Keyboard collaboration: Dueling Pianos WV centerpiece of fundraiser

ASHLAND Rick DeGroff said when he performs via Dueling Pianos WV, he has no idea what’s going to happen. and that’s OK with him.

“We say we know what the first song will be and what the last song will be, but in between, we’re just taking requests,” DeGroff, one of the pianists in the act, said. “Part of the fun of it is taking requests. Some songs we do well and some we have never done before, but I think people like that we try. You never really know what the night’s going to bring.”

He will perform with pianist Clark Parker and his wife, Jes Parker, on drums Friday at the Ashland Elks Lodge 350 for a fundraiser for the Ashland Lions Club.

The interactive event is a surprise for the musicians every time. DeGroff said requests differ from show to show.

‘It depends on the audience,” he said. “They tend to like sing-along type things. ‘Piano Man’ and ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘Great Balls of Fire’ are popular, and that’s what we like — the requests to be what everybody likes and wants to sing along to.”

Most of the proceeds will benefit eye care, as is common with the Lions Club, Autumn Stevens, president of the Ashland Lions Club, said, but the club is trying to expand its ventures.

“It’s not that we’re trying to abandon eye care. It’s covered more now and government agencies and schools are stepping in to help now,” Stevens said. “Our requests aren’t the same now. ... We’re looking toward other things that might need additional attention.”

Some of those things are childhood cancer, hunger and diabetes, she said, but the club will continue to support anything that pertains to eyes, whether it’s medication, glasses, checkups or screenings.

If you go

Dueling Pianos WV will perform at 7 p.m. Friday at the Ashland Elks Lodge 350, 900 Carter Ave., for an Ashland Lions Club fundraiser. Doors open for food and drinks at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $70, which includes heavy hors d'oeuvres and two drink tickets. For more information or tickets, call (606) 571-2124 .

Meanwhile, the fundraiser will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, with drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Dueling Pianos WV will begin at 7 p.m.

Stevens said she’s been at similar fundraisers and they were great fun, but she’s not going to be the only one having a good time.

“We have as much fun as the audience,” DeGroff said.