Dueling Pianos: Musicians Take Student Song Requests in Den Performance

From classic beats like “Bennie And The Jets” by Elton John to more modern songs like “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, two professional pianists turned audience song requests into lively tunes on their keyboards. Dueling Pianos, a comedy sing-along show, was held in Susie’s last Friday night. Carlos Cepeda-Diaz ’23, who requested “Get Lucky,” highlighted how he appreciated the musicians’ interaction with the audience.

“I thought it looked really fun, and so this time, I wanted to stop by again and hear the music they were playing… I really liked that they took song requests from the audience, because that was a fun addition,” said Cepeda-Diaz.

Attendee Mayumi Kawano ’25 echoed this sentiment, and felt that the diverse range of song choices contributed to a fun and high-energy atmosphere. She reflected on a highlight of the night: singing Bruno Mars songs with her friends.

“I was just with my friends, and we decided to meet at Susie’s, because we thought it would be pretty eventful, and honestly the vibe there was pretty nice, and I really enjoyed singing to some of the songs that they played… They started to play a lot of songs by Bruno Mars, and my entire friend group just started screaming it at the top of our lungs because we just felt the music in our soul,” said Kawano.

Other students appreciated how this casual musical performance helped create a low-stress environment, offering a needed break from schoolwork and classes. Elliot Chung ’24 described the relaxing and accessible nature of Dueling Pianos, as well as a particular song he liked.

“One song I really liked was when they played ‘Message In A Bottle’ by the Police. I have always liked that song, so it was pretty fire. It was very chill, and I think everyone was just enjoying a calmer environment in the Susie’s where they could listen to music after a hard week of work and class,” said Chung.

However, Chung also felt Dueling Pianos could have been improved through expanding beyond just live music. He discussed possibilities for further exploring the interactive nature of the performance through incorporating student voices, like letting students come up on stage in an open-mic style environment.

“I think it would have been more fun if there were different and more unique elements to the event as a whole. I would rather have an open-mic night… or karaoke, or something like that,” said Chung.

Overall, Dueling Pianos allowed students to enjoy favorite tunes in the comfort of a popular hang-out spot on campus. Looking towards the future, Cepeda-Diaz hopes for similar events to be added to The Weekender, as well as for such events to be publicized more to maximize audience turnout.

“I think things like this only get more fun when there are more people actually at the event. But, I think instead of the individual events that need to be improved, we just need to improve The Weekender as a whole by adding more events like this to The Weekender,” said Cepeda-Diaz.