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Randy Beecher celebrating 20th anniversary as the ‘piano man’ at Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe

Randy Beecher
Randy Beecher

By Diane Y. Welch

From Thursday through Saturday evenings Rancho Santa Fe’s genteel, award-winning Mille Fleurs on Paseo Delicias transforms into a hopping venue where regular patrons not only come to dine but to sing, dance and hear Randy Beecher play piano.

Beecher, the restaurant’s official piano man, has become as much an attraction as its five-star French California cuisine and on May 23 — to the day — he celebrates his 20-year anniversary of playing piano at Mille Fleurs.

Creating a “vibe” that is reminiscent of “Cheers,” Beecher knows the regular clients by name, and knows their favorite songs, said Mille Fleurs owner Bertrand Hug. “He truly cares about the customers,” he said. “And he’s an elegant guy who has been very loyal.”

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Because of this client rapport Beecher has created a family of faithful followers, regular fans who not only come to hear him play at Mille Fleurs but who also follow him on facebook, making comments and posting photographs.

This popularity is in part due to Beecher’s ability to “read the room” and tailor his repertoire to fit the mood of a dynamic clientele. “I never arrive with a song list in mind,” said Beecher.

If clients are younger and more energetic then contemporary hits are played; if they are more relaxed, then jazz may fit the mood; and for the more reserved clients enjoying a quiet evening, classical favorites may be more appropriate. And this often changes as the evening progresses as clients arrive to round-off their night’s entertainment.

A vast repertoire of hundreds of songs was honed over decades of playing venues county-wide. For five years Beecher played five nights a week at the Mexican Village in Coronado, and played weekends for about four years at the Mercedes Room at the Bahia, and other local piano bars.

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Beecher started piano lessons at the age of 10, then began playing in garage bands with school friends. His professional gigs started just after he graduated from Grossmont High School. A native San Diegan, Beecher is also a graduate of San Diego State University with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music. He currently teaches music at Mesa and Grossmont community colleges.

With a diverse musical line-up, Beecher recreates current hits along with the early classics of George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, and of modern composers such as Andrew Lloyd Weber and Marvin Hamlisch. He has performed publicly or privately for numerous international and local celebrities, including President Gerald and Betty Ford, and Bill Gates.

His fateful relationship with Hug began when Beecher was playing happy hour at Kelly’s in the Town and Country Hotel. During his break a customer approached him. “It turns out he was the pianist at Mille Fleurs, and asked me if I had heard of it. I said, ‘I really hadn’t,’” recalled Beecher. “He was looking for a stand-in and was impressed by my playing.”

A week before Beecher was supposed to substitute for that pianist he called Beecher to say there had been a change of plan. “He had given in his notice and said that if I was interested in his job I should audition,” said Beecher. The day after his audition Hug hired Beecher and the rest is history.

“When I initially got this job, I had played just about every dive and four-star hotel in San Diego. But I soon began to see that Mille Fleurs is a very unique place,” recalled Beecher. “Everything about it — the location, Bertrand, the clientele — is special. I remember thinking 20 years ago, I’ve got to hang on to this. I saw this as one of the best working music gigs in Southern California. I still feel that way today.”

Over the years, Randy has been named “Best of the Best Piano Bar Entertainer” three times by San Diego Magazine.

The 20-year anniversary celebration will span May 23, 24 and 25. “I guarantee there will be a lot of people partying at Mille Fleurs this whole weekend,” said Hug.

Find out more about Randy Beecher at https://

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www.bestpianobar.com/bio.html

;

www.facebook.com/randy.beecher

and find out more about Mille Fleurs at

www.millefleurs.com

.


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