GREAT FALLS – U.S Representative Greg Gianforte (R-MT) honored Patricia Spoonheim, better known as “Piano Pat,” with his weekly “Spirit of Montana” award on Friday.
In a press release Gianforte said that she was chosen for “entertaining countless patrons from Montana and across the globe at the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge since 1963.”
Gianforte’s statement about Spoonheim is entered into the Congressional Record, and reads as follows:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a Montana musician known and loved by hundreds of thousands of fans in Montana and across the world.That’s no exaggeration, because she has played in one iconic Montana establishment for 55 years.
Patricia Spoonheim, better known as Piano Pat, began playing keyboards at the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge in Great Falls in 1963. Travel publications acclaim the Sip ‘n Dip as a “must see” in Montana, and Piano Pat is one of the reasons. Pat was born and raised along Montana’s Hi-Line in the 1930s. Even during harsh winters, Pat’s mother would drive her over 80 miles roundtrip for piano lessons. She began playing professionally at the age of 14.Pat worked multiple jobs and played several nights a week to support her family.
Now into her 80s, Piano Pat still enjoys what she does. She teaches her grandchildren piano and continues to work nights at the Sip ‘n Dip. The one song she says she particularly loves performing is “Try a Little Tenderness.” Television networks and national publications have profiled Piano Pat. A cable television channel recently featured her to represent Montana in a series titled “Her America: 50 Women, 50 States.”
Her music and spirit have entertained countless Montanans and visitors from across the globe. It is my honor to recognize Patricia Spoonheim for entertaining patrons of the Sip ‘n Dip and for representing our Montana way of life.
Reporting by David Sherman for MTN News