ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Imagine having a live band, deejay and two comedians in one neat little package.

Or do more than imagine, and visit MWR's Dueling Pianos International--a free, high-energy interactive music and comedy show at the APG North (Aberdeen) recreation center March 23.

Piano bars are an increasingly popular form of entertainment in which professional piano players bang out favorite songs requested by the audience.

MWR Special Events Coordinator Earlene Allen said audience members are encouraged to request songs from any genre, and sing and clap along. Food and a cash bar will be available.

"This is going to be amazing entertainment," said Allen," and a great event for coworkers to attend together."
Groups of six or more can be reserved by calling the MWR Leisure and Travel Office at 410-278-4011. "But call early because reservations are going fast," she said.

Allen predicts a big turnout, as the show has been successful at other installations like Fort Knox, Ky., and Fort Bragg, N.C. APG is one of 15 military installations that Dueling Pianos International will visit this year, and this is the first time the show has come to APG.

Common requests include Top 40 Hits, country, R&B and rock and roll classics, along with college football fight songs and parodies. According to the Dueling Pianos International website, many requests do not fall into the typical "piano bar" category, but the dueling players pride themselves on their ability to perform atypical pieces, like hard rock and rap selections.

Allen said audience members are encouraged to request songs that will "test" the dueling piano players' abilities. She said while she can't predict how many songs are known by the player's, she's pretty certain it's going to be a very entertaining evening.

The dueling piano tradition can be traced back to the late 1800s, when ragtime piano players would duel to see who could play better and faster. Today, there are 300 to 400 dedicated dueling piano players in the U.S., and piano bars populate larger cities like Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia.

APG's March 23 event is open to MWR patrons and guests 18 years and older. For more information, call 410-278-4011.