Tag Archives: piano music chicago

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”

PIano Music Maker Satisfies The Masses

As a piano music maker in the piano bars around Chicago  

I get the opportunity to meet and greet some of the finest of citizens.

It is my pleasure to introduce to one such group of fine patrons from the late night gig last week. Just a warning Poison Squirrels, I mean, Boys and Girls, alcohol was involved in this particular encounter.  

This is just one cute little tale I’d love to pull on your coat tails about, Gather ’round kids . . .

;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;

I took a break and walked around the room to talk with people at the club and see what they wanted to hear for the next set.

One highly energetic and slightly giddy trio of young women had a request of sorts.

The first one said, “Let’s find you some good songs to play. Do you play any Shania Twain?”

No. I haven’t played any of her songs in years.”

The next wanted to know, “Do you do any Taylor Swift?”

Do I look like I know any Taylor Swift?”

So the next one says, “How about some N’Sync?”

I said, “I thought you wanted to hear something good.”

piano music, live music, comedy,

To All My Friends

They finally laughed. In fact, it was as if someone flipped a switch because then the first one said, “Well I just thought you could spice things up. What Lionel Richie do you know that will really rock the house?”

I smiled and told them, “Ummmmm … how ’bout none?” They got the joke.

I quickly changed the subject by getting someone to take our picture. I love my job!

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The best part is I get to play to all kinds of people. When folks have an idea about what they think is going to be a good song, I can usually play it. But as a professional, I know which songs are going to work. Stress the word ‘KNOW’. I’ve been doing this awhile now. I’ve got a repertoire that expands decades. Anything you want to hear will fit. However, as a profession piano music maker, I can tell you, without a doubt, that Lionel Richie will never get the room rocking. Sorry my dear.  Thanks for playing along though. We sure appricate the thoughts and condolences.

 

Alcohol with Your Piano Music Entertainment? Aghast!

Alcohol was invented so the Irish would not rule the world.” – Irish Proverb

When I’m out playing piano music in public, many folks ask me questions that are quite similar. They range in similarities like, “What do you do during the day for work?” and “What does your wife think of what you do for a living?”; things like that. I would love to write an entire blog post about each of those questions.

But in honor of the great St. Patrick’s Day coming up this week, I would like dedicate this holiday blog post to the patron saint of Ireland with a post about alcohol.

Alcohol is the great social lubricant.” – Also Irish Proverb

A couple of questions I get asked all the time would be:

  1. Where are you playing that we can go see you?” I don’t play out in bars all that often. But when I do, I like Dos Equis …. oooppppss Sorry. I do play out public sometimes when the schedule opens up. But for the most part I like to concentrate on company events and corporate gigs. They’re not as easy to perform at as a bar gig. They require a little more finesse and a whole lot more restraint. Certainly neither of my two favorite things to do in the whole world; restraint and finesse that is.I like the raucousness of a bar gig or restaurant. People cutting loose, cracking jokes, laughing at things that are not normally funny in polite company. But isn’t that the point of going out drinking with your friends? No need to be polite.At company events and corporate functions where we are providing live music entertainment, people tend to hold back a bit because they have a level of decorum they need to uphold in the course of daily commerce. No sweat. People want to keep their jobs.

    For when the wine is in, the wit is out.” – Thomas Beacon

    But that brings us to the next question I get a lot:

  2. Do you think that we need to serve alcohol at our event to be able to get people to sing louder?The answer is a resounding, “No!”“How so?” you ask.I answer thusly.Have you ever heard a room full of kids sing loudly?Of course you have.

    Well they can certainly get pretty loud. And I don’t think ALL of them have been drinking. Do you?

    You answered “No. Probably not ALL of them Dan.”

    So I repeat myself. No. You do not need to serve alcohol at your company event to be able to get people to sing along loudly.

    Does it help?

    Hell yeah!

    It also helps if you’ve got the winning lottery ticket in your pocket. But it’s not going to solve all your problems.

    You will need to hire a professional entertainer (like me, for instance) who knows the tried and true formula for a successful evening of piano music entertainment. Someone who knows how to get people interacting knowing that they won’t be embarrassed come Monday morning around the water cooler, or feel like they’re the only on who knows how to have fun after hours. No.

    If you are not going to serve alcohol at your event, then might I make my professional recommendation that before you start your party, make sure the sun has gone down and that you just gave them all raises.

    But No, you do not need alcohol to be served in order to have a good time with live music entertainment for events at your company party.

Thanks for playing along and I’m certainly glad you’ve decided to read this far. Maybe you would indeed like to go a bit further. Give me a call at 1 773 527 7417 to see how affordable live piano music can be at your event.

Happy St Patty’s Day one and all! 

The whole world is about three drinks behind.” – Humphrey Bogart

piano music entertainment and green beer celebrations

Happy St Patty’s Day

We Have A New Puppy In The House

I have had a new pet introduced into my life this month. Her name is Roux and she is the tiniest little puppy you have ever seen. I can’t stand her. She is so cute and cuddly and hilarious and unbelievably sweet. If I didn’t already have Type 2 diabetes I think I would contract Type 3.

She’s really smart. For now, she only does a few tricks. But I’m trying. I want to teach her to bark at cars that pass by our house. So far she only barks at cars with out of state plates. Pretty amazing right? puppy dog, puppies, dog tricks,

She likes the mail lady. So there’s no point in telling her she has to bark at her. She won’t do it.

The last pet we had was our cat Tom. He was awesome. Great mouser. And lord knows we needed one when we first moved in here. Tom had to be put down about 3 years ago. He got old and his kidneys were failing and it was really sad. Especially for our youngest daughter. She had to be there with my wife and make the decision to put him to sleep. There were lots of tears and it broke my heart too.

Me and Tom were buds. Our boys were out of the house by then. So me and Tom were the only two guys left. My wife and our two daughters would laugh at us. We would sit on the couch and watch TV. He liked sports. Except I don’t think he liked the Bears. In the winter time he would sleep on the radiator all afternoon. Then he would wake up at night. He was cool like that.

But he was also an outdoor cat. When I would come home from a gig late at night, he somehow recognized my car. He would greet me out on the street telling me all about his evening. He’d say, “Meow.” all the up the steps. He would say ”Meow!” about his girlfriend. Now he doesn’t say much of anything. He just sits on our shelf in an urn. I knew I would miss him. I just didn’t know I would miss him this much.

puppy, puppies, dog tricks,

Flower Eater

Now I have a tiny little puppy in our house for a couple days of the week. I watch her for our son and his girlfriend. The kids are grown. My wife works full time. So Roux is a little time waster. I love her. She’s really cool. She eats flowers. Oh well. There goes an extra hour or two of my day. Cest Le vie.

More On Chicago Mayoral Election Results 2015

Hi There and Welcome to Another Installment The Piano Bench Blog Cast:
Chicago Mayoral Election Results  

Today’s broadcast comes in the form of some more great piano music and comedy. Our topic? Chicago mayoral election results. I certainly hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed writing and recording.

Chicago politics has no shortage of great comedy material. So tune in regularly.
And be sure to contact me, Dan, for your custom written music and comedy for your client appreciation night, your corporate event or hospital visit.

Springtime in Chicago Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

This is how we do springtime in Chicago.

It’s our special way of celebrating the coming of warm weather.

piano music, live music chicago, springtime entertainment for events,

Is It BBQ Season Yet?!?

It’s how we welcome the robins.

It’s the way we tease the squirrels. 

This is why we make the most of BBQ season. All 4 months of it.

This is why I think it’s time to get a place in Arizona or something.

We just melted all of this year’s snow last week. It was a good season. Not too much snow, but enough to remember we live in a cold weather climate. Not too freezing, but enough for good ice fishing if you like that kind of thing.

It makes it easier to move the pianos when there’s no snow or ice under foot. Hell, today’s spring snow storm may all melt in two days anyway.

But for now we have lovely traveling conditions.

Fantastic jogging paths.

Superior lake front bike paths.


This what awaits our baseball teams when they return from spring training. The Cubs open on a Sunday Night against the Cardinals. The Cards are used to playing in cold weather. They go to the World Series every other year it seems. The only time the Cubs play in cold weather is the first month of the season – not the last.

This spring snowstorm is why we have a 162 game season. This way we can stretch out the season so the warm weather can get here and then leave.

This spring snowstorm is why Wrigley Field’s bleachers won’t be done in time for Opening Day.

So keep the snow boots handy.

Keep the scarves close by.

Your ice scraper isn’t done yet.

. . . and Thank God piano music is here all year long.

Call now to reserve your warm (or cold) weather party 773-527-7417

Warm Weather Means Chicago Dueling Pianos At Navy Pier

Chicago Dueling Pianos at Navy Pier must mean …
The warm weather is here?

It’s the first warm day of spring here in Chicago. I think we may be close to 70º. I took my walk outdoors today instead of on the treadmill like I usually do. I saw the robins out in earnest. The smell of BBQ was prevalent throughout the entire neighborhood. A sure sign that Chicagoans are ready for the warm weather to appear and the snow blowers and salt to disappear.

Dueling pianos, entertainment for events,

Chicago Dueling Pianos Show

We are down at Navy Pier tonight for a dueling pianos show at a corporate event. Entertaining in front of several thousand people. We’ve got the traditional dueling pianos fun; sing along, dance along, laugh along live music entertainment. Yet tonight we have added a new wrinkle. We’ve added a drummer to the festivities.

That’s one of the reasons why Chicago Dueling Pianos are one of the most versatile party ideas. 

We can take your requests so that you get to decide which music you want to hear. But we can add a full band, or just a drummer like we’re doing tonight. We can add a featured vocalist. It just gives the extra added dimension to our regular piano music entertainment for events. chicago dueling pianos 

So after we do load in and sound check, I think I’m going to go for an additional walk down around Navy Pier and enjoy this beautiful weather. You never know how long it is going to last. Because you know what they say, If you don’t like the weather in Chicago, wait 5 minutes. It’ll change.

Call us for your live music entertainment at your next corporate event, charity events or backyard BBQ. We love BBQ! HeckFire … we’ll c’mon by before it hits 80º. We’re not picky. Live music and comedy goes with every kind of weather. So does Chicago Dueling Pianos for that matter … 

What can we say? We’re Chicagoans! Give us a call. 773-527-7414

We can GUARANTEE … You Will Look Good B’cuz We Sound Good!

And Tonight Your Piano Entertainer is …

Getting ready to go on at
Ridge Country Club on the south side, Piano entertainer extraordinaire

Mt Greenwood to be exact.

Many thanks to Mike Nix for the call. Good to catch up with you again.

Mike is the GM down here and he is hosting a membership dinner.

So guess who is playing piano afterwards?  That’s right. Just say it out loud when you know the answer …

Piano entertainer, party ideas,

Dan Gillogly will be your Piano Entertainer tonight

Mm hmm … You know it. A good time will be had by all …

Piano Entertainer Dan Gillogly Live Music Aficionado

Piano Music For Your Company Event Ideas

I was driving to play solo piano music at a company event. The wind was howling but the sun was nowhere in sight. Someone misplaced it long with all the snow.

It was a warm December day and there was still no snow on the ground the entire season. It was as if winter had forgotten about us and left town.

The load in was going to be tough but not as bad as it would have been last year when a good solid two feet of snow had already fallen by this time.

I found that the path was cleared and the hand truck more than up to the task of loading all the sound gear in to the venue. Yet because of the balmy temperatures I had broken into a healthy sweat long before the first note was played.

This was a day time gig. These company event ideas are sometimes a lunch time function. I guess the company that hired me thought this was going to go better during the day when no adult refreshments were expected to be served.

In my professional opinion I thought otherwise. But then again no one asked my professional opinion on this particular subject. So I broke into a series of interactive sing along bits laced with audience participation, team building skills and activities that everyone enjoyed. 

piano music entertainment for events

Live Music at Company Events makes Things Hum!

By the end of the lunch everyone was gathered around the piano singing and dancing without a care in the world. It was as if there was an invisible veil lifted from the ordinary day to day activities of our work a day world.

Live music does that. Alcohol and night time helps, no doubt. Yet in the end it was good, quality, professional live music and comedy played by a piano player that saved this company event from being another boring holiday party.

Entertainment for events really spices things up considerably when you add great piano music.

Really.

Live music really makes your parties really live.

Piano Music Entertainment for Senior Citizens

Every once in a while I get the honor of providing entertainment for senior citizens and performing at senior living centers. Retirement communities are big fans of live music and my style of piano music is a perfect fit for everyone in attendance.

I don’t remember when I first started playing at senior centers and retirement communities. It doesn’t pay real great but it is a more of a feel good endeavor. I continue to play piano music for seniors because they are such an appreciative audience.

I suppose at this point I could go on and on about how its important to give something back to that generation that made so many sacrifices for us and for our well being and all that. While all that is true I play piano music and supply entertainment for senior citizens because they truly enjoy good live music. And let’s face it I love an audience that loves me!

But I also get to play the music that I love and learned for so long now. The great standards from Hoagy Carmichael and Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Huesen and .. the list goes on and on. They love it all. The boogie woogie piano chops, the Johnny Cash, the comedy bits and the Ray Stevens and they love the songs they don’t even know.

The best part is watching the older folks who are struggling with some form of memory loss. I have no idea what it would be like to not know my kids’ or their names or any of that. But to see their eyes light up when I play a familiar tune from 80 years ago – and they know all the words! Now that is a true pleasure. That si why it is so important to give back in the form of entertainment for senior citizens.

It’s fascinating to see the power of music at work. How does music work on memory? How is that it reaches parts of the brain that seem so far removed from ordinary everyday life? How well does it help to heal major gaps in emotions and memory? I’m sure there are scientific answers somewhere. But I don’t have them easily accessible right here and now. But I can say I have a wonderful vantage point when I go and play piano music as a senior entertainer in retirement communities. Thank you for the all you have done. Thank you for the opportunity to give something back.