For over 20 years, Sharon with Pianist for Parties has been a piano player for private and corporate events. She can play a variety of music including pop, jazz, swing, light classical, ethnic, Broadway show tunes, and so much more! These past few years, I have gotten to know Sharon with Pianist for Parties very well as we are both involved in Twin Cities Weddings & Event Professionals. I am overjoyed to be able to feature her on the blog and let you all know more about this wonderful, talented woman!
What inspired you to become a professional pianist for events?
Sharon: I love making people happy! I discovered that my love of performing piano music could enhance the atmosphere of events for others to enjoy. When guests attend an event, it gives me great satisfaction to greet them with music and create the perfect mood. When someone hires me to provide music, I realize that their event is unique and very special. I strive to make sure my music creates exactly the atmosphere that they wish. Knowing that my clients and their guests are happy with my music gives me great pleasure!
What is your favorite song to play?
Sharon: I love many genres of music, but if asked to narrow it to one, I would say music with Latin dance rhythms are the most fun to perform. They create an upbeat vibe that is great for cocktail parties. Samba de Orfeu is one of my favorites!
If a couple requests a song that’s not on your song list, do you take the time to learn it? If yes- what has been the most challenging song to learn?
Sharon: I love learning new music and appreciate when my clients introduce me to new songs! I can usually find printed sheet music to help me learn a new song. If there is no printed sheet music, it becomes more challenging to learn. Such was the case with The Book of Love by Peter Gabriel. The bride and groom wanted me to find a violinist and perform the song as a piano violin duet. At that time, there was no sheet music available. I took the time to listen and notate the melody, followed by notating the harmony. I then added a violin part and rotated the melody between the piano and the violin. I worked with a local violinist to rehearse and perform the song. The bride and groom loved it!
If a venue has a piano for you to play, do you go before the event to practice on it and make sure it’s tuned?
Sharon: When hired to perform at a venue with an acoustic piano, I contact the staff ahead of time to make sure the piano will be in tune for the event. If needed, I will stop by the venue ahead of time to see if it needs to be tuned. When a venue does not have a piano and I plan on setting up my portable piano, I contact the venue ahead of time to inform them of my setup needs and to find out what requirements they have regarding my loading in and setting up my equipment. I communicate with the venue and the client to make sure my set up is in an approriate and favorable location.
Out of all the Twin Cities venues, do you have a favorite onsite acoustic piano to play?
Sharon: Caring for an acoustic piano requires regular attention. Pianos at the Saint Paul Hotel, The University Club, and Nazareth Chapel are a few of the pianos that come to mind. Their staff do an excellent job of maintaining and tuning their pianos!
What’s the most unique thing you’ve seen at a wedding ceremony?
Sharon: I had one couple that wanted to have both American and Italian nationalities highlighted during the ceremony. The groom wasn’t able to get his visa approved until just two months before the wedding so he did his best to participate in the planning process from Italy. Months before the wedding, the groom emailed me sheet music for some of his favorite contemporary Italian love songs for me to learn. The bride loved Gershwin music which I also included in my repertoire. Instead of traditional flower girls, they had “flag girls” who walked down the aisle waving American and Italian flags. The officiant had some knowledge of the Italian language and performed parts of the ceremony in English and Italian. During the ceremony, the bride and groom did a beautiful flag exchange with each other. The wedding was a wonderful celebration of two cultures coming together in love!
Anything else you’d like us to know?
Sharon: It takes a team to create a successful event! We each have a job to do, but we need to work together. I love communicating and working with others to make a client’s vision a reality!