Musical duo combines old and new music

Music and comedy meshed to create one entertaining show. Midwest Dueling Pianos performers Robert and Rusty took the stage Feb. 27 in the Williams Fieldhouse at University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Before starting they asked for song suggestions and announced, “We have no dignity or shame to perform these songs,” in front of about 300 students.

“I thought it was a good turn out for being part of a conference that wasn’t open to all of campus,” senior international studies major and Campus Programming Relations event producer Caleb Marse said.

CPR, along with Society of Women in Engineering planned the event to take place after the SWE conference so members had the opportunity to be involved.

“We were approached by SWE six months ago,” senior industrial engineering major and CPR marketing specialist Ali Sieling said. “We were asked to collaborate an event for the [SWE conference weekend] to meet both their needs and ours.”

Even with all of the planning done by CPR and SWE there were still a few hiccups.

“The performers arrived an hour late and the SWE conference got out an hour early,” Sieling said. “Sound check was supposed to be at 5 p.m. and the event was supposed to start at 9 p.m., right after the SWE conference was supposed to end.”

Event producers, Marse and Justin Toney, junior media studies major and CPR event producer, weren’t worried about the sudden modifications. The performers started their performance at 8:30 p.m. and continued until 10 p.m. to fulfill their hour time slot.

“For me, it’s just basically making sure the artist is OK with everything,” Toney said.

After the show began, Robert and Rusty performed music from the ‘90s, Disney movies and even a couple of oldies styled pieces.

“They did a mash up of ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus and ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey,” Toney said. “I liked it the most because it mixed old school with new school and brought a nostalgic effect to the crowd.”

Junior environmental engineering majors Jessica Zemen, SWE member, and Kristina Guevara, SWE co-fundraising coordinator, also enjoyed listening and dancing to the mashed up versions of the songs.

“[Dueling pianos] gave me a chance to attend a non-school and non-SWE event,” Guevara said. “It was cool to hang out with the SWE committee and board outside of those activities.”

The event was one of the most interactive events the campus has seen this year.

“People were up dancing around,” Sieling said. “Campus dance groups were invited because we knew it was going to be an interactive event.”

Guevara and Zemen said dancing wasn’t the only option. The crowd was encouraged to march and help celebrate a birthday. During the final song, “Sweet Caroline,” a kick line was started as all the students rushed to the front of the room to dance the night away.

“The very last song was the best,” Guevara said. “Everybody got up to dance in front of the stage.”

Toney and Marse were pleased with the event and happy they could open up the event to the campus as well as SWE conference members.

Toney said, “[The dueling pianos show] shows you that music can bring a lot of people together not matter their differences.”

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