Tag Archives: Birthday Party Entertainment

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.

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.

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.

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. 

The Polar Vortex got you? How about the perfect Party Vortex!

What makes a great party?  You may think the food, the facility, the decorations.  These are great ingredients, but from decades of experience, I can tell you what is the essential element in making a party great:  unity.  That means, as many guests as possible are engaged & joining in the fun.  The great unifier: music!  But music can also act to alienate some guests, so it’s important that you chose the right professionals who will  make most of your guests feel included & engaged in the whole evening.  When done right, you get a perfect Party Vortex! 

Live music is the building block for a great party.  When you have the right entertainment to interact with your guests, you have the catalyst that starts the fun.  Our Company Credo from the very beginning has been: “The Party Starts on Stage” & is the spark to inspire even the most inhibited closet party animal. 

Most people only have a few shots at creating an event which no one forgets.  It may be a wedding, an anniversary, a birthday party or a corporate/business event.  The one thing that all these special one of a kind events have in common:  you want them to be great.  My advice for obtaining this goal is to consult a Professional.  If you were having surgery, would you want it done by someone who had only done it once or twice?  Or would you want a highly skilled doctor who had performed it thousands of times?  Find the right professionals & put yourselves in their hands.   You’ll get the party of your dreams!