In the Summer of 2007 the Schmidt family traveled from a small town in Wisconsin to The Twin Cities to see their daughter, Jessica, who was attending the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Jessica wanted her parents to have a fun time, so she asked her roommate Bridgette if she had any suggestions. Bridgette,a Twin City native, informed Jessica that there was a piano bar near the Target Center. She said that it was fun, so Jessica took her parents there. When the Schmidts arrived they found out that the piano bar they were going to wasn’t just a piano bar, it was a dueling piano bar. Two pianists going at it. The whole night they marveled at how the pianists could play almost note for note any song that was requested of them. Jessica’s parents were impressed. On the way back Bonnie Schmidt called her sister, Tabitha Halverson, who lived in Watertown, SD and said, “It was so good, Tabitha.”
In the Fall of 2007 Tabitha Halverson and her husband Mark went to the Twin Cities for a Vikings game. They were talking about what they should do Saturday night before the game and Tabitha remembered Bonnie’s glowing review of the Piano Bar, so they went. They loved it. They could play anything, “just amazing,” said Mark Halverson.
During a Fourth of July party in 2008 in Watertown, SD, Mark told his brother-in-law Dennis who lived in Mitchell, South Dakota about the experience. Dennis told Mark that his daughter who lived in Denver had told him about one of those dueling piano bars before.
In the Spring of 2009 Dennis and his wife Melissa went to the Twin Cities. They went to the Walker Art museum. Dennis was unimpressed and didn’t think what he saw was art. Melissa didn’t like it either but tried to have fun. During lunch at the Museum Cafe, Mark remembered that his brother-in-law, Melissa’s brother, had told him about a Piano Bar there that was fun, so he floated the idea of going. Melissa didn’t like drinking, she didn’t like the idea of going to the bar. Mark said, “Have a Diet Coke then, I’ll drink for both of us.” Melissa didn’t like that her husband drank, but she didn’t want to be a wet blanket and agreed to go. Boy, was she glad she did. “I’ve never seen such talent,” she said forgetting that she had seen Dr. Hook at a street dance in Mitchell in 1999. The next day Dennis called his daughter in Denver and told her she was right about Piano Bars. He then called his brother Randy who lived in Armour, SD. He said, “If you ever go to the Twin Cities, don’t go to the Walker art Museum, it’s a bunch of crap, but you should check out this Piano Bar.”
In the Fall of 2009 Randy went to the Cities with his wife to visit their son who was attending the University of Minnesota. The stated purpose of the trip was to see a Vikings game. Randy’s real purpose was to talk his son into pursuing a law degree, because he felt a political science degree is worthless on its own. Randy’s wife didn’t want Randy to bother her son too much with it and told him to wait for after the game on Sunday, Randy reluctantly agreed. They spent Saturday at the Mall of America. Randy’s son had suggested they go to the Walker Art Museum, but Randy had been warned and was not interested. After a day of shopping and a good meal at the Rainforest Cafe (Randy had jokingly suggested Hooters, which embarrassed his son and wife) Randy’s son left them to attend a party. Randy and his wife decided to go to the Piano Bar, they loved it. “If you would’ve but a blindfold on me I would have swore it was Billy Joel singing those songs,” Randy’s wife said that night. They went to the Vikings game Sunday and the Vikings lost. Randy talked to his son about law school. His son told him he was planning on going to law school and had applied several to places, so the trip was a complete success.
The week after the Randy and his wife went to the twin cities they went to church. People asked them about their trip. They said their son was doing well. Randy said that his wife had really wanted to go to Hooters, a statement that really embarrassed his wife. “He’s the one who wanted to go,” she said. She didn’t want people getting the wrong idea about her moral fiber. But after all the joking they told people about the Piano Bar, among those people were my parents.
In the Spring of 2010 I was in Minnesota for a wedding. My parents hadn’t seen me for a while so they drove to the Twin Cities to see me. My wedding was on a Saturday so they came up Friday morning. On Friday after I landed, my parents took me to the Walker Art Museum. My Dad thought that he could recreate every exhibit in his garage. We ate dinner at Famous Dave’s. We ordered a big platter that we all agreed was way too much food. It was during that dinner my Mom and Dad suggested going to a piano bar, a suggestion that I was not keen on, I had been to one in Omaha before and did not enjoy it, so I said, “eh.” They asked me if I had a better idea of what to do and I could not present one, so we went. I did not enjoy myself. My parents loved it.
The next day at the wedding, I was talking to the groom’s parents. I told them I had flown in the day before and told them I went to a Piano Bar with my parents. They said that they’d heard about the Piano Bar and really wanted to go and for some reason I lied and said, “you should, you really should.”
In the Winter of 2010 I got a text from the groom that read, “My parents wanted to say thank you for suggesting the Piano Bar…said it was the best time they had in years.” I replied, “No problem.”