Tag Archives: music

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.

Explaining the Science of Music

“Pop” Music.

The “Pop” is short for popular.  & that is further defined by your age group & sheer numbers.  So, what makes a song “popular”?  This is where the science comes in.

Music is a visceral part of the human condition.  From the moment a Neanderthal picked up a bone & began beating it rhythmically on a log, music became a form of communication that transcends all others.   When mass communication became possible via the radio, the people in charge of programing began to supply music & performing artists to a huge audience.  The folks at home, sitting in front of their radios, listened to those lucky enough to get on the radio & it made those performers rich & famous.  Stars were born.

Like the smell of cookies instantly transports you to childhood, music is inexorably linked with emotional aspects in our lives.  For a long time, the war years defined the music of the moment.  World War II, the Korean War & the War in Vietnam all had their own musical messages of comradeship, fear, loss, support or anger.  It stirred up memories & experiences of turbulent times.

Most everyone develops their musical taste growing up.   Usually, youngsters begin going to dances at school when they become adolescents.  Talk about turbulent times!  Love, hate, fitting in, being different, no one understanding you:  these are all the elements of songs that speak to young people.  “He/She knows me!  They know how I feel!”  is a common reason you follow a particular song writer.

You grow older & start dating.  The songs become more important as the backdrop to social interactions.  You meet the right person, you fall in love, you get married, all to the songs being played in the clubs, at the parties you go to, the concerts you attend, on the radio or television.  You start a family.  For most people, your musical taste has been formed.  Other more pressing things consume your time & energy.  But hearing “the old songs” transports you back to a time when you danced, laughed, loved or cried.  To when you were young.

This is what music is all about.  It joins us together, regardless of geography, culture, religion or race.  It can incite, anger, inspire, sadden but at it’s best, bring joy.  Music endures as the canvas of our past, present & future to be shared by all.  Even the cold logic of Science has to love that.

Have you ever been to a GREAT party?

One thing that really gets me, is losing a client to a D.J..  Don’t get me wrong.  Our company created D.J.’s in Chicago.  There was no such animal.  When we went to advertise, there was no category for us.  The whole reason we started down that road, was to accommodate the client that didn’t have the budget for Live Music.  How times have changed.  Obviously, the economical reason to use a D.J. instead of a great band still exists.  However, it’s the client (usually in their 20’s) who tells me that they have decided to go with a D.J., not because of budget, but because their friends tell them “Don’t get a Band!  A D.J. is SO MUCH better!”, that makes me sigh with sincere disappointment.

It wasn’t until recently, that it dawned on me:  We have never performed at a bad party.  Our party’s are FABULOUS.   Have these friends, whose opinion’s are so important to my client’s, ever been to a GREAT party?  In fact, if you are in your 20’s, how many parties have you been to?  Have you been to thousands?  Because, I have.  I am willing to bet that my client’s friends have been to two or three weddings, at the most.  & of those two or three, how many had Live Music?  Maybe one.  Maybe.  This is not a wise & experienced advisor.

I love what I do.  I am so proud of the job we do, from the first contact with prospective clients, to the cries of “Encore” & “One more!!” at the end of another GREAT party.  Our office staff is expert, pleasant & helpful, our musicians are the best, our Vocalists world class.  We give you our all.  & we promise you a GREAT party.

Return to the tradition of great Holiday Entertainment!

Here in the Midwest, the leaves are starting to turn, we’re dragging out the Halloween decorations & turning our thoughts to turkey.  If you want to enjoy living here, you have to embrace the change of seasons.  I think one thing that helps us face the impending arrival of winter, is the approach of the holidays.

What better way to celebrate all the aspects of gathering together & celebrating the passing of another year, than to have a great Holiday Party.  & why not make it an event to remember, by bringing in Live Entertainment?  We have done hundreds of company holiday events that are the culmination of a year’s hard work & a thank you for service.  What better way for them to feel appreciated, than to host a night for them to look forward to each year.  Get dressed up, have some good food, then be entertained by some awesome talent!

It is a joy for us to return each year to a party that a company has provided each holiday season for their employees.  There is a sense of community & continuity that is reassuring.  We see the guests excited & appreciative & we are too.   It’s something very, very special, like the holidays themselves.

 

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!

What is everyone listening to & the music that moves feet.

As a Bandleader, I have spent my entire professional career analyzing music & it’s effect on an event.  Technology has irrevocably changed not only the availability of music, but the infinite variety & accessibility, all at the touch of a key on your telephone or the keyboard that sits all day in front of most of us.  We used to all have common sources to develop our taste in music: from what our parents or family members listened to, from what our friends listened to, what was taught in music class in school, at private music lessons, from the radio, television, live concerts & record collections.  All these sources still exist, but the internet has opened a galaxy sized window of choice.  Sometimes it’s overwhelming to have SO many choices.  It’s certainly overwhelmed the Music Industry. 

As a Bandleader & someone that has to get as many people out on the dance floor for as long as possible, I have to know not only what is popular, but what works, what is passe & what never fails.  Within that context, we are hired to do many different functions.  We can do an entire night of just Big Band music, just Rock ‘N Roll, all 50’s-60’s, just 70’s/Disco as well as just contemporary music.  Within each of these formats, is “the Best of” dance music & the “only play under extreme circumstances” songs.  What do all of these possible formats have in common?  The fact that the combination of songs chosen & properly paced, create a Great Party.  

The important thing to remember, is that when planning a function, think about what you want the music to do for your event.  The music should be fun, entertaining & engage the most people there.  Isn’t that ultimately what everyone wants for their event?

 

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!

Happy New Year!

We ended 2013 with a fabulous wedding & a delightful bride, groom & family.  The weather cooperated & everyone had an unforgettable night.  In talking to our Bride, she said “I didn’t care about anything else, but having a fantastic band & my dreams have come true.”  I can’t tell you how many of their friends in their 20’s came up to me & said “I’ve never been to a wedding with live music before!!  This is incredible!!”

I have to admit, when I ask how things are going with some bandleaders, they say “Oh, I had a (expletive) wedding!”  This is an attitude I simply don’t understand.  I love what we do.  I am responsible for a once in a life time event each & every week.  The only other profession as amazing as mine is delivering babies!!  & I don’t have to wear a mask (except possibly at Halloween).  Weddings are always joyful & people come to have a great time & it’s my responsibility to make sure they do.  When you think about it, anyone can walk into a florist & get beautiful flowers, a wonderful restaurant & get great food or an exclusive boutique & buy beautiful clothes, but who gets the chance to experience great live dance music from a fabulous Showband?  Sadly, it’s getting more & more rare. 

Another unique part of a wedding from the perspective of being a host, is that this may be the first event you’ve ever planned that brings together a wide range of age groups.  When you invite someone, it is your responsibility as host to try & engage them in all aspects of the night.  You wouldn’t ask your aunt to a party & feed everyone but her!  It’s exactly the same with the music.  You need to make sure everyone hears something they like to dance to. There’s nothing more rewarding to a Bandleader, than to look out & see all ages on the dance floor having a great time.

So my hope for the new year for anyone reading this, is a 2014 filled with love, fun & laughter, which just happens to be my job!!