Tag Archives: Party

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

Why do people want to come to your Fundraiser?

If you’ve been a part of organizing a Fundraiser, there are a few things that become apparent:  1.  It’s tremendously rewarding  2.  It’s a lot of hard work  3.  You need to create an event that people can’t resist attending.  These days, the competition for charitable donors has never been more fierce.  To involve yourself in the fundraising process, you have to passionately believe in the organization you’re raising money for & you have to communicate that imperative to donors.

Generally speaking, people are generous if they can be.  But, if you tap into that group of people who are in a position to give generously, they are on lots of charitable lists.  That means they get invited to a lot of fundraising events.   So, logically, they have to want to choose your event.  That is where Entertainment can play a significant role.

Last weekend we played a beautiful Hospital Ball.  We’ve been performing at this event for many years.  I lost count of the number of people that approached me & said “When we see your name on the invitation, we mark our calendar.  We know we’re going to have a fabulous night!”  The dollars spent in investing in great music are returned in attendance & those people attending are likely to donate.  They’re also likely to tell others about the party or bring others with them the following year.  It’s a pretty simple equation.

Why do people come to your Fundraiser?  It’s an annual event they just don’t want to miss.

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.

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.

What’s been happening in the New Year of 2015!

January 2015 004 Beside lot’s of snow in January, which we had to expect, we had one very nice surprise!  For those of you planning an event in the Southwest Suburbs, you may want to take a look at The Empress in Addison.  We were involved in planning a fourth wedding for a family that liked to do things Big.  When they informed us they had chosen The Empress, we were surprised & a little worried.  We hadn’t been there in many, many years.  There is usually a reason for that!  How could they accommodate the “Big Plans” of this family we knew so well & how could they handle the needs of our “big” production?  The answer was:  extremely well.  The staff was great to work with from beginning to end, with an accurate grasp of what the client envisioned.  What they produced for them was elegant & top drawer.  & they didn’t have so many of the inconveniences of having to go Downtown to get the kind of wedding they wanted.  They were also able to give us the stage size, power & other production items important to us.  Overall, it was a delightful experience for everyone & at the end of the night, we were all happy! Planning a function in Southwest Chicagoland?  Consider The Empress.

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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. 

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.