Playing the Piano in Essex
My name is Eugene Portman and every week seems to bring an enquiry for me to perform as a pianist in Essex. The county has lots of venues and I have played in many of them. However, there is no way that I could ever play in all of them. I am very lucky in that I live near the county and this makes it easy for me to travel to an event in one of its fine venues.
Some of the time I perform for private parties and corporate events. Yet more than anything, weddings are the thing that bring me to this area. I have often wondered why Essex is so popular for weddings and one good reason is it’s proximity to London. This factor makes it very easy for a couple to get married away from the hurly-burly of modern city life. Also, another reason could be the fantastic choice of places available for a couple to have their special day.
When I am hired as a wedding pianist in the Essex area I am expected to be able to play many types of music. Furthermore, different styles of music are often required for the various parts of the wedding day. Luckily I cover many genres including jazz, swing, Rat Pack, Latin, pop, rock, ragtime, and even singalong. The two genres that couples seem to want the most are jazz and classical.
I love playing jazz and I am influenced by great pianists of the past. These include George Shearing, Oscar Peterson, and Erroll Garner. In addition, a more recent influence is pianist Jamie Cullum who happens to be born in Essex. These pianists are not modernists, but play music that is melodic and easy on the ear. I try and do the same by playing tunes that we all know and love. Moreover, I try and make my music listenable and entertaining.
I also love playing classical music which is very popular for wedding ceremonies. To clarify, I am classically trained and I have an extensive repertoire ranging from Bach and Schubert to Delius and Richard Strauss. Most of the time I am just required to play a few classical pieces for a ceremony followed by music of a lighter vein for the rest of the day. However, occasionally I am hired to play just classical music for two to three hours. This is something that I really enjoy.
Working as a Sing-along Pianist in Essex
So many Cockneys have moved out of London and living in Essex. So, it’s not surprising that there is a great demand for old fashioned sing-along pianists in Essex. This is something that I have embraced. Furthermore, there is nothing that I love better than playing the piano for Cockney themed events. Quite a few pubs now do ‘pie and mash’ evenings and the atmosphere can be amazing when everyone is singing all the old favourites. These old favourites include songs like ‘Knees Up Mother Brown ‘, ‘Daisy’, and ‘I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.
Sometimes, even formal events have a sing-along session during the proceedings. If it is a Cockney themed event I dress in Bowler hat, Grandad shirt, waistcoat, pocket watch and neckerchief. As well as dressing for the part I also provide all song sheets so all you have to do is sing along.
The Baby Grand Piano Shell
The Baby grand piano is something that Has become really popular, especially for weddings. If the venue doesn’t have a piano I usually provide a digital piano free of charge. This looks fine for most events, but if you want the look of a real piano then the baby grand piano shell is the answer. Like its name suggests this is an empty shell that holds a digital piano inside. The result is a fabulous sound and great looks. Seeing as I do more weddings in Essex than any other county this is also the county where I have used this piece of equipment the most. Please see the Baby Grand Piano Shell Page to find out more.
Here are some venues in Essex that have used my services as a pianist:
- Blake Hall Ongar, Essex. CM5 0DG
- Belvedere (The), Hardings Elms Rd, Crays Hill , Billericay, Essex CM11 2UH
- Essex County Hotel, Aviation Way, Southend, Essex SS2 6UN
- Fennes Estate (The), Bocking, Braintree, Essex. CM7 5PL ()
- Gosfield Hall, Gosfield, Essex CO9 1SF
- Leez Priory, Hartford End, Great Leighs, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 1JP
- Manor Hotel and Restaurant (The), Berwick Pond Road, Rainham, Essex RM13 9EL
- Park Inn, Southern Way, Harlow, Essex CM18 7BA
- Prested Hall, Prested Hall Chase, Feering, Colchester, Essex CO5 9EE
- Reid Rooms (The), Mark’s Hall, Margaret Roding, Nr Chelmsford, Essex CM6 1QT
- Trinity Park, Bucklesham Rd, Ipswich, Essex IP3 8UH