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Dueling pianos to return for New England church fundraiser

St. Mary's Catholic Church in New England will host a weekend fall festival featuring Fun Pianos, dinner, an auction and more.

Fun Pianos
Sam Ferguson speaks during a Fun Pianos show.
Contributed / Sam Ferguson
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NEW ENGLAND, N.D. — Dinner, dancing, music and games are planned this weekend at Memorial Hall. Fun Pianos will be performing as part of St. Mary’s Catholic Church's annual fall festival fundraiser on Nov. 5. Rhonda Fitterer, parishioner and fall festival board member, said it's the second year they have incorporated Fun Pianos into their annual festivities.

“Last year, we thought, let's think outside the box and do something different, so we came up with the dueling pianos idea,” Fitterer said. “It's been a fundraiser that's been going around Dickinson and it has done well. We wanted to bring that to New England to people that have never experienced it before. Last year we had a great event and we're bringing it back.”

Sam Ferguson, owner and lead player of Fun Pianos, said the show will be packed with hilarious, clean comedy.

“All our songs are upbeat, energetic, popular, and a lot of funny stuff and we get the crowd doing things,” Ferguson said. “Sometimes we get people on stage and have some fun.”

He said every show is different and depends on audience participation. They play all genres of music and take requests.

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“It's more than just supporting a cause," Ferguson said. "You will enjoy yourself.”

Isabelle Thompson will be playing with Ferguson at the SMCC show.

“The Fun Pianos show is full of audience interaction and laughter at every show,” Thompson said. “It brings back fun memories."

She said they always get positive feedback from the audience.

“Most shows we also get told that it's the best dueling pianos show they've ever seen,” Thompson said. “It's fun because it's familiar music that strikes a chord with people. It's request-oriented so the people get to choose what they hear, mostly. We also do funny bits, where we'll incorporate people, who will see their friends or family doing funny things and it's just a lot of fun that way.”

Isabelle
Isabelle Thopson will be playing at the Fun Pianos show in New England Nov. 5.
Contributed / Sam Ferguson

Ferguson said the pianists in the show aren’t actually competing or “dueling,” but rather working together.

“It should be called a duo because the two players work together to get the audience fired up,” Ferguson said.

The events begin Saturday with a 4 p.m. mass. Dinner will be available prior to the show, in the basement of Memorial Hall from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The meal is open to the public and tickets are $20 per plate. The Fun Pianos show is open to adults aged 21 $50. Combination tickets for dinner and the show are $60.

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A silent auction is also being held for the event. Those who don’t want to wait to bid on auction items can do so online at https://qtego.net/qlink/smccnd22.

“On Sunday, there will be a traditional turkey supper and bingo to round out the weekend,” Fitterer said.

Sunday's meal will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. by the women of St. Mary’s for a free will donation. Bingo will begin at 2 p.m.

Memorial Hall
St. Mary's Catholic Church will host fall festival activities at New England Memorial Hall Nov. 5 and 6
Ashley Koffler / The Dickinson Press

Ashley Koffler is a Killdeer, North Dakota native and Dickinson State University graduate, with a Bachelor’s Degree in writing, and minors in journalism and psychology. Formerly working in Community Affairs for Roosevelt Custer Regional Council for Development, her reporting focuses on Stark County and other rural municipality governments, community features, business and agriculture — among others.
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