Dueling Pianos event was entertaining, but lacked proper planning and participation

With Saturday’s performance by Dueling Pianos International complete, October events on campus are off to a lukewarm start.

The performance, which took place from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., featured two good-spirited keyboarders on two quarter-sized faux-piano electric keyboards, which appeared comically small in the expansive Reilly Room.

Brandon Kent and Landon Rocks were both fantastic performers. Not pianists, per se, nor really even singers, but great entertainers.

I especially applaud their efforts with such a small audience, sitting two-to-five at a table, with the forward most tables empty.

While the audience did not participate much, the performance was extremely engaging. Each table sent up multiple sheets of paper with requests for the performers, who were more than happy to oblige.

And what an eclectic mix it was: they played John Williams’ “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars,” Jim Croce, Scott Joplin, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” and even an excerpt from Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” with varying degrees of success. Even when the songs sounded less like music and more like search-and-destroy missions, the performers and audience had a lot of fun.

And that is the conclusion that should be drawn from Dueling Pianos. It was fun.

“I think the idea of the event was great, but the setup, atmosphere and marketing could have been much better,” said Jonathon Himes, vice president of programming for Student Government Association. “There wasn’t a great turnout from what I saw, which in turn affects the sort of atmosphere the event has.”

Of course, there is always room for improvement. The balance between piano and vocals was egregious, and the performers prompted audience participation far too often.

The deeper flaw, which the performers almost concealed with their positive spirits, was an unclear conception of what the event was supposed to be.

If SGA and the PuLSE Office were advertising and promoting for a small crowd, then a more low-key event would have been more appropriate. The heavy amplification and constant audience participation would then not be necessary.

On the other hand, if a large audience was desired, the concert setting would be completely appropriate. Himes said SGA advertises via social media, the Butler Connection, posters and the TVs in Atherton, but the message did not spread as it should have.

However, Himes said that the event served as a good learning experience.

Still, Butler students should continue looking ahead to October’s other events.

The Black Student Union is hosting a Late Night Dance Oct. 7 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Reilly Room.

There is a trip to the local game center Snapperz Oct. 8 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Spots are still open, but pre-registration is required and may be completed in the PuLSE Office through Friday.

 

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