Tag Archives: Unique Location

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.

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.

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!

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.