Tag Archives: Chicagoland Location

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. 

You can’t have “The Blues” in “The House”

We’re still buzzed about our performance at The House of Blues here in Chicago!  (houseofblues.com/Chicago)     We do a phenomenal Show which we call The Chicago Music Revue, incorporating our musicians doing selections from the band Chicago (as good as the original band, if I do say so myself), numbers by the Blues sensation Pistol Pete & the Mystique Dancers performing costumed numbers from the musical Chicago.  It’s done in vignette form, in this case for an international company’s awards program.   We then follow with the whole Band doing Dance music!  It’s pretty incredible.

There were approximately four hundred guests at this event & so were upstairs in the Mainstage area.  What a fabulous stage to play, first of all.  The multilevel, wraparound viewing areas make every seat in the house great.  The décor is the coolest.  The food is wonderful.  However, what is stand up & apart is the staff there.  For example, the technical staff:  we always bring our own gear & sound specialists, because most of the time, “in house” technicians don’t have the experience of a huge group (26 on stage!) like us.  Looking good is not enough:  we have to sound great.   Imagine our surprise & pleasure when we found the in house technical staff not only knowledgeable, accommodating, but they cared!  They WANTED to do a great job & they did.  We made use of their state of the art sound & lights with delight.

The Catering & Sales staff could not have been more helpful or friendly, not only for our Client, but for us as well.  We are always friendly & easy to work with, but unfortunately it’s not always reciprocal.  Our Client had never done anything this ambitious before & they came into our on site production meeting nervously.  I’m proud to say, they walked out very excited & confident that between us & The House of Blues, everything was going to be great.  & it went better than they ever dreamed! 

At the end of the evening, our Clients (drenched in sweat from non-stop dancing) shook their heads & one said “How are we EVER going to top this?!?”  I’m confident, that it’s going to be REAL hard!

 

A Jewel in Joliet

For many years now, we have regularly performed at all the most prestigious locations in the Chicagoland area: the Drake Hotel, Chicago Hilton & Towers, Peninsula, Ritz-Carleton, the Field Museum, Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium, Planetarium…the list goes on.  Each of these places has a particular elegance, charm or unique quality.  When you think about a beautiful location, you probably think about the City.

Of course, we perform a great deal in the suburbs as well.  Not only with our Social/Private Party work, but with our Corporate Clients.  However, it has been awhile since ventured out to Joliet.  And I’m so glad we did.

Last weekend, we performed for a wedding at the Patrick Haley Mansion (patrickhaleymansion.com), built in the late 1800’s by Patrick Haley, then the Mayor, commissioning the nationally known architect & Egyptologist Frank Shaver Allen.  The old building has been fabulously restored, utilizing much of the original hardwood artistry & stained glass, all done with exquisite taste.  They added a fantastic party room to the back of the facility, with a conservatoire feel, floor to ceiling windows looking out at the beautiful garden & gazebo & a glass ceiling over the dance floor that reminds you a little of heaven.

We provided Ceremony music out in the garden for the Wedding Service, then guests moved in to the mansion for cocktails, moving easily throughout the elegant yet warmly inviting rooms.  The staff could not have been friendlier or more accommodating, not only for the Client & the guests, but also for those of us working there.  It is a reminder that we ALL have one thing to do:  make sure our Client has the most enjoyable event & we should all work together to make sure that happens.  In this case, not only was it accomplished with finesse, we all had a great time making it so. 

Additionally, there was ample parking immediately adjacent to the facility (also beautifully landscaped) & with the addition to I355 to the south, it is quite convenient to get to from all directions.

If you are thinking about a suburban event & you want something different, private, beautiful, welcoming & well run, think about the Patrick Haley Mansion.

 

Choosing the Right facility for your event

When planning a Special Event in a large Metropolitan place like Chicago, you are awash in choices of location.  There are a few things common sense criteria to consider: 

First: Do you have a lot of out of town guests?  If you do, then a hotel may be at the top of your list of considerations.  Most Hotels offer a Ballroom, discount to your guests, a Honeymoon Suite (if it’s a wedding your planning) & maybe even discounted parking for your guests.  You have the option of all your activities, i.e. meetings, Ceremony/Reception, hospitality etc.  in one place.  You also tempt people from the suburbs that don’t want to attend your event, then drive home.  They can stay for the night & not worry.  Hotels have the advantage of in-house food to choose from, to fit whatever your budget.  Lots of pluses.

Second:  Are a lot of your guests from the surrounding area?  If you are thinking of a “downtown” choice for your location, it may be difficult for the embedded suburbanites to navigate in the city.  It will be added expenses for them, the least of which is parking.   This can be very intimidating for many people.

Thirdly: Do you want the place to yourself?  If you are planning a once in a lifetime event, such as a wedding or anniversary, when you go to a hotel or larger facility, it is open to the public & you will be sharing that space with others.  If you are having a small group, you may want to explore unique spaces in your area that cater to Special Events, such as Museums, Historic Homes or Botanic Gardens, for instance.  You have certain restrictions when choosing places like this, but they do make for beautiful & very special events. 

Make sure you consult professional Event Specialists for their experiences & recommendations for your Very Special Event!