Thanks for your patience if you had to wait a day for this sequel;
Piano Music Fan: The Story of Ralph.
If you’re reading this for the first time, you might want to go check out yesterday’s blog post. Either way … we continue …
Ralph was watching me perform on stage in front of 400+ people at a company event. He knew what I charged the company for this entertainment for their event. Ralph was in finance. He thought it was way too much for one guy to make in 3 hours onstage what he made in a week. He was like, seriously? What’s the point?
But there was something in the way the piano music was so … uplifting. It became the center of the room and all the activity within. He couldn’t not tap his foot because of the infectious groove. How could all that music come from one instrument? There were no drums. There was just this guy on the piano with a microphone. Okay the stage looked really good. And it was perfectly placed in the room so that everyone had access to him and could talk to him. But, seriously. One piano and one microphone?
But the way he invited people to make requests and to sing along was smooth and inviting. Ralph didn’t remember the words to the songs but he knew the songs he was playing. Ralph found it really easy to sing along and even tho he had a very good memory, he couldn’t remember all the words.
Almost without noticing Ralph found himself getting closer to the stage. He was singing for the first time in years. Not since his days in high school choir had he felt this good. He was singing even though he wasn’t much of a singer. It was an enjoyable part of his life he had let slip away when he started working in accounting right after graduation form high school.
His happiness spread to his face. He was laughing for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. He started remembering songs he hadn’t thought of in years. And when he asked the piano player about them, he was surprised to learn he knew most of them. When the piano entertainer started playing his favorite songs, he noticed other people knew them and liked them too. Especially this one woman who was across from Ralph on the other side of the piano.
When I play piano at a company event or a fund raiser people ask me all the time, “Don’t you get tired of playing the same old songs all the time?”
I tell them, “No. Not as long as everyone is getting into them.”
If I have the chance, I usually go on to say, “I look in everyone’s eyes to see that sparkle of joy and contentment.”
Privately, I look for that moment when you have forgotten the weight of your world and you let go of the mundane and let the music take over.”
Great Entertainment for Events
I saw that look in Ralph’s eyes on that frosty cold night in February. It took hold before he started moving away from the edge of the convention center wall. I saw music soar through his soul as he came closer to the piano. I saw him relax and forget his old, shy, social habits as he stood shoulder to shoulder with everyone else singing along at the piano.
I saw that timeless sparkle in his eyes when he saw her across the room. So I looked for her. There she was to my left, a simply beautiful brunette in the dazzling necklace. Wow!
She was also looking at Ralph but in a whole new way. He was barely recognizable from his daily personae. ‘Janet’ wasn’t even sure it was Ralph from down the hall from her cubicle in marketing. His tie was loosened. His hair was messy (as usual) but it looked a whole lot cooler when he was dancing. Was this really Ralph?
Without thinking Ralph crossed to the other side of the piano and said something to her that made her laugh. There was that twinkle in their eyes again. Only this time it had grown roots.
They never left each others’ side the rest of the night.
By the end of the night he was standing next to ‘Janet in Marketing’, arm in arm with her and his other co-workers whom he had never talked to very much before.
His cheeks hurt from something he didn’t normally do at a company event or from anything he did much at work – smile that is.
I was asked back to perform the next year. This time we brought a dueling pianos show into the festivities. ‘Twice the Fun’ as we like to say.
Janet and Ralph were still together. They didn’t get married. They were dating tho. He wasn’t sure he wanted to get married or have kids. He was in his 30s now and, honestly, he wasn’t sure how to be a Dad having never received much parenting when he was a kid.
But Janet has two kids from another marriage whom he loves dearly. And they love seeing their Mom be so happy with Ralph. He was a really nice guy. Not loud like most men. Just really quiet – and happy.
Would you like to create memories that last a lifetime with live music entertainment at your next event? Then give me a call at 1 773-527-7417 and I will supply piano music fun that brings everyone together with interactive music and comedy. Seriously!
P.S. Ralph was now the head of the accounting department. This year he eagerly approved the expenditure.
We played a corporate event with our dueling pianos show last week.
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.
We were performing to a group of law enforcement folks.
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.
You call it Live Music Entertainment. Your Soul calls it Stress Relief!
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.
You call it Dueling Piano Music. Your soul calls it Stress Relief.
We had the opportunity to get down to Kankakee IL twice during the holiday party season this year. It’s fascinating how powerful word of mouth referrals can be for us. We played live music at two events both hosted by the same venue; The Kankakee Country Club. I practically feel like a member now.
The first party was a company event for the local Bank. Small party of employees and spouses. Awards and bonuses were handed out and then the party began. Dance floor was filled al night long.
The second night this month was New Years Eve entertainment with an extra added bonus: Wende’s 50th Birthday Party. Surprise! Except she knew what was going on cuz that’s the kind of woman Wende is. Plus, her husband Rende spilled the beans earlier …. ooohhh say, like …. 9 months earlier. No biggie tho. Their kids were there, her parents and her entire family. We had a DJ after we finished. What a pleasure to be invited to such a fun filled event.
We’ll be back in Kankakee dueling pianos style coming up this February 7 2015 for a fund raiser for the local Chambers of Commerce. As is the case with many local communities, the Kankakee area has had to continue to change with the times. Their local Chamber is no different. They’re still providing jobs for families and helping small businesses grow.
We will be hosted by another stalwart venue perfect for company events; The Knights of Columbus Hall. KC Halls all over the USA are hosting community events such as fund raisers and charity events designed to benefit local churches and businesses.
So come on down to the Kankakee KC Hall this Feb 7 2015 for a first rate night of live music and comedy featuring one of our most popular shows, All American Dueling Pianos. Doors open at 6 PM and you can call the Kankakee County Chamber 815-351-9068
Celebrate Mardi Gras with All American Dueling Pianos with all of our friends.
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.
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 …
So we played a dueling pianos show last night at Bar Louie’s up in Mil-Town (a.k.a. Milwaukee), Chicago’s largest suburb in Wisconsin and I must say that, once again, we had a great time. Go figure. People in Wisconsin are always way too easy to get along with.
I was with the great Ted Oliver across from me. And he had invited some local musicians he’s been jamming with from a band called C.I.A. Which is short for Caught In The Act I think.
Anyway, they were realllllyy good. Stan and Mark were on sax and trumpet while Tom came up and shredded his vocal chords on some Chicago and Journey and various and sundry hits. They’re wives and friends were there and I must say, it might go down as one of the highlights of my year.
There are always one or twon gigs which stand out as highlights of the year for me. This one would go in the Top 5 for me for 2015, that’s for sure. These guys were exceptional. They’re energy was infectious for me and Ted and for everyone in attendance. I played and sang differently because they were there.
You see, there is something about live music that is completely disarming for most people. When we play dueling pianos we can get people dancing and singing along. But when we added those horns, people were downright defenseless against the power of live music.
I would like to think it is us. I know we’re the ones behind the instruments. We’re the ones on the mics cracking jokes and imploring folks to sing along.
But it is the power of the music that makes it work. It is the universal language of music that is coming into your soul and creating joy and beauty and memories that will last your entire lifetime. Maybe beyond.
Will these musicians remember on their death bed the long days working that senseless day job? Or will they remember with fondness and a great sense of fulfillment the nights of playing music in front of people who truly enjoyed it too?
Let us create memories for you at your next get together. It would be an honor. Especially if you’re in Mil-Town or the surrounding ‘burbs.
All American Dueling Pianos. Creating Lifelong Memories One Song At A Time. 773-527-7417