Tag Archives: Beautiful location

How to maximize your Gala Potential

Post-Holiday wintertime in Chicago is the perfect time to hold your Gala Fundraiser.  You might think the weather is a negative factor, but as long as the facility you choose is accessible by major roads, there is only going to be a very slight chance that the weather could effect attendance.  On the contrary, most people are anxious to dress up, get out of the house & have some fun between January & May.

We just finished a tremendously successful event last week.  We have done it several years in a row & it’s always been good, but this year was the very best & our Client was ecstatic.  What was the difference?  They listened to our common advice for party planning:  1.  Keep the party area as contained as possible.  You may be in a venue with lots of distraction such as a museum, but make sure food & beverage is in the same room as the dancing.  2.  Make sure your dance floor is small & directly in front of your music.  People are uncomfortable with a large dance floor.  3.  Hold the largest, most desirable gifts, raffle or prizes to the very end.  This brings everyone together & builds excitement.  4.  As soon as your raffle/awards are over, make sure you’ve coordinated with the entertainment & hit it immediately!  Grab your guests & compel them to stay & party!  They will go home & mark their calendars for next year’s event.

This advise goes across the board for party planning.  Maximize your potential for making a night your guests will never forget.

Making A Wish come true.

We are getting ready to perform once again for Make A Wish, the organization that selects critically ill children & grants their wish.  We have been entertaining over the years, with such Guest Stars as Jay Leno, Martin Short, Dana Carvey & David Spade, to name a few.  Each year, the organization features a personal story of one of their Recipients & the way their lives, along with their families, were impacted by this wonderful Foundation.  One child wanted to visit the set of “The Office”.  The star of this series, Steve Carell & his wife, took personal care of the special guest & went on to donate to Make A Wish.  Not a dry eye in the house.

Another young boy wanted to skate with The Blackhawks Hockey Team.  Not only were he & his brothers lavishly welcomed & hosted, but Jonathan Toews, the Captain of the team, recorded a special video for him, to be played at the Gala.  It was tremendous.

We are kind of the icing on the cake at the end of the evening, with our rich variety of great dance music & traditionally, this is a Party Crowd.  The Band looks forward to it each year.  It’s important to remember, as we watch the news & contemplate all the bad things that are taking place, domestically & abroad, that there are people who dedicate themselves to doing purely good works & providing joy for afflicted children.

Dan & Jay2015 Fuji Camera 049

What to do, see & listen to, during the Holidays!

No matter where you live in the United States, there is a holiday to celebrate in the next few weeks.  This is a time when friends, family & colleagues take a moment to gather & enjoy whatever relationship they share.  Most of the time, this includes a party of some kind.  The background of that event is the great unifier:  music.  By mid-December, you may be getting a bit tired of hearing Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” or contemplate stuffing something into those sleigh bells to stop them ringing, but it’s the music that, so often, is responsible for putting us in the mood.

The holidays also include many wonderful live performance choices, especially if you live in a vital metropolitan area like Chicago.  You have so many choices, that it can be hard to decide what to enjoy!  The Nutcracker, holiday shows by Chicago Ac Capella, the Chicago Symphony Welcome Yule, many & various productions of The Christmas Carol; the list is extensive & tremendous.

We encourage you to turn off the television, leave the confines of your living room, brave the elements & treat yourself to a few nights of real, live entertainment.

And, of course, we wish you the Happiest of Holidays & a new year filled with love, peace and best of all, live music.

Summer Event Temptations

Who doesn’t love a summer party?  The gardens are in bloom, the temperatures balmy, everything is green & your clothes are light weight.  I certainly don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but if you’re thinking this is the perfect time to have your event, let me alert you to a few of the pitfalls that can sabotage a summer party:  First, is the heat.  There are never any guarantees on the weather, but if it’s over ninety degrees & your facility has no air conditioning, you’re going to have uncomfortable & unhappy guests.  I know this seems obvious, but you have NO idea how many times a dewey-eyed bride will say “But, I’ve always dreamed of having my wedding in a barn!”   Those dreams can lead to heat stroke & ruined suits.  It’s not very romantic but there it is.  On a related note, if you’re outside in a garden, forest preserve, lake or country club, you have to consider the bugs.  They like a party as much as the next person.  But the next person may be your Aunt Edna & she’s allergic to bee stings!   A third booby trap of the beautiful setting, is it can separate your guests.  Put a bar outside & half the people will go there, never to come in again.  If you want cohesive, enthusiastic partying & dancing, you need the whole crowd joining in, so you want to keep them together. If you plan ahead, considering some of these challenges which may relate to your choice of venue, then you can avoid these pitfalls & have the perfect party.  & without a doubt, everyone loves a summer party.

Working with the great Jay Leno!

Dan & JayWe are looking forward to performing again for Make-A-Wish Foundation on May 16th & this year, with Jay Leno!  He is truly a delight, both on stage & off.  He is definitely one of my favorite Celebrities with which to work.  The biggest problem we had with him, was his propensity to leap out of the ground transportation we provided & go into crowds of people!  The first time we had him booked, we engaged our usually security, even though Jay didn’t require it (very unusual).  We generally use off-duty Chicago Policemen for this job, in this case, Matt.  He & a Driver picked Jay up at the airport & they were on their way to the hotel, when Jay asked about stopping at a good Italian Beef stand.  Matt happened to be an expert on this subject.  He instructed the driver & when they arrived, expected to go in & get the sandwiches, while the “Star” stayed in the limo behind tinted windows.  Jay was hosting the Tonight Show at the time & probably one of the most recognizable people in America.  To Matt’s shock, the “Star” leapt out of the limo & went into the crowded street & caused a sensation!  He laughed & joked with people, posing for pictures, shaking hands.  Matt went on to act as “security” for Jay many times after that, always prepared for something spontaneous & hilarious.  Our clients always loved him & so did we!  It’s not surprising that such a generous celebrity would donate his time for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Looking at the 2014 Holiday Season…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   This Holiday Season has been a busy one for us, with beautiful Parties at the Museum of Science & Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, the Fairmont Hotel, The Drake Hotel & many other Chicago iconic locations.  It makes us so thankful to be members of the Chicago Live Music Scene & to be an integral part of celebrating with many Companies, Corporations & Foundations.

When you have a large gathering of people, especially International Companies or Medical Organizations, you’re going to have rich cultural diversity.  It’s certainly difficult, if not impossible to satisfy everyone’s taste.  However, that is the beauty of music.  It is the great equalizer, knowing no boundaries or barriers.  It’s something that can be enjoyed by everyone, when performed with taste & entertainment value.  We’re so proud that it is for this, that we are best known.  We’re so proud of the all the performances we have done for our Clients in 2014 & look forward to 2015.

We wish you all the best for a Happy & Prosperous New Year!

 

 

 

 

Hard Rockin’ at the Cafe!

005  You can find a Hard Rock Café in many major cities & they are great fun to visit, especially if you’re a tourist in a new place.  If you haven’t been to one, they are usually located where everything is happening, filled with Rock ‘N Roll memorabilia, multi-leveled & have great food.  They’re also set up for Live Performances, with a nice sized stage & professional in-house sound.

The restaurant chain is so popular, you may not think of this facility for a private party.   However, in Chicago, we can highly recommend just that!  The location is perfect, situated in the heart of the happening part of town.  The facility itself is perfectly suited for any type of event you’d like to host, from semi-private to securing the entire place, even on a Saturday night!

We find the staff knowledgeable, friendly & accommodating.  The in-house sound is excellent & the layout perfect for enjoying the stage & having lots of room for people to move about or sit & enjoy the Show.

It’s a great place to consider, if you want an exciting, happening & fun place for your next meeting or reception in Chicago!  We hope to see you there!

Performing in a Chicago Icon

I always love coming back to the Palmer House.  It’s as if I’ve taken the Concorde to Europe for the evening.  Relaxing for a moment in the lobby is like being asked to lounge in a Palace of Versailles salon.  Such hotels are important to a city, preserving it’s history & helping maintain the sense of continuity that makes people want to return.

Each of the event sites within the hotel are quite unique.  We’ve had rocking Corporate blow outs in the Grand Ballroom, elegant Wedding Receptions in the Red Lacquer Room & quirky avant-garde Networking events in the Empire Room.  We’ve produced quite a bit of Name Entertainment in each of the ballrooms over the years.   It’s such a huge & versatile place.  & at the end of the night, you can sit down & simply people watch in that incredible lobby.  Our work generally takes us to the wee hours & even at this time, the lobby is still full of guests, visitors, sightseers & revelers.

We’ll be there this weekend & I can’t wait.  It’s a reminder of what I love about Chicago & the city that’s made it possible for me to make a living, doing what I love to do.  Maybe I’ll see you there!

Live a little this summer with LIVE music!!

Throughout the summer in the Chicagoland area, you will find it hard to find a community or neighborhood that does NOT offer free concerts at a local park or square.  Taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity, entails putting on pants & a shirt & leaving your front room.  It’s really pretty easy.   Grab your lawn chair, a blanket & your good vibes & take them out to enjoy a night of entertainment, while there’s still live entertainment to enjoy. 

More importantly, if you have kids, take THEM out to see live musicians & performers!  Sadly, people in their twenties come up to me after a Show & say: “That was AWESOME!!  I’ve never seen a live band.”  This is a serious loss for society.  Music & art bind us & fill the gaps between language, culture & color.  It communicates when no other communication is possible. 

So I strongly encourage you, before the summer is over:  turn off your big screen TV.  Walk through your neighborhood.  Maybe say hello to your neighbors.  Take a young person out to see real people playing real music.  & ENJOY!

Story Book Wedding at the Field Museum!

Weddings are my very favorite event at which to perform.  Hands down.  I know a lot of my colleagues don’t agree with me.  I ran into one of them recently, when we happened to be doing a Corporate event at a downtown hotel.  He asked what we were doing there & I told him.  I then asked what he was doing and he replied quote:  “Oh, just a f*&king wedding”.   This not only shocked me, but made me a little angry.  Every wedding is a once in a lifetime event & the most important day or night in at least two people’s lives.  It’s a privilege to be there & make it a success.

That being said, our wedding a short time ago at the Field Museum, was a door buster, even in our vast experience.  It was a seamlessly coordinated effort from all angles, flawlessly pull it off & we did.  One initial challenge:  There was a Dave Matthews Band concert on Northernly Island the same night & if you’re familiar with Chicago, you will know that the Museum Campus shares all parking space with that facility!  Once we got advance notice, we acted quickly to secure parking or travel arrangements for guests & staff.  Does this sound easy?  It took a tremendous amount of planning & cooperation.  & traffic that night was nightmarish.  We have done events where up to 40% of guests invited couldn’t make it to the party on time, many turning around & going home in frustration.  It’s important when doing these downtown locations, to have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on.

Stanley Hall in the Field Museum is an awesome place.  Add gorgeous lighting, linens & flowers & it’s magical.  We always take great care with our sound production, when working this hall & the challenges are considerable.  Our goal is to have the best sound at the most tasteful volume & this was achieved.  The bride’s family were from Italy & when she found out that myself & Nancy, one of our Lead Vocalists are trained in Opera, she had us perform several popular Italian arias.  She & I have performed at the Lyric Opera House & Symphony Center & I think it sounded every bit as good in Stanley Hall!

The groom was Syrian & they asked us to accommodate those guests as well, which we were happy to do.  The blending of the two cultures was beautiful.  I feel confident that every guest went home thinking it was the most incredible wedding they’d ever attended.  It certainly was memorable for us. 

Our thanks go out to the two families, for making us a part of such a spectacular night.