Cheri Sykes • Minneapolis - St. Paul Twin Cities Pianist
  • As a pianist, Cheri covers boogie woogie, blues, ragtime, and stride, the historical American popular piano from the first half of the twentieth century.  Other programs feature the Great American Songbook of the 20s-40s, or favorite hymns and spirituals.
    "Wonderfully Entertaining. Five Stars. Cheri entertained our Ladies Tea event with a wonderful journey through the ages of ragtime, blues and boogie woogie. She plays and sings beautifully and we so enjoyed learning more about the music and how it changed through time." — D. J.
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  • Each program includes anecdotal history of the composers, compositions, and cultural setting, intended to promote interaction and spark memories of the era. Programs are tailored to the interests and participatory abilities of the audience.
  • Cheri is facile at improvisation, transposition into singable keys, playing by ear, and taking requests.
  • As a vocalist, she is comfortable in leading singalongs as well as soloing. She can provide lyric songsheets in large type to enable singalongs.
  • No piano? Cheri is totally portable, with a beautiful and realistic digital piano and amp.
  • For special occasions, consider a classy and affordable small jazz combo.

Programs, offered in all types of settings, are geared to the interests and participation abilities of the audience. 

  • Historical American Popular Piano:  Ragtime, Stride, Blues, and Boogie-Woogie. The music of Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy, Scott Joplin, James P. Johnson, Pinetop Smith, Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Mary Lou Williams, George Gershwin, and Fats Waller. Discussion of the music, composers, and the cultural history.
  • The Great American Songbook 1910-1949: A survey of American popular hits, with memory-sparking stories and history behind the songs and their composers:  Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen, the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and others.  Piano and vocal solos.
  • A Swingin’ Singalong: Hits from 1920s-1940s (All of Me, Who’s Sorry Now, Blue Skies, On the Sunnyside of the Street, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, It Had to Be You). Tapping toes and smiles guaranteed!
  • Eclectic Program: combination of the above programs—your choice.
  • Spirituals:  Singalong and vocal solos.  These soulful and evocative songs, the source of American jazz, are now part of every American’s heritage. Discussion of history behind the songs of the Afro-American people.   Accompanied in blues and boogie-woogie piano styles:  Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, This Little Light of Mine, Standin’ in the Need of Prayer, Go Down Moses, Wade in the Water, Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho, Go Tell It On the Mountain.
  • Beloved Hymns:  Piano Solos and Singalong. Great Is Thy Faithfulness, How Great Thou Art, When Peace Like a River, Precious Lord, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, Shall We Gather at the River, Just a Closer Walk With Thee, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, Blessed Assurance.  Requests welcomed!
    Christmas Carols Singalong:  Singing the spirit of the season, plus delightful instrumentals.  Programs for other holidays available as well.
  • For special occasions/dinners: Jazzy background piano alá Gershwin and Cole Porter.  Consider also a classy and affordable small jazz combo.  Your residents will feel like they are at the Dakota Jazz Club!
Let’s work together to spark memories and enrich the daily lives of your residents!
More Reviews
“The residents enjoyed your program so much. They have been talking about it all week.”
K. Y., Activities Director, Highlands on Graham, St. Paul)

"Just want to thank you for the AMAZING music! It was SO appropriate, fun, & well-received! The residents loved you and I am very anxious to have you back! We loved you! Thank you every so!" — B. H-L.
"Absolutely wonderful!!! Lots of compliments... would highly recommend her."
J. A., Christmas Tea Program

"Thank you so much for a MARVELOUS program yesterday! I don't think I have ever seen our membership give any performers a standing ovation!! I have received many compliments... extraordinary entertainment." — L. S.

Cheri Sykes - • 651-335-0048
Performer and Teacher: Jazz / Classical / Pop • Available for Parties, Weddings, Senior Programs