The Senchuk Ford Dueling Pianos Cabaret competition surpassed the expectations of the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum's (EAGM) board, who organized the event.
The fundraiser was held at the Wylie-Mitchell building on October 5. Two Calgary-based pianists – Jamie Mahn and Brian Burn – were the featured attraction.
EAGM board chair Amber Ganje said nearly 500 tickets were sold for the event. Initial estimates indicate they raised more than $20,000 for the EAGM's community programs.
"It's definitely the most successful (fundraiser) that we've had since I've been on the board, and the biggest event that we've put on," said Ganje.
Mahn and Burn sang and showcased their piano skills while they played songs that ranged from country to pop to classic rock.
The hits ranged in era from the 1950s to modern times.
"It was so lively and entertaining," said Ganje. "The crowd absolutely loved them. They were dancing in their chairs, and they were up on the floor dancing."
Spectators paid for Mahn and Burn to play a desired song. The pianists then handed over half of that tip money to the EAGM.
"The pianists did tell us that they have played for over 3,000 shows, and this was, by far, one of the best crowds that they've ever had," said Ganje.
Ganje told the audience that the EAGM's board has to raise $30,000 each year for the organization's buildings, programs and services, and that's why it's important that fundraisers like the cabaret succeed. The support shown for the cabaret alleviates some of the pressure that the board is facing, Ganje said.
She hopes that the dueling pianos cabaret can become an annual event.
"It was really nice for everybody to have something new and different in Estevan," said Ganje.
Two other performers were on the stage that night: local product Joel Henderson, who plays under the name of Poor Nameless Boy, and Saskatoon folk singer-songwriter Zachary Lucky.