In my piano concerts I tell humorous stories of celebrities I have performed with and for. This is a favorite
PIANO CONCERT STORIES
Many years ago I recorded for Roulette Records. The lawyer for Roulette records was having the opening night party at his Penthouse in Manhattan for Sammy Davis Jr. when he opened starring in “Golden Boy” The lawyer wanted me to lead a trio for the opening night party. He said Sammy Davis had a guest who was a hack piano player and would want to do a duet with me. He asked me to please bear with him.
The night of the party I was playing for about 1 ½ hours when the lawyer approached me and said “Sammy’s piano player friend just arrived and he wants to do a duet with you- please be kind to him”. The person joined me on the piano bench and I looked to my right and there was VICTOR BORGE – one of the world’s greatest pianists – he had his own television show nationwide. I felt about two inches tall.
Two weeks later I received a phone call from a client in Greenwich Connecticut (I was living on Long Island at the time) who wanted me to lead a trio at their pool at their Greenwich estate the following week. I asked for directions and they said they were sending a limo to pick me up. I was beyond impressed that someone was sending a limo to bring me to play at their party.
When I arrived at the mansion I was shown to the grand piano at the Olympic size pool – there was another grand piano at the other end of the pool. I asked about the other piano and was told to play at the one side only.
About an hour into the event (black tie cocktail party) Victor Borge arrives and says “You are the guy I did the duet with a few weeks ago- we are going to do another duet today. I am playing the grand piano at the other end of the pool”.
The pool was about 300 feet long and it would be almost impossible to hear the other piano. We started the duet and after two minutes Victor Borge stood up and yelled “You are not keeping up with me- you are too slow”. This caused a commotion with the guests.
He agreed to try again. I told my trio to play very softly.
We started again and after another two minutes Victor Borge stands up and starts yelling “You still are not keeping up with me – I am giving you only one more chance”. Now all the guests are watching us.
I told my musicians not to play-I would play as softly as possible to try to follow him.
We started again –another two minutes and Victor Borge starts screaming “I cannot put up with you any more”. Now all the guests are totally quiet and I am beyond mortified.
Victor Borge pushes the grand piano into the swimming pool and throws the piano bench into the swimming pool. In full tuxedo he jumps into the swimming pool, places the bench (under water) in front of the piano, sits on the bench and proceeds to play piano under water. Everyone was totally shocked.
Victor Borge climbed out of the pool – soaking wet – and told me I was the brunt of the joke he arranged with the client. He sat next to me and said “now we will continue the duet”. This was a typical Victor Borge prank – he was well known for his pranks on his television show.
STAN WIEST (631) 754-0594 email firstname.lastname@example.org
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