Dueling pianists bring music and comedy to FSU

(Musto and Scherr perform Kanye West's "Gold Digger" - an audience member request. Photo by Corey McFeeley)

A black piano and keyboard sit adjacent to one another on the stage in DPAC on Sept. 8.

Alissa Musto and Michael Scherr duel with pianos. The concept is two people performing on separate pianos. The catch is the audience suggests the songs, making the duel completely improvised.

“The entire concept is meant to marry comedy and musicality,” said Musto.

The show began with Musto and Scherr going on stage wearing graduation caps, claiming they are finally “graduating college,” said Scherr.

Musto said, “this is an intimate show that is about you singing and clapping along.”

The audience was invited to come to the lip of the stage and write a song request on a Post-It note – quickly a small line formed.

The song choices ranged from The Temptations’ “My Girl” to Kanye West’s “Gold Digger.”

The duo took turns singing and exchanging piano and keyboard.

They would also insert anecdotes within the songs in order to get a chuckle out of the audience.

While Musto was performing Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me,” she paused and admitted she did not know the next line, which the audience then provided.

During Scherr’s rendition of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ “Oh, What a Night,” Musto commented, “This is my second favorite song to lose your virginity to.

“If you are having a noticeably good time, the audience will notice and do the same,” he said.

Scherr brought up senior Kayllan Olicio to hold a harmonica to his mouth while he played “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.

The audience laughed as Olicio repeatedly missed Scherr’s cue to bring up the harmonica.

Scherr addressed the audience’s choice of older songs, claiming college students have better musical taste than he initially thought.

Musto shocked the audience by seamlessly rapping Eminem’s “Forgot about Dre” while Scherr beatboxed along.

“My mom would be so proud,” she added when the song ended.

Other classic songs students took a liking to were Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it that Way,” the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe,” Jesse McCartney’s “Beautiful Soul” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”

Scherr ended with “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King, a song that he performs at every venue.

at the end of the show, Musto said, “we have a good vibe together and we do what we do with our own special flare.”

SUAB president Kayleigh MacMaster said, “We found out about them through a company called Party People that we do a lot of our events with and we thought it would be cool to try out something new.

“The two pianists were very crowd-engaging and made the event interactive, so it was more entertaining than just sitting there listening to people play piano,” she added.

Sophomore Yaya Rothman said, “I had heard of this concept before but have never seen it. I was not disappointed.”

Sophomore Isaac Vu said, “I screamed a lot. Singing along was fun.”

Sophomore Lucas Quintero called it “a hoot and a half.”

[Editor’s Note: Kayllan Olicio is an associate editor at The Gatepost]

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