Tapping into tunes at Hotel B
Remember your mother telling you if you played the piano you'd always be welcome at parties?
A crowd would gather round, the singing would start and the party would begin?
No, I didn't practice enough to make that dream come true either, but I'm always grateful when somebody like CJ Steinway did.
CJ, a Fountain Hill native and Moravian College Class of '91 graduate, was with friends celebrating the holidays at the Hotel Bethlehem last Christmas when he began picking out some tunes at the grand piano in the lobby.
A crowd gathered around to sing along and Kathleen Brown, Director of Food and Beverage at the hotel, noticed the excitement and fun and booked him for the Tap Room through the spring and summer. He's there 6 - 10 p.m. July 14 and 21.
Like all good music accompanists, CJ offers a lively sensibility that puts Tap Room patrons in a party mood without overwhelming them with sound. He incorporates a mix of today's music along with the standards loved by his older fans.
At any one of his gigs, guests will hear songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and George and Ira Gershwin, followed by Jason Mraz, Bruce Springsteen, Norah Jones, and yes … even Lady Gaga. This has led to the development of fans at his gigs ranging from ages 25 to 85.
Besides being a professional performer he played on Dina Hall's CD "Logic and the Heart" CJ is a sought-after private piano and voice coach in suburban Philadelphia. He sees making music as something everyone should get to experience.
He encourages audience members to croon a few tunes, either solo or with him in a duet, so they can show their friends what they can do while sharing a few laughs. At a recent Tap Room performance, two children got up to strut their stuff, including CJ's lovely daughter, Maddy, 7, who added a hilarious twist to the old standard, "Let's Misbehave."
CJ and his wife, Kristen, also have a son, Maxwell, 12.
CJ's enthusiasm is catching on with attendance growing steadily since the Tap Room piano bar's inception in February.
He'll be back for a string of Tap Room gigs Aug. 3, 4 and 6 during Musikfest. CJ has already brought his piano bar gig to several places in the region, including the Clinton House in New Jersey; Lola's in New Hope and Dalia's in Philadelphia.