Dueling Piano Party Electrifies LPN Crowd
By ASHLEY SCHABLE
Lake Times staff
PJ Gartrell and Libby Herrmann entertained a large crowd at Lake Panorama National Resort on Saturday night in a hilarious and wildly entertaining dueling pianos musical event.
The two talented singing piano players for Epic Entertainment Event worked off each other while combining their own unique personality into one electrifying show. As guests placed their requests on top of each of their pianos, they performed nearly 50 popular hit songs from pop-rock, country music, American classics, dance music, show tunes and one hit wonders.
In an interactive and engaging show, guests were encouraged to make requests, sing-along and be part of the fun. From Bon Jovi to Billy Joel, it was non-stop music during the two-hour show.
“You pick every song we play,” Gartrell said as he welcomed guests, who pulled up chairs after enjoying a dinner buffet of stuffed manicotti and an assortment of pizzas, including the tasty red pepper chicken bacon.
“Your so vain,” Herrmann began singing, as she keyed Carly Simon’s hit on her piano. “You probably think this song is about you.”
A guest placed a $5 bill on Gartrell’s keyboard. “We have $5 to play the Iowa Fight song,” he said. “But we’re going to let that go awhile, make a pile for the Iowa and the Iowa State Fight Songs and at the end of the night we’ll play one.”
He then encouraged guests to sing loud as he struck his piano for Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer.’ “Woah, we’re half way there, Woah, livin’ on a prayer.” “There’s one verse, come on, let me hear you,” Gartrell said as guests joined him in belting, “Woah, livin’ on a prayer.”
Changing the tempo, Herrmann broke into Night Ranger’s ‘Sister Christian,’ before sliding over to play the drums while Gartrell blasted his trumpet in Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire.’
“What’s the one thing we hate as a child, but love as adults,” Gartrell asked, taking a break to get a shot of alcohol from the bar. “Here’s to naps and spankings.”
The piano playing pair, who continued to play hits and crack jokes, joined in harmony during Jimmy Buffet’s ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise.’ They upped the volume in Alabama’s ‘Dixieland Delight’ and hit the right chords in the group’s ‘Mountain Music.’
“What all do we have up here,” Herrmann said as she pulled some requests from the top of her piano. “Some more country, and some rap,” she said, strumming right into Maren Morris’ ‘My Church.’
Tunes by legendary Buddy Holly and John Cougar Mellencamp were met with standing applause. TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ and Shaggy’s ‘Wasn’t Me’ brought several to their feet to dance along.
The 30th song of the night, ‘I love Rock And Roll’ by Joan Jett was followed by Garth Brook’s ‘Friends in Low Places.’
Guests clapped to the beat of ‘Sweet Caroline’ and stretched their vocals with ‘Son of a Preacher Man’. They raised their glasses during Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’.
And to end the night, loyal Cyclone fans stood as the Iowa State University Fight Song won the rivalry, ‘Yes, we will fight with might for Iowa State, With a will to do or die, Rah! Rah! Rah!’ But Hawkeye fans quickly gathered their money and it wasn’t long until, ‘Fight! Fight! Fight! for Iowa, let every loyal Iowan sing’ echoed throughout the room.
It was a truly enjoyable experience for everyone in attendance. “It’s pretty impressive to watch them just wing it,” an audience member said. “That was a whole lot of fun,” added another.