Archive for the 'Events' Category

19
Dec
12

Official opinions: a holiday playlist that’s not played out

QuestoBy this time in the season you may be tired of the same old holiday music. Never fear, Questlove and the 6th Floor Blog have some fun options to add a little soul to your celebration.

The 6th Floor is the blog of The New York Times Magazine, where staff members — editors, designers, writers, photo editors and researchers — share ideas, arguments, curiosities and links. In Monday’s post, they ask party professionals for some tips to make the most of your holiday soiree. They begin the article with Questlove of The Roots to help you make a holiday playlist that’s not played out. His suggestions include soulful gems like: “Back Door Santa” by Clarence Carter, “Boogaloo Santa Claus” by J.D. McDonald and his personal fav, “Santa Is a Black Man” by Akim and Teddy Vann. Says Questlove, “It’s like an updated version of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Check ‘em out below:

“Back Door Santa”

Boogaloo Santa Claus:

And last, but not least, “Santa Is a Black Man”

05
Dec
12

Official opinions: WPCS- Chicago’s choir. Your choir. Our concert

Everyone knows that the holiday season would just not be the same without music. This Saturday, December 8 at 3 p.m. the Wicker Park Choral Singers deliver fun, high-quality choral music in their upcoming winter concert “It Takes a Village.” This performance will take place at Wicker Park Lutheran Church, 1502 N. Hoyne Ave., Chicago, and as always, the concert is free and open to the public.

As the Nigerian Igbo proverb says, “Ora na-azu nwa,” which translates to, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Join WPCS for international folk songs, modern compositions, and holiday arrangements all relating to the theme of community. Featured works include “The Promise of Living” (Copland); “Walk Together Children” (Hogan); Haitian “Twa Tanbou” (Guillaume), and Kenyan “Wana Baraka” (Kirchner).

Garfield Park's "Voices of the Season"

Garfield Park Conservatory’s “Voices of the Season”

“Five years ago, WPCS began as a community dedicated to the appreciation and performance of choral music,” said Mark Tomasino, president and artistic director of WPCS. “It took the dedication of each member in this community — this village — to grow WPCS into what it is today. The strength of the organization and the refinement of its artistic merit has never been more evident than in this season’s repertoire.”

Here are a couple of sneak peaks of Saturday’s holiday program, including the song serving as inspiration for its theme, “It Takes a Village” by Joan Szymko.

“Noel Ayisyen” (Haitian Noel)

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Caroling at the Garfield Park Conservatory

WPCS already kicked off its holiday festivities at Garfield Park Conservatory‘s “Voices of the Season” program this past Sunday.  In addition to their two live performances in December, WPCS has been invited to perform on Live from WFMT, the acclaimed weekly concert series produced and aired on 98.7WFMT, Chicago’s preeminent classical music station. Tune in to the FM station on Monday, December 10 at 8 p.m. to listen to this special recital.

Want to learn more about WPCS? Click here for an entertaining account of the group’s history.

30
Nov
12

Official Opinions: Chicago is your home for the holidays

Chicago hosts so many holiday events throughout November and December it’s hard to choose which ones to attend. Here at Stitely we once again combed through tons of seasonal events and recommends these as some of the best.

  • For a fun day appropriate for all ages head over to Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest. This indoor winter playground includes an indoor ice-skating arena, rides, obstacle courses and a huge Ferris wheel. Not your thing? Then hide from the winter winds and watch the festive band performances throughout the day. It’s impossible to be a Scrooge at this indoor winter wonderland. (By the way, did I mention it’s indoors?!)
  • For merry melodies check out the upcoming Voices of the Season at the Garfield Park Conservatory on December 2nd. Celebrate the season by enjoying the melodies of various choral groups throughout the Conservatory. One group stands out from the others though, our very own Rachel sings with the Wicker Park Choral Singers who will happen to be participating in the event and its FREE; you have to love that. Come enjoy the music as well as some refreshments and holiday activities.
  • One of my favorite childhood memories is driving through nearby suburban neighborhoods to “ohhhhh” and “ahhhh” at the colorful lights.  Why not bring this experience to Chicago? Hop on the “Holiday Lights Tour” with the Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co. to see the beautiful holiday lights of Chicago. Sights include Macy’s holiday windows on State Street, the Daley Plaza tree, Buckingham Fountain and many more.  Make sure to purchase your tickets in advance and check the weather so you know how to stay cozy on the ride!
  • Want to check out some more beautiful lights but don’t want to spend any money to do so? Why don’t you head over to the Lincoln Park Zoo to experience the entire Zoo light up for the holiday season. Check out the animals but also get the mesmerizing lights that make the holiday season memorable. The lights turn on from 5-9pm and Santa is there to take photos with. Besides that though the zoo is offering new 3-D displays, live ice carvings every night and a musical light show. It’s fun for the whole family you won’t want to miss it!
  • While it’s wonderful to be with family during the holidays, there are always those hysterical, awkward, I-CAN’T-BELIEVE-YOU-JUST-DID-THAT moments. This year Second City celebrates these weird holiday experiences with its “Nutcracking Holiday Revue” show. Showcasing a variety of skits along with improv and songs, this show is going to be a hit!  Performances run until December 31st so get your tickets now.

We hope you have a very happy holiday season. Now get out there and enjoy it!

02
Nov
12

Official opinions: Making music and money in 2012

Playing music for fundraisers and working with non-profit organizations is always a great experience. Their members have such a strong commitment to important causes and they exert tremendous effort to host innovative and fun-filled events. Tomorrow’s event benefiting the Tondue Primary School in Mozambique is no exception.

Tomorrow from 7-10 p.m. at the Sidebar Grille, event-planner Deborah Borsum is hosting an enlightening evening of food, drink and music, featuring a Stitely jazz duo. All proceeds from this event go to World Vision, an organization dedicated to helping children, families, and communities overcome injustice and poverty. World Vision is currently building a primary school for the people of Namanjavira, Mozambique where the current adult literacy rate is only 35%! So head downtown to the Sidebar Grille and eat up to help increase literacy.

Throughout 2012, Stitely Entertainment has worked with numerous charity organizations. Whether we provided a DJ, jazz combo, or full band, we really enjoyed being able to contribute to these events with the inspiring addition of music. Here are some other fantastic fundraisers of which we were proud to be a part:

We were thrilled to reprise our participation in the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Message of Hope gala this April. Last year, 312 Chicago performedfor over 350 guests at the successful event that ultimately raised over $550,000 benefiting UNICEF’s international work.

All photos by Lily Calfee and Maureen Donlon of Lili Miller Media

This year the Stitely Orchestra brought the party to the Union League Club, performing for more than 370 guests that pitched in to raised nearly $671,000, exceeding fundraising goals by $46,000 and setting a new gala record! In addition to dancing, the event featured performances by the Columbia College of Chicago Gospel Repertory Ensemble and world-renowned, ten-year-old pianist and composer Emily Bear. There was a raffle, as well as a live and silent auction that featured prizes like a weekend getaway to the Sundance Film Festival, a trip to Jamaica, a South African vacation, and a beautiful bronze sculpture by artist Jean Jacques Porret.

May 9 was our first experience working with Chicago’s Interfaith House. The Interfaith House is a wonderful organization that provides a healing environment and resources to help ill and injured homeless adults restore their health, rebuild their lives and regain self sufficiency. This short video explains their mission and features interviews with past & current residents, staff & volunteers. DJ Vincent spun 20′s 30′s and 40′s music for their annual Big Band-themed fundraiser, “Ain’t We Got Fun,” at Germania Place. NBC 5′s LeeAnn Trotter emceed the evening that raised money to continue the charity’s efforts to improve the health and welfare of its residents.

On July 31, a Stitely jazz duo played at the Public Justice 30th Annual Gala and Awards Dinner held at Union Station. Public Justice is a national public interest law firm that works to advance the public good by fighting for precedent-setting and socially significant litigation that protects consumers, employees, civil rights, and the environment. The Public Justice Foundation supports the firm’s cutting-edge litigation; they also educate the public about the critical issues the firm addresses in court. Check out the video below for footage from the fabulous evening that featured a live auction, awards, delicious food, and Stitely music.

In September the Foundation Fighting Blindness asked Stitely to return for a second year to perform at their annual Visions Ball at The Four Seasons. The Foundation Fighting Blindness funds research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases. These diseases affect more than 10 million people in the United States and ultimately lead to blindness. The Visions Ball is quickly becoming a Chicago tradition to benefit the Foundation in their mission to fund cutting-edge research. The Foundation booked a Stitely jazz/swing quintet to play earlier in the evening, followed by a performance by comedian Jimmy Tingle and a Stitely DJ dance party to close the evening.

This fall was also Stitely’s first time working with the Big Brothers Big Sisters. We were thrilled when a past wedding client, who is also a BBBS volunteer, approached us about working with this wonderful organization on this brand new event. The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago’s mission is to empower at-risk youth by providing one-to-one mentoring that enables lifelong success. They strengthen local communities by pairing adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, to develop positive, nurturing relationships. The Stitely Orchestra performed for over 300 guests at the BBBS gala and silent auction held Galleria Marchetti on September 28. We’re proud that the event helped the organization raise over $130,000 for local neighborhood programs!

It’s been a great year of giving and galas and we can’t wait for more next year!

31
Oct
12

official opinions: Costumes for the musically-inclined

Who wouldn’t want to wear this?

Every year I have trouble deciding what I want to be for Halloween.  You’d think after 27 years of celebrating the same holiday on the same date I’d think ahead, but it’s like I’m surprised every time.  If you’re like me, then you probably don’t have a costume planned yet either- well, never fear. The Stitely staffers (and a few friends) put their heads together and came up with a fantastic list of music-related costume ideas. Enjoy!

Katy Perry- Click here for directions on how to make this costume.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart- Don’t forget to practice the “Amadeus” laugh.

Michael Jackson- This costume is always a “Thriller.” (Sorry, had to do it.)

“Devil in a Blue Dress”- Step 1: Wear blue dress. Step 2: Add devil horns & tail.

“We are Devo”

Devo- All you need is a flower pot and a “whip.”

Bob Dylan- Click here to get a how-to and links to important accessories.

The White Stripes- Super simple couples costume- just wear black, red and white.  Add a black wig and drumsticks.

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne- Another fun couples costume.

The original tiny dancer

Elton John- Don’t forget the shades.

Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix- Easiest costumes in the world!  Bust out your fav bell-bottom jeans or go to a thrift store, pair with a psychedelic shirt, and put a headband or bandana around your head.  Don’t forget to accessorize: for Janis bring out a whiskey bottle and for Jimi use a real or inflatable guitar.

A Mariachi Band- Grab 4 friends and a sombrero.

iPod- Now THIS takes talent!


19
Oct
12

Official Opinions: Happy Birthday Cheeky!

A Sample of the elegance

Each season left to right: Winter, Fall, Summer, Spring

We had such a blast at Cheeky Chicago‘s fabulous birthday bash at the Four Seasons on October 4th! The swanky hotel’s decor is already elegant, but when Cheeky, Platinum Events, and A Perfect Event was done with the Main Ballroom, it was transformed into a seasonal wonderland. Each season was represented in a different corner of the room containing appropriate snacks, drinks, and activities. The room’s corners were also lit by different colors to reflect the various seasons from icy blue winter and golden fall to bright green spring and red hot summer.

 

Guests wandered through through these mini environments, sampling the delicious drinks, courtesy of Moet, Skinny Girl & Magners, and checked out cool products and activities. At the end of the evening  guests walked out with AHmazing goodie-bags featuring products from lip gloss to a tiny bear-shaped jar of honey.

Cheeky 4th b-day party

The Stitely Quartet rockin’ the cool green lights

 

Stitely’s  quartet began the evening with some light indie music from bands like Real Estate and Wilco. Later in the evening the rest of the Stitely Orchestra arrived to kick off the dance party with hits like “Moves Like Jagger,” “Rolling in the Deep,” and “We Found Love.” The crowd kept the dance floor packed for the rest night, and even stuck around after the band ended for DJ Vincent‘s jam. By the way, the Platinum Events staff are REALLY talented break-dancers! (Seriously, they could pop and lock like a mutha.)

 

Thanks to everyone who made this event such a smashing success! And special thanks to Cheeky Chicago for the opportunity to perform and party down together. We can’t wait for the next event!

Below are some of the pictures we snapped of the event!

Red or White?

  Mixed drink

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying the Cheeky Party

The Stitely group

10
Oct
12

Official Opinions: Planning the perfect holiday party with Stitely

We don’t know about you, but we can’t believe it’s already October! Soon the leaves will be gone, the wind will be howling, and there will be holiday parties to plan and attend.  Never fear, Stitely Entertainment is ready to help you make your holiday party the best in town. While every party is unique and the needs of each organization vary, live music or a DJ never fails to take an ordinary event and make it extra special. We even offer discounts for weekdays/nights and can provide a sound system appropriate for speeches. Regardless of the number of guests or the type of atmosphere you want to create, Stitely has a variety of options to fit every budget and venue. Contact us or call us today at 847-866-8002 to book the perfect music for your holiday party!

If you’re looking for a dance-filled night, check out these options:

Photo by Gail Pollard Photography

  • DJ- Stitely DJs know how to craft a party soundtrack to get everyone from the CEO to the mail clerk on the dance floor.  Check out how our top DJ can up the ante for any party.
  • Acoustic/Power Rock Bands- This versatile combo of piano, bass and drums brings the energy of a live band at a price that’s perfect for a smaller budget. Add a guitar/vocalist to dramatically expand the styles of music they can play.
  • Jazz quartet with a vocalist- Add a vocalist to turn a group perfect for background music into an awesome combo for dancing.
  • Dance bands- We have four amazing and versatile dance bands that can flood the floor at your party! Check out our website to see which band is right for your event.

If you’re interested in a sophisticated evening of background music, here are some great options:

  • Jazz combos- Nothing says elegance like a jazz combo, especially one that can also play a few holiday favorites. Choose from a duo of piano and drums, a trio of piano, drums, and sax, or trio of piano, drums and bass. Another versatile option with a wide repertoire: a quartet with piano, drums, bass and sax.

    Photo by Leah Lund

  • Solo Guitar and Voice- One of our most popular & versatile options is our selection of guitar-vocalists. Whether you want to sit back & enjoy a show, or savor an intimate atmosphere of modern or indie background music, these musicians are pros who energize any event.
  • String combos- String combos are great if you want to hear traditional classical music, though some of our string trios and quartets can also play a handful of pop arrangements. Let us help you pick the instrumental combinations that best fit your budget and desired atmosphere.
  • Soloists- We have tons of fantastic soloists who can play classical, jazz or pop music. One of our most popular options is a pianist, but if you’re looking for something unique we also have harpists, accordionists, and more.
  • Blues trio- This combo of guitar, bass and drums is great for sultry, smoking blues background music.

If you want fun, festive or interactive entertainment, these options are guaranteed to keep you engaged:

  • Caroling with a pianist- Book a superb Stitely pianist and have yourself a merry little sing-along.  Our skillful musicians know a wide variety of carols and songs to get your staff into the holiday spirit.
  • Piano with vocals- Capture the fun of a piano bar with dueling pianos, or enjoy the intimate ambiance of a cabaret with a Stitely musician as he sings & accompanies himself on the piano. Playing hits from all genres, piano with vocals is a perfect option for a show, background music or both.
  • Dickensian caroling party- This merry vocal ensemble arrives in traditional 19th-century costumes and can either put on a show or a lead a jolly sing-along.
  • Blues quintet with a vocalist- Let us show you why Chicago is the home of the blues with one of our fantastic blues combos.  Adding a vocalist really ups the ‘wow’ factor to create a dynamic show!
  • Brass quintet- This festive ensemble can really put you in jolly mood by playing the traditional holiday favorites and more.
  • Live band karaoke- Nothing gets a crowd more involved in the party than karaoke. Party like a rock star with your guests as they sing backed by one of our live bands. A great idea for those who want both dancing and interactive entertainment!
05
Oct
12

Official Opinions: Where to celebrate the spooky season

Looking for something spooky to do this weekend? Stitely‘s got you covered. From historic ghost tours to haunted houses for all ages, here are a few events where one can definitely find a way to give himself a good scare and get in the Halloween spirit!

There are plenty of haunted tours happening around the city this month, but a few caught our attention here at Stitely. The Chicago Hauntings Haunted City tour is the tour to go on if you want to discover Chicago’s most active supernatural spots. This 2.5 hour haunted tour starts at 7pm or 10pm and takes you around the city by bus. This tour is unique in the fact that they let you get off the bus to get a closer look at anything out of the ordinary. So dive deep into the supernatural with the whole family or be a bold solo act; just remember to bring your cameras to document any ghostly sightings. You can purchase your tickets by phone or online for $33 for adults, $30 for vets and elderly guests, and $25 for kids under 12.

If seeing Chicago’s spooky spots doesn’t scare you, then test your iron will at The Music Box Theater’s Music Box of Horrors on October 13-14. The Music Box is a historic theater built in 1929 that presents a yearly 24-hour movie marathon of classic horror films. If you are a fearless moviegoer this is the place to be. Get your tickets for the marathon for $35 a person now or go on the day of the show for $40.

Not into movie marathons? Fear not, the Spirit Ships and Haunted Harbors tour will still leave chills going down your spine. Leaving at 8:30 pm the Tall Ship Windy will set sail into the dark misty waters of Lake Michigan.  Away from the city sounds you can uncover the mystery, history, and legend of past ships and the deep waters below.  Tickets are available online; adult tickets are $30, young adults are $25, kids are $10 and babies are only a $1. Grab a blanket and settle down for some scary tales of the Chicago waters.

If supernatural spirits, horror films, and old sailing tales aren’t scary enough for you, then I would recommend hitting up the following VERY SCARY, award-winning haunted houses in the Chicago area:

Anna, In the Darkness: The Basement-Dream Theatre, 556 W. 18th Street, Chicago, IL 60616
The Fear Haunted House, 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60611
Chronicles Of The Cursed-500 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60654
Disturbia-Torment of Fears is located on 800 W. Lake Street, Addison, IL 60101
Eleventh Hour-434 E. Devon Avenue, Elk Grove, IL 60007
Statesville Haunted Prison And City Of The Dead, 17250 S. Weber Road, Crest Hill, IL, 60441

To find more local haunted houses check out HauntedHouseChicago.com

Hopefully this list will allow you to have a fun-filled season and still allow you to sleep at night (if that’s what you want to do). Enjoy!

21
Sep
12

Official Opinion: Get Cheeky with It – Birthday Style

CheekyIf you haven’t heard the news, Cheeky Chicago and their birthday bash is where it’s at in two weeks. This year marks the 4th birthday of the online lifestyle magazine, Cheeky Chicago, and what better way to celebrate this milestone than with a fantastic party?

For the past four years, Cheeky has been the hot Chicago social spot to find out about the most exciting happenings around the Windy City as well as the go-to guide for all things fresh, feminine and fabulous. After four years of offering nothing but the best to the Chicago women, they’re throwing a birthday party to stop the seasons in their tracks at the Four Seasons on October 4th.

If the trend of four wasn’t apparent before, Cheeky is making sure no one forgets how long they’ve been around by decorating the Four Seasons’ grand ballroom with each season. Guests can lounge in the different seasonal areas and enjoy a full sensory experience by sampling the delicious winter, spring, summer or fall themed food and drinks. But don’t chill too long- the Stitely Orchestra will providing pack-the-dance-floor hits as you party the night away!

Come join Cheeky for their birthday bash by purchasing your tickets here! Tickets are only $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Don’t wait, you wouldn’t want to miss it. We’ll bring the music, you bring the good times. Get cheeky!

14
Sep
12

Official Opinions: The Top 7 Reasons To Book Your Holiday Party NOW

 

With temperatures hitting a high of the mid-80s’s this week, it may feel a little early to start thinking about your holiday party. However, in the case of planning a Chicago event, the early bird definitely gets the worm. Charles Cotton, an independent expert from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development‘s expert on staff rewards, says:

Courtesy of Google Images

“As ever, employers need to think about why they are providing a (holiday) party in the first place. If it is to recognize the collective contribution of their employees then what are the alternatives and are they more effective?”

       If holding a (holiday) party is the most effective way of achieving this then employers should be wary about scrapping them in response to the economic downturn because the long-term impact could be damaging on employee engagement and organizational performance.

      The (holiday) party is one way of reminding staff that they are part of a common endeavor.”

Ultimately, ROI is the bottom line, so here are a few thoughts on the value of holiday parties and a few ways in which you can help in justifying the budget.  Although the cost may seem high, assuming a holiday party costs say $100 per guest and the average salary in a company is $40,000, then the cost is tiny relative to other costs.

  1. Book EARLY, the best bands and other forms of entertainment get scheduled earlier and earlier.  Don’t get stuck with a jug band you found on lower Wacker because you put it off till Thanksgiving!
  2. By booking well in advance you are much more likely to get the date you want, and not end up having your party on a Thursday in January.
  3. If you plan ahead, there will be sufficient time for all your employees and staff to organize their own schedules to anticipate your party.  Babysitters, travel, accommodations etc. need to get booked early too.
  4. Booking early will put you at ease and come the holidays your mood will be closer to the Whos in Whoville than the Grinch.
  5. Because it is booked and announced in advance, the company holiday party will signal to your employees that things are improving and that you appreciate them.
  6. Booking your venue early means you get the snazzy new place you wanted.  Hip and unique venues should be contacted now to get reserved.  The best places have planners who will help you with your vision for the night. We are also celebration specialists and can assist you in putting the perfect evening together.
  7. START the day with a meeting, then let it morph into a party! A lot of great Chicago venues are ideally suited to staging a daytime conference or presentation before the party to increase the business content of the event. Then, spouses arrive, the party starts and can run all evening with dancing.

Remember that as long as you have a beautiful room, great food and a Stitely Band or DJ playing your kind of music, you are assured a great night!




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Delivering a mind-blowing musical performance at an event is an art and planning it is a science. Stitely Entertainment has mastered both by planning and executing thousands of events.

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