Reviews of Spencer's original music, piano bar performances, and special events:

'Music For Myanmar' Cyclone Benefit Concert

2007 Takoma Park Folk Festival Emerging Artist Showcase Competition Winner link

George Mason University Broadside link

Phantom Tollboth Review
Short Bits link

Missoula Independent
Feature Noise link

September 6, 2006.
"Chevy Chase musician brings tunes to downtown Bethesda" by Stephanie Siegel link

Chill Out Music with Sherill Fulghum link

May, 2006.
Music Reviews " by J.R. Oliver link

April 25, 2006. The Georgetown Independent
"Local Musical Growth" by Sarah Ferrante link

April 2006
"Editor's Pick: Music Reviews of Modern Rock, Lo-Fi, Folk, Alternative, Pop" link

February 24, 2006. The Hoya
"So Sing Us a Song, You're the Piano Man" by Nick Christian link

February 23, 2006. The Baltimore Sun
"They Take Requests" by Sam Sessa link

Featured Events:

Georgetown Piano Bar Press:

Check out the following private event reviews for Spencer:

When we were looking for a musician for our wedding, we recalled a musician that we had enjoyed seeing perform a couple of times before at our golf club.  We had not budgeted a musician into our wedding budget, but Spencer worked with us to make it work.  Spencer played his keyboard from the beginning of our wedding to the end without any breaks.  We sent a list of songs we wanted Spencer to sing from his song list and he learned four special songs for us.  We (Marie) still tear up when we hear "Thinking Out Loud"  or "A Thousand Years" on the radio and recall Spencer's versions of them for our special dances.  Many of our guests commented on how professional and talented he was. They even made side bets on songs they didn't think he could play, but when he was able to belt out "Love Shack" at someone's request, Spencer blew their minds.  :)  Spencer mostly communicated with us through his manager, Jackie.  We had many email exchanges as well as phone conversations, she was always very warm and professional.  

We cannot thank you enough, Spencer.  You are so talented and you and Jackie are so accommodating to your clients. You truly added more joy to our day.  Now we always look forward to seeing your name appear on the club's calendar!

Marie and Michael 10/10/15

 I discovered Spencer in a Georgetown piano bar, 2 years on M St NW, during my " pub crawl"  for my annual conference. He was " off the charts" with his talent in piano playing, singing, cracking jokes, and just plain entertaining the dozens huddled around the grand piano!  With drinks in hand,  singing together in joy & merriment, we all had terrific feelings. We were strangers just enjoying the moment  together around the piano with Spencer conducting the pub orchestra & choir!  

He has such talent, playing songs that we can sing and dance to.  He senses the  mood of the guests and plays just the perfect songs to get us all to join in. I got so many folks on the dance floor while he was playing my favorite 50's songs ( I am a jive dancer). My feet were tired when I got back to the hotel, but my heart was full of joy from the wonderful experience in the Georgetown pub with Spencer!  
I then hired him to play at my  reception for my annual conference in spring of 2015.  He was the hit of the 4 day conference. The evaluations from our attendees gave him  the highest  marks!  
So Spencer is invited back this year to entertain my conference attendees at the Grand Hyatt in DC this May, 2016. We expect 300 folks  to attend but I should expect about 200 to attend Spencer's "piano bar "  2 hour  reception, wine & cheese segment.  He brings his song sheets with him and we can request our favorites. He wears great clothes too, including  a charming hat upon request!
I feel privileged  to have him entertain us!  It adds such value to my conference.  You will not be disappointed if you hire him for your next gig.  
Cheers ,
Elizabeth Bechtold
CEO , founder , 
Prime Label Consultants  , 
Washington DC 
Since 1972 

My husband and I really wanted live entertainment at our wedding and had our heart set on a piano bar-type feel for our reception. We loved Spencer's performances that we had seen on Youtube after googling entertainers in the DC area. It was amazingly easy to set up a time with Jaclyn, Spencer's manager, to see one of his gigs around town - at Mr. Smith's in Georgetown. Spencer was super nice to us and played my favorite Tina Turner song and my husband's favorite Ben Folds Five song. We knew he was the guy for us after it sounded better than any radio cover of our favorites ever. We knew that our guests would be transported to a true concert-type/piano bar environment. Spencer's song list is amazingly diverse as well - he does everything from classic piano bar tunes to modern songs like Mumford & Sons, Britney Spears, SNL skit songs like "I'm on a Boat," to country songs. We decided to use Spencer for the ceremony, emcee, and cocktail hour entertainment as well. He was very thorough before the wedding day about making sure he had all of the music that we wanted to hear, information for all of the introductions/speeches/first dance/dance party/dinner. He learned three new songs for our ceremony including my husband's father's favorite jazz song, my favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers Song, and a Butch Walker song. I cried before I walked down the aisle because of how beautiful his singing was before the ceremony. During the reception, he was highly professional with our friends and dealt with several last minute song requests, that weren't even on his song list. He did the Cupid Shuffle and Gangsta's Paradise by last minute request. All of our guests had nothing but raves for Spencer and one even asked me if I had switched to Elton John music because Spencer sounded so much like him. I highly recommend Spencer for any part of your wedding or reception. I recommend checking out his website and facebook page or going to see him in person. - Kimberly, 10/6/2012


I turned to Spencer Bates to make my engagement proposal truly unforgettable. Having Spencer for a private engagement in which he played hand-selected songs couldn't have been more perfectly executed. When worrying about delivering one of the most important questions in life, one can never feel fully reassured that the "big proposal" will go off without a problem. Spencer reassured me that everything would be taken care of and without another bit of effort on my part he provided exactly what I had envisioned -- and it left my fiance speechless.

Naturally, we turned again to Spencer for our wedding entertainment/music. Everyone raved about how much fun they had with his music, and the fact he could "keep the party going" even beyond the time frame we expected from him. It was a far drive for Spencer and yet he stayed up late and everyone was so grateful for his services. He not only provided the music and entertainment but also brought the equipment and made announcements during the event. His impromptu musical additions were a great compliment to speeches and requests made by guests and he never placed himself in the way of the action but rather was able to wrap himself around it with his unparalleled musical talent.

The piano became the most popular spot for our guests at our outdoor wedding and for good reason - thank you so much Spencer. - Jon, 6/18/2011


For my rooftop lounge-style wedding reception, my husband and I wanted a truly memorable and unique experience for our guests. Typical choices like a small quartet or DJ seemed "expected". We hired Spencer to play his piano and sing our favorites during our entire event, which was very "fluid" in nature (no formal sitdown dinner). Just Spencer, his piano, heavy hors d'oeuvres and cocktails on a beautiful rooftop lounge overlooking DC's monuments. For the "formal" moments, like a bride-and-groom dance, Spencer beautifully delivered a rendition of a Dean Martin song of our choosing. Afterward, our guests had a really fun time making requests to him from a song book - just like at a piano bar - and they danced and sang along in our intimate setting. He nailed every tune, from the expected requests for Elton John to the unexpected requests for Lady Gaga and Alicia Key's New York. In short, his performance was perfect, fun and memorable. His manager, Jaclyn, ensured all of the administrative details were in place - leaving Spencer to do what he does best - entertain. -Jennifer, 10/10/10


Spencer played at our wedding reception in Williamsburg, VA in September 2008.  Just by luck, we saw Spencer play at Mr. Smith's in Georgetown, and were amazed at the range of music he played, including his own pieces.

We rented a baby grand piano for the reception and Spencer had the room dancing in no time.  While hurricane Hanna blew gusts of rain against the windows, guests hardly noticed.  The crowd included 20 somethings - all the way to 80 somethings, and NO ONE could sit still. 

The biggest nightmare for any wedding is a rogue DJ.  We never worried about this with Spencer, and in fact on a few occasions more people were bellied up to him at the piano than at the bar.

We whole heartedly recommend Spencer without any reservation.  The reception turned out to be as elegant as planned, and much of that we owe to Spencer and his talent.  He read the crowd and knew what would make the night shine!

P.S. Our wedding song was Everything by Michael Buble - which he did justice to, and even played it for us again 3 years later when we popped into Mr. Smith's to say Hello! - Brad, 9/08


Spencer played at an event at my house several years back.  But I also see Spencer fairly often at his regular venue at Mr. Smith's in Georgetown.  Spencer plays a wide variety of material in a variety of styles and will even learn some new material if needed for a particular event.  That is, he is very open to customizing his repertoire to meet the needs of the event organizers.  We plan to use Spencer again in the near future. - Terry


Spencer was a major part of the success of our party at the Newseum in May of 2012.  He provided both ambient instrumental music and sing-along vocals at different times in the night.  Our guests really enjoyed his style and the variety of songs presented.  I also very much appreciated how easy it was to work with Spencer and his team in the planning of our event.  He will definitely be a go-to entertainer for future parties for our organization. - Jon, AIA|DC President 2012


Spencer said he would take care of us and he definitely exceeded our expectations. Originally we planned to hire Spencer and a DJ to mix up the entertainment at our wedding, but after Spencer assured us he could give us everything we wanted, we decided to hire him to play from cocktails to the last dance.  He can play anything and even did some nice remixes that had everyone on the floor dancing – there was never a moment where the dance floor wasn’t packed.  People loved making requests and following the wedding I was approached by a number of guests about how it was the most fun they had ever had at a wedding, in fact my parents are trying to come up with an excuse for another party to have Spencer attend.  He brought his own equipment – all we provided was a power outlet.   He also doubled as MC for all of our special wedding dances.  Spencer is extremely talented and was one of the most memorable elements of our wedding. – Cori S.