The finalists compete for the Sip ‘N Dip concert

GREAT FALLS – Tuesday night at the Sip ‘N Dip Lounge in downtown Great Falls, three of the five finalists aim to become the the new musical act of the bar will perform in front of judges and clients before a winner is named Wednesday night.

Tuesday’s paid event will feature finalists Eric Lowell Bartz, Joel Corda and Lyle Sheets, who will each be criticized by a panel of judges. On Wednesday October 6, the two other finalists – Melissa Smith and Johnny Ritchie – will face the judges.

For owner Sandy Johnson-Thares, it’s been a fun process – she’s ready to go back to business as usual with a deserving new musician in the late Piano Pat’s chair.

She said: “The talent of these five is incredible. Everyone is a great musician in their own right, so now it’s up to the judges to determine tonight and tomorrow night who gets the coveted seat.”

Tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday’s events are sold out, but the Sip ‘N Dip will broadcast all of the finalists’ performances on Facebook Live from 6.30 p.m.



(SEPTEMBER 2, 2021) Great Falls ‘Sip’ N Dip show launched a competition in July to find a new musical performer. The lounge is known for its tiki theme and “mermaids” swimming in the pool behind the bar – and of course, “Piano Pat”.

Pat Sponheim, the iconic artist who deceased in May, had been behind the keyboard singing favorites at Sip ‘N Dip since 1963. Pat was one of the reasons the Sip’ N Dip was named by GQ magazine in 2003 as the “# 1 bar on land for which it is worth stealing. “- coupled with the almost equally iconic sirens behind the bar.

This week, Sip ‘N Dip Lounge announced the five finalists for its music bar competition.

The five finalists are Joel Corda, Lyle Sheets, Melissa Smith, Johnny Ritchie and Eric Lowell Bartz – all residents of Great Falls.

The finalists will perform in front of the judges; panel on October 5 and 6, and the winner will perform live for the first time on October 8.

You can find all the biographies and audition videos of the finalists – and vote for your favorite – on the Sip ‘N Dip website.

Great Falls icon “Piano Pat” has passed away


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