This page was last updated on 4 May 2009

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Pamela "Schmaltzy" Ferguson visited February 24th 2007

On Sunday, February 24th, Russell was accompanied by the accomplished violinist, Pamela "Schmaltzy" Ferguson.  Schmaltzy, a violin teacher from the Washington, DC area, performs at Tavira Restaurant in Chevy Chase MD, playing Brazilian jazz with Peter Fields.  Some of you may remember her when she joined Russell for an impromptu performance on Saturday, February 17th, 2007.  Below is a picture of her and Russell from Sunday’s performance on February 24th.


Below is the article that was published in the October 2007 issue of Nouveau Magazine:

Music du Jour

Russell Eiffert
By Bob Egan

He doesn't have a brother George, but the other elements are there: the showmanship, musicianship and a flair for the theatrical. Like Liberace, Russell Eiffert is a one-man musical extravaganza. One of the first musicians I came upon in New Hope, Russell immediately impressed me almost as much as his large, loyal following -- the latter of which was enough to convince me of Russell's status as a living local institution. Even then, Russell's style of piano bar playing was decidedly old school (and I mean that in the most complimentary way). He held court, but encouraged everyone in the room to be part of the act -- and they were!

Originally from Troy, PA, Russell studied piano since he was eight years old. Majoring in both English and Theatre, he taught High School English until 1992 in Plainfield and Basking Ridge, NJ. It was there that he enjoyed directing all the school plays.

His interest in piano bars came from college days going to Irish pubs in Scranton, PA. Upon getting his first piano playing job at the old Cartwheel, in New Hope back in 1974, Russell came into a crowd dictating show tunes, so his repertoire followed suit. After retiring from school teaching, he moved to Palm Desert, CA, but.. three years later he, like so many Bucks County ex-patriots, was drawn back home.

Thirty Three years later, Russell still has his loyal following. Russell now plays locally on Thursdays and Saturdays at the Raven Resort, in New Hope, PA You can find out more about his local engagements on his website at

Not only has his song book grown over the years,, but so has his set - including a candelabra, lights, curtains. Each week he brings a different backdrop and theme, and ends with the group singing Liberace's theme song 'I'll Be Seeing You.”

“The glitz and theatrics are all in sheer fun” Russell laughs. “I just like to see everyone come together and have a great time. Liberace laughed all the way to the bank. I laugh all the ride home, and… I love every minute of it” And the comparison between Russell and Liberace? Well, that's not just a joke. Only last year, Russell won the “Showmanship” Division of the annual Liberace competition in Las Vegas.

Below is the article that was published in the Bucks County Herald in the August 23rd, 2007 issue:


                     Can’t help singing

August 23, 2007

New Hope mayor Larry Keller proclaimed Aug. 9 as “Jack McLaughlin Day” in recognition of Mr McLaughlin’s 34 years of participation and promotion of the local sing-along piano bars. The procamation was presented to Mr McLaughlin, of Hampton N.J., at a birthday celebration by Russell Eiffert in the Oak Room at the Raven Resort. Eiffert himself has been a popular presence in the piano bar scene. McLaughlin began to frequent the local venues when Eiffert was beginning his long tenure at the old Baron/Cartwheel bar. In the photgraph above, Mayor Keller presents McLaughlin with the proclamation.

On August 9th 2007, Russell hosted a Surprise 80th Birthday Party for Big Jack.  Jerry Marlatt flew in from Texas and surprised everyone. The pictures are posted in the photo gallery. 

On June 25th, 2007, Russell hosted a 80th Birthday bash for Bill Sellers.  See the pictures in the photo gallery.

Please note: If you would like printed copies of the photos, please see Lee or Gary.

Russell did not play the piano on Thursday, March 15th, 2007.  Instead, he played on the famous mirrored piano at the Liberace museum, for 2 hours while tours were going through the Museum.

On Saturday, February 17th, 2007, Pamela "Schmaltzy" Ferguson, a violin teacher from the Washington, DC area stopped by the Oak Room and joined Russell. It was a big hit.  You can see her picture in the photo gallery. To view these pictures, go to the photo gallery web page

Below is the article that was published in the Hunterdon County Democrat.  (Jim T sent me the link).  In addition to the full text of the aticle that I copied below, here is a link to the actual article:


Raritan Township's 'Mr. Showmanship' wins Liberace prize

Thursday, November 09, 2006

By Sue Sharpe

Like his idol Liberace, Russell Eiffert has earned the title "Mr. Showmanship," which won't surprise Eiffert's fans at The Raven in New Hope.

The Raritan Township resident is just back from Las Vegas where he outplayed five competitors to win the Liberace Piano Competition's professional showmanship prize. The pianist performed a medley of tunes by Gershwin, one of Liberace favorite composers, and was favorably judged on both his costume and presentation.

While he savors the win, which included a trophy and $250 cash, his greatest thrill was the opportunity to perform on Liberace's own rhinestone-covered Baldwin piano. He found out about the competition, now it its 15th year, by accident while touring the Liberace museum in Las Vegas. After submitting an application, demo tape and photograph, he was chosen to participate.

According to relatives, he was a skillful pianist even before he began taking lessons at age 8. "It came naturally," he says, "I can play by ear and written music." By 16, he lost interest in classical music and began practicing on his own. He tried to emulate his favorite pianists but also focused on developing a personal style.

Over the years, he says, he's created a method of playing that's "all my own but infused with people I admire." After Liberace, "Poet of the Piano" Carmen Cavallaro is his next-greatest influence. Eiffert believes playing well is important, but capturing an audience requires a special spark and he admires performers with both strengths.

He "senses" his favorite pianists in all the nuances of his own music. "When I play, I hear them and see them," he says. Like Liberace, he "plays a very full piano, from top to bottom" and is especially drawn to the sound of twin pianos, which could be found years ago in Broadway orchestra pits. By making use of the entire piano keyboard in his arrangements, he's able to recreate the sound that he loves.

Eiffert taught English and theater in the New Jersey school system for 25 years and began playing in local piano bars during the late '70s. He's never stopped. Each night he performs "a little bit of this and a little bit of that." A regular at The Raven since 1999, he tickles the ivories every Saturday night from 7 to 11 and Thursday night from 5 to 9.

The intimate atmosphere lends itself to his favorite music. "It's an old-fashioned piano bar," he says, where patrons sit around him and sing show tunes and standards from the American Songbook. Popular songs of today are left at the door. "I joke that I turned my radio off in 1959," he says.

Russell's SURPRISE 30th Anniversary Party was held at the Cartwheel on Thursday April 15th 2004.  The Cartwheel prepared a table of hors d'oeuvres and we ordered a cake, in the shape of a Baby Grand piano, from C'est La Vie Bakery in New Hope.

The party was a great success and Russell was very surprised and honored.  Pictures of the party can be found on the Party page of this web site. Just click on the button marked <See Pictures from Russell’s 30th Surprise Party> on the left of any page.
(Rob S.)

We had the distinguished honor of singing with Celeste Holm at the Raven on Saturday, January 31st 2004.  She sang the original words to Blue Moon, which was called “Oh Lord”. A hush fell over the crowd and the doors at the steps were closed to hear her sing this song. During which the doors opened and her verse in the song, without skipping a beat was, "close those GD doors". It certainly made for an interesting night.. (Barry D.)


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