piano bar musicians
While initially drawn to the keyboard for its bright lights and buttons, Andy has come a long way since his introduction to music via group lessons on an old Yamaha organ at the age of ten. The all singing, all-instrument playing Geelong-born legend found his voice after adding a few scotch and sodas to his gigs, and vocals to his piano show. The rest, as they say, is history! Andy created Piano Bar in June of 2015 after spending extended time working on cruise ships away from his young children Olive and Chet. He has never looked back - steadfastly focusing on creating the type of venue he needed as a young musician ... and playing a few bangers on the saxophone along the way.
Our music makers are the backbone of Piano Bar - the party starters.
Let's meet them!
The OG! With us from day one, Shandelle began at Piano Bar singing smooth jazz (while somehow juggling plates through the crowd) on the night we opened in June 2015 and has been an integral part of the team ever since. Growing up in a musical family and inspired by the soul legends, it’s no surprise that Shandelle counts the greats like Aretha, Whitney and Stevie Wonder among her influences. She’s drawn to music that makes both her and her audience feel something. When not serenading the masses at the bar, Shandelle can often be found giggling in the backyard with her pet chicken Gretel; the girls now converse in fluent ‘chook’!
Part-owner Joss grew up locally in Ceres and began piano lessons at the age of four, loving the instrument so much that he’s never stopped - playing in bands and solo along the way. He's inspired by musicians and vocalists at the top of their own game who encourage him to strive for the best and to tackle all of those requests you throw at him! Developing a reputation for a sharp wit and wardrobe, Joss spends his nights feeding off the crowd and thrives on playing songs that send them wild. He’s still pinching himself that he gets to call playing at Piano Bar ‘work’.
Dave Van Elst
Dave has forged a career as a musician spanning over 31 years and has been with us from the days of the original Little Malop Street Piano Bar. He started his own musical journey at the tender age of six on the organ while growing up in Ocean Grove. These days Dave’s song repertoire has expanded into the thousands and while he spends many nights tickling the ivories with us, his days are spent teaching music at Geelong College. Musically influenced by big voices like John Farnham and Tom Jones - who have never lead him astray - he was heavily inspired by Jon Bon Jovi to grow his hair in the eighties ... needless to say it didn’t last long, but the photos remain!
Mark originally started playing the piano after his grandfather suffered a heart attack and began teaching him during his recovery. Born and raised in Melbourne by a long line of pianists and vocalists on a diet of boogie and blues, Mark has been playing them both at Piano Bar since the days of the original venue in Little Malop Street. Growing up with music in his blood has meant that while he can usually be found behind the piano he has a real affinity for guitars - developing quite the collection over time, (a collection that’s getting harder and harder to explain as a pianist!) as well as a menagerie of pets, all named after a musical style or American state ... Sit, Calypso, sit. Good dog.
The AFL mad Natalie grew up in Teesdale surrounded by instruments - in a house filled with trumpets, drums, guitars and more. It was no surprise when she wanted to start piano lessons at a young age. Eventually teaching herself to sing, she was a member of The Sweethearts of Swing while at high school and toured Australia and Europe with the band. Natalie officially joined the Piano Bar team when we opened in Colac and has been a fixture there ever since, loving that her favourites - Fleetwood Mac and Crowded House - are popular requests. Just don’t interrupt her while the footy’s on - Nat might be a dedicated cats supporter but she’s glued to any matches, no matter who’s playing!