11 October 2023
Battle of the Keys St. Patrick’s Day

Battle of the Keys St. Patrick’s Day Press Release

Battle of the Keys: St. Patrick’s Day, part of the recurring Battle of the Keys series, will be touring with Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE), touring bases in the Pacific with ten shows from March 8-23, 2024. The tour features AFE tour alumni Stephen Dakin, Pamela Hopkins, and Marc Van Lue.

Dakin has been a professional musician since the tender age of 22. He started off his career touring with top 40 band. Less than a year later, he was asked to join the world-renowned “Blues Other Brothers” show band. He toured with them for eight years, traveling nationally and internationally, until he started performing as a dueling piano entertainer.

Today, he’s one of the most sought-after talents in the piano bar industry. Dakin is also an accomplished vocalist. He performs with many different artists in between piano bar shows, and really shines as a vocalist. As a rock singer, he’ll blow you away with his range and power, yet he can be soulful and tender, singing everything from R&B to country.

Hopkins is a multi-instrumentalist country music singer who performs weekly as a Dueling Piano Player in Little Rock, AR. Hopkins plays the drums, cello, bass, and harmonica and travels several times a year performing in various venues as a Dueling Piano Player and as a solo artist with her band. Though she and her band focus on country music when performing original music, they can also cover multiple genres to provide a fun and interactive environment to fit your event. Being in the dueling piano world, she can cover just about any genre asked for; she knows over 1000 top 40 songs from the 1950s to today.

Van Lue was born in Las Vegas, NV, but moved to Kansas City, MO, at the age of five. His mother, a classically trained pianist, introduced him to music and has been around music his entire life. Sports was his initial passion, and he attended Missouri State University for Media Production—but would sneak into the music hall between classes to play in the piano practice rooms. Music was never the plan, but he was a product of his upbringing. After graduating in 2009 with a non-music degree, and with the recession providing no job opportunities, music became a potential avenue.  He started his disc jockey business in 2010 and began playing dueling pianos while working an 8-to-5 office job. Starting from the bottom, Van Lue built up his craft, connections, and song repertoire to a point he that he played in some of the country’s most highly regarded piano rooms. He has played all over the U.S., on cruise ships, and overseas, but no matter where the show is, he has fun playing music.

AFE has been committed to boosting the morale and well-being of service members and their families stationed overseas through world-class live events and performances since 1951.