soul who was there.
Love George”

How Does A Piano Player Learn So Many New Songs?

Learning new songs is part and parcel of our daily existence as a piano player who plays live music regularly. The challenge is sifting through all the new music and finding what works and what doesn’t work.

In my opinion most of the Pop and Country music these days has become homogenized. For those of you that didn’t grow up in the 60s ‘homogenized’ is not a sexual connotation. It means that everything is made the same. Some might say made to the same standard of quality. But I think what has happened is that most of the popular songs have the same chord changes and a drought of tasty melodies. I know there are some great and talented songwriters out there. But by the time their tune gets to the producer and to the recording process, there are changes that get made to make the song palatable. Axis of Awesome did this comedy music bit that has become a perfect example of what I’m taking about  

That’s okay by me. I don’t mind. I just know, as a writer, there are so many possibilities harmonically and melodically speaking, that there is no excuse for this. Even if a song were to have one ‘mystery chord’ in there somewhere, it would go a long way. It could be laziness. It could be ignorance.

But I think what has happened is when people like something, the creators replicate it because they know it’s a winning formula. This is true in every successful business. The music business is no different.

I think Adele has had some good success with adding tasty chords into her songs. Bruno Mars is copying many of the greats that came before him. They are both quite open about the fact that they are standing the shoulders of the giants who came before them.

My job is a piano player is to interpret what is out there and make it my own. For example, I don’t use massive amounts of music production techniques at our performances. I know some players use backing tracks and drum machines, even at dueling pianos shows. That’s cool. I never found it all that inspiring. As a piano player who works a lot I find I get inspiration from the people who are listening. I like that kind of energy rather than a technical energy.

The idea is that then the piano player turns the song into something of his own. Since we are all standing on the shoulders of the great ones who came before us, the only thing left for us to do is to personalize it.

That’s one of the things I learned early on as I was an aspiring musician learning to become a professional piano player. I used to think “Who is the best piano player?”. But then I realized it’s all one magic trick. Once you learn that one trick everything else after that is about adding the personality you were born with or that you are willing to let shine through.

So when I learn a new One Direction song or something from Jason Aldean, it doesn’t matter to me that all the same chords sequences are being used over and over again. I try to find the essence of the tune and make it my own. Sometimes I get it right, other times I need to keep learning.

When Was The Last Time You Had A Good Laugh? Dueling Pianos Music and Comedy

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.

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When Was The Last Time You Had A Good Laugh?

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.

How do you make that corporate event a memorable one?

Event planners often have some “go-to” ideas when it comes to hiring a headline act for their big corporate event.

Maybe it’s a magician, or a cover band, or an impersonator.

There’s just one problem with all of those types of acts: they’re not improvisational.

And not only is the audience not connecting with the entertainment, (they’re just sitting and watching), they’re not connecting with each other.

Unfortunately, that means it’s not going to be a memorable event.

Think about it: would you rather watch a magician perform some tricks, or watch an entertainer that has your colleagues laughing, singing and having a terrific time?

The more you can make the entertainment memorable, and the more you can forge an emotional connection with your audience, the more meaningful the experience becomes.

It’s not just my opinion; it’s the opinion of “experts” as well. Take a look at this article and you’ll see what I mean.

Speaking of making your event a more personal experience, check out this  article too.

What I offer is a one-two-three entertainment punch: music, comedy and improv.

Working together, those two unique talents helps to ensure that the event experience invites, embraces, engages and delights the audience.

They’ll walk away with happy, lasting memories of having had a wonderful time for themselves as well as with their colleagues.

That’s exactly what you want to happen!

And whether you’re planning for a product rollout, sales seminar, trade show or other type of company event, I deliver an interactive entertainment experience that has your audience clamoring for more.

Sound exciting? You bet it does. And the best way to see how it fits into your overall strategy is to talk about it.

How about giving me a call me at your convenience? You can reach me at 773-527-7417.

Why Live Music is So Important

Sometimes we really can’t explain why or what we’re doing onstage when we’re playing live music at company events or as party entertainers. But we do know this: It Is SO-O important.

I had a woman come up to me after a show this last weekend. She was so emphatic about letting us know how good she felt.

She said, “My husband and I haven’t been out since our house was destroyed in a tornado.”

I think the Greeks were right. Music helps to heal. It moves large internal objects that we can not see. God gave us music so we could pray with out words.

She was positively invigorated after an evening of live music and comedy. When I see that happen, I just want to tell everybody. It is so essential that we work to get ourselves back in balance — especially after Mother nature changes our lives forever in a single act.

The tornado that took their house changed their lives in an instant. Hard to explain why. Never may be a good one. But I do know this. Music can change your life for the better in an instant too. Hard to explain why. We just know that is does. Sometime music may not get rid of all the lousy things that are going on in between your ears or in your neighborhood. But will change how you feel so that maybe — just maybe you can get through all the stuff you can not explain.

Our jobs as entertainers is to help people feel better — in spite of what is going on.

I don’t know her name. But I know I will never forget her. We don’t know how important live music is for our souls. But I do know this. I am truly honored and blessed and every time I get onstage. Thank you in advance for letting us help you.

Comedy — How Am I Supposed To Do This with Music?

So I was thinking the other day. I know that’s a bad habit. But I do it anyway. Comedy

The thing is, I find myself thinking more and more all the time about this and thinking about that but it doesn’t stop me or slow me down at all.

You’d think I’d be done by now. But No-o-o-o-o-o!!!

I keep doing it all the time. Sometimes I don’t even notice I’m doing it. It just happens. Without my knowledge.

Thinking that is.

Thinking about things I’ve already thought about and things that I think I should think about in case something I was just thinking about should happen to come true. It’s ridiculous really and there appears to be no end in sight. None.

So I came up with a possible solution. Something I think might work (damn it I did it again). I don’t know if it will work or not.

Anyway, here it is. I think I should think about the things I want to think about and nothing else. Comedy works. Music is fun. Sports are a little annoying but whatever. 

What do you think?

(Crap!) Now I’m going to think about your thoughts which could be worse than being stuck on my own.

Well, have at it.

As you long as you don’t respond with “Let me think about it”.

We’ve got enough of that going on around here.

Need some custom written comedy and music for your next corporate event? Give me a call. I will think about it. But when I’m done, I’ll have some excellent live music and comedy all ready for you that will improve employee production, increase their profit potential and deliver your message and mission statement faster, more efficiently and completely legally.

Music and comedy. The most fun you can have with your mouth in public!

Repetitive Spontaneity with Dueling Pianos

What?!? Another dueling pianos show? We know how to keep it fresh and spontaneous. How? Well … We use spontaneous music and comedy like no one else.

Yes. Another dueling pianos show again tonight. It was a little light last night, Friday. But the people who did show up had a great time. A small but mighty crowd as we like to say.

All American Dueling Pianos Live Music and Comedy for your corporate event

Live Music and Comedy Dueling Pianos

We promise to be completely spontaneous

— all over again.

It’s a lot of fun getting onstage not knowing if the audience is going to respond. Friday night was like that at a corporate event in Peoria IL for our dueling pianos show.

At first they weren’t sure if they liked us.
Then they weren’t sure if we were funny.
I’m not event certain they thought we were very entertaining because
at first, they just sat there looking at us and smiling.

But by the end of the night they knew. They KNEW! Good crowd. Better one on Saturday Night. We were performing for a charity event fund raiser entertainment for a church near Chicago that night.

We do it with Live Music and Comedy. Our comedy is customized to fit your event. We do it by asking all the right questions in advance of the date. And we do it through highly skilled improvisation honed over the years by performing with the greats.

Connecting with the audience is the key. But it won’t work unless your performers are authentic. As you know, a dueling pianos sow can be a whole bunch of mirror balls and fog machines. But it is not necessary. A true dueling piano show has two pianos, two mics and an audience.

The best performers play an audience as well as they can play a piano. That’s what we do at All American Dueling Pianos. We play an audience by connecting in an authentic fashion. No fancy gimmicks. Straight ahead music and comedy specifically designed for your group. Try it ..

You will be certain by the end of the night then too … you will laughing out loud and dancing up a storm … All completely spontaneously.

So if you want to get completely spontaneous all over again at your next event …

Call us at 773-527-7417

Life For A Cruise Ship Entertainer

No one is really out on the ship today. It has been windy and cloudy all day. Last night the ship was really pitching. I don’t know if the stabilizers were on or not. But there was a lot of swaying going on as passengers walked to and fro. Even sleeping had its challenges. I was worried I might fall out of the bed.

I have nothing to compare it to except for that Category 5 Hurricane that came along last September. Then we had what were reported as 40 foot waves. But its hard to tell when you’re 7 stories up. So I needed to go down to the 2nd deck where the crew mess hall was located. This storm appears to have 20 foot waves? Still cant really tell.

No need to. The ship is quiet. People are laying low. The decks are empty.

It’s so ‘cold’ today that you can tell who the Floridians are on the ship. They’re dressed like Chicagoans would dress in the Autumn. Chicagoans are dressed in sandals and shorts.