Archive for October, 2011


Official opinions: Halloween is a Thrill(er)

On this special Music Monday we’ve got a Halloween classic- Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” But in case you’ve already heard this ad nauseam over the weekend’s festivities, we’ve got a treat for you- it’s the VH1 Pop Up Video version! With “info nuggets” full of trivia, like it took a team of 20 makeup artists to turn Michael & his dancers into a zombie crew, this video is a fun way to enjoy this 80’s hit. VH1 recently rebooted Pop Up Video with new videos & trivia for the Millennial generation. Enjoy and have a very happy Halloween from everyone at Stitely Entertainment!


Official opinions: Halloween events for the musically-inclined

 On Wednesday we helped you pick your costume, now it’s time to show it off! Enjoy some great music all around Chicago this Halloween weekend.

For a fun, inexpensive Friday night check out the Double Door. They are hosting their 15th Annual Halloween Bash with a fantastic lineup of tribute bands.  Featured bands include The Clash, the Runaways, Stone Temple Pilots, NOFX, and Bob Dylan. The show begins at 9:00 PM and tickets are $12 at the door.

If these bands aren’t your style, head over to the Abbey Pub on Friday night. Their tribute band lineup includes The Sex Pistols, Weezer, The Bangles, Squeeze, R.E.M., Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. Tickets are $12 at the door and the performances begin at 8:30PM. Depending on your musical tastes, either of these two Chicago bars would be a great way to begin the Halloween weekend!

If you want to party like a high roller, spend some of that dough on Saturday at one of the biggest events of the year- Chicago’s Galaween.  This event at Venue One helps raise money for The Chicago Cultural Foundation, which supports free public arts programs.  This night of fun will consist of dancing, an open bar and outrageous costumes to be judged in a contest with a grand prize up to $1,000! Get your tickets now and do you part to support the arts.

Whatever you do this weekend, Stitely Entertainment wishes you a very happy and safe Halloween! Have fun!


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 26 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 PerryClick 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 HendrixEasiest 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!


official opinions: XTC in the morning

Today’s lively Music Monday selection, “Across this Antheap,” by XTC is a groovy way to start the day. This from their 10th album “Oranges and Lemons.” Enjoy!


Official Opinions: A Corporate Extravaganza of Epic Proportions

Grand South Entrance

Photo by Matthew Kaplan

If you look up the meaning of “organization” you will find September 24th listed. True organization is 1 venue, 8 vendors, 30 greeters and over 60 musicians coming together flawlessly for 1 awe-inspiring extravaganza. After months of brainstorming and planning, it all came down to September 24th.

The activity began at 5:00 p.m. when The Field Museum closed to the public. While Stitely musicians arrived and started their sound checks on each stage, other vendors and their armies of staff began efficiently preparing their contributions for the evening as well. Under the expert direction of PRA representatives, the sound engineers at Frost set up lighting equipment to create ambiance and highlight the musical performances, the florists at Botanicals Inc. placed their gorgeous displays and caterer Food for Thought brought out their massive trays of food. Stitely Stage Managers, Peggy and Eric, coordinated the three stages and two entrances to ensure that all musicians knew critical information: when to begin performing, when to take their breaks, the location of the break room and much more. The excitement was palpable as the vendors, florists, caterers, planning committees, singers, and musicians anticipated the arrival of 5000 sales reps.

At 7:00 p.m. buses full of guests began to arrive at each of the main entrances. In addition to the line of saxophonists, thirty clapping and cheering greeters welcomed the sales representatives as they entered the museum. They were stunned byThe seductive saxophonists this grand welcome and many stopped to take pictures, dance to the songs, or run through the line of greeters to give them high-fives. While the saxophonists played at the East entrance, at the South entrance the guests were greeted by the Lincoln Park High School drum line and flag corp. Once again it was clear the guests did not expect such a spectacular reception. Most danced their way up the steps while clapping their hands to the beat, though some lingered outside to gaze at the beautiful Chicago skyline.

Near the East entrance the jazz quintet performed on a round stage equipped with an elegant grand piano. Modern black leather couches and chairs placed strategically around the stage helped to create a cool jazz atmosphere. The audience enjoyed the custom bar while listening to Stephanie Browning’s smooth voice. Tucked away in the Mammals of Asia exhibit, far from the hustle and bustle of the main floor, the country & western band pleased a dedicated crowd of spectators. Throughout the night, they shouted out requests and cheered in approval of the popular songs the band played.  Some guests were so inspired, they moved away the tables and chairs to dance the “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.”

Photo by Matthew Kaplan

Stitely’s 312 Chicago playing on the main stage was a tremendous hit. Performing with esteemed vocalists Yvonne Gage, Shirley King (yep, she’s B.B. King’s daughter), and Suzanne Palmer, 312 Chicago played distinct sets of Blues, Rock and Motown/R&B.  Mini tables surrounded the stage so guests could enjoy the full bar and food, as well as an up-close view of the band. By the end of the evening, there were many dancing sales representatives who had lost themselves in the music.

Photo by Matthew Kaplan

September 24 was a fantastic achievement. The musicians sounded amazing, the Museum looked phenomenal, and it was clear that guests had a blast. Peggy said it best in one word: “spectacular!” PRA staffer Clara DeBortoli described the night as a “slam dunk” and applauded Stitely’s musical contribution as “a resounding success.”  But we were just one part of a great team; one of many contributors who used their expertise and dedication to create such an outstanding corporate event. Special thanks to Roz Stuttely from the Field Museum, Botanicals Flowers, Frost, Food for Thought, Matthew Kaplan Photography and the whole PRA team including: Jennifer Cohen, Clara Debortoli, Lauren Banks, Allison Moore, and Heather Thompson. And thank you to everyone who made this night possible!

Check out more photos from the event on our Flickr!


Official Opinions: 5 months of planning for 1 big night

Stitely Entertainment loves to put on a grand show for its clients. Each event we produce creates new, exciting challenges to expand our experience and another occasion to wow our customers. So when event-planning organization, PRA, contacted President Jeff Stitely in May with the opportunity to work on a collaborative event for a large corporate client, he enthusiastically accepted. Although the event was not until September, planning began immediately. PRA wanted to create an energetic, upbeat experience for the client’s sales representatives and they chose the Chicago Field Museum as the magnificent backdrop for this evening. Now all they needed was the perfect musical entertainment to set the mood.

After months of mutual brainstorming, Jeff, PRA, and the client settled on a plan that entailed 2 grand entrances to greet the 5000+ sales representatives, as well as 3 musically distinct bands to create a night of musical brilliance. As guests arrived at the East entrance, PRA envisioned a line of saxophonists greeting the reps. Jeff took this idea and turned it into reality. He called Aaron McEvers, an accomplished musician in Stitely’s band, Chicago Groove Collective, for assistance. Through his numerous ties to the professional musician community, Aaron gathered an ensemble of ten of Chicago’s finest tenor, alto, soprano and baritone saxophonists to serenade the incoming guests. This set the perfect atmosphere for the speakeasy-style jazz lounge that would be set up inside the East Main Hall.

You'll be amazed at how the Museum was transformed...

To contrast the smooth sax sounds at the East entrance, PRA asked Jeff to plan a grand spectacle at the South entrance, something that could enhance the visual impact of the already impressive Stanley Field Hall.  After a number of creative ideas, Jeff proposed the Lincoln Park High School‘s drum line and flag team. With PRA’s approval, Jeff contacted his friend Lise Gilly, the Performing Arts Department Chair, to assemble the high school musicians and flag performers for the night.  Given Jeff’s history as a Jazz Mentor at the school, they were delighted to be a part of the special evening.

With plans for the entrances decided, it was time to focus on the musical entertainment inside. Jeff recommended Stitely’s band 312 Chicago, led by guitar-vocalist Nicholas Barron, to perform on the main stage. In addition to its normal, fantastic roster, the band would also feature amazing guest vocalists to perform a variety of musical styles.  Yvonne Gage would begin the night with a Motown/R&B set, followed by Shirley King (yep, that’s B.B King’s daughter) singing the Blues, and recording artist Suzanne Palmer to belt out classic rock hits. The goal was to keep the guests dancing all night long and this dynamic lineup would accomplish just that.

PRA wanted each of the two additional stages to create its own distinct, yet relaxed atmosphere to act as an escape from the exuberant energy of the Main Hall. Several ideas and a lot of discussion later, a decision was made: an acoustic jazz quintet, featuring sultry jazz singer Stephanie Browning, would play on the stage in the East Main Hall. The landscape mural in Rice Hall, near the Mammals of Asia exhibit, would provide the perfect backdrop for a country and western band, the other unique ensemble chosen for the event. Since all of the exhibits were going to be open, these locations ensured musical coverage for all of the guests to enjoy.

Prior to the event, Jeff, along with Stitely stage managers, Peggy Latko and Eric Sweigard, attended several walk-throughs at the museum with representatives from the vendors also working on the event, including PRA, FROST Chicago, Botanicals, Food For Thought and Roz Stuttley, the Field Museum’s Meetings and Special Events Account Manager. At that time everyone had the opportunity to contribute and finalize the details to ensure a successful evening. After months of planning, brainstorming and hard work, the day of the event finally came… check back on Friday to see how it all turned out!


official opinions: Words of Love for the original hipster

Carly, Stitely‘s Event-Planning Coordinator, choose this upbeat tune by Buddy Holly for today’s Music Monday. Always a classic, Buddy Holly’s pop-y songs have recently been covered and collected into a new anthology called “Rave on Buddy Holly.”  Contributors include some diverse artists such as Florence and the Machine, My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys, Cee Lo Green, Paul McCartney, She & Him, Lou Reed, Kid Rock, Patti Smith and more.

A release states that “Rave On‘s striking collection of musicians share Holly’s insurgent rebel spirit and outsider point of view. The artists cross generations and styles, collectively and defiantly embracing Holly’s distinctive rough and tumble inventiveness.” Instead of being a straight cover album, artists were “free to explore radically new interpretations.” Read more at Paste Magazine and enjoy the original hipster himself:


Official Opinions: Three guitarists, one Friday night

Stitely Entertainment is comprised of professional, talented musicians who love performing for a living. So what are they doing when they aren’t putting on shows for us? They are still out performing! Check out what three of our guitarists are doing on this Friday night.

The Beviamo Wine Bar regularly hosts John Sabal as a one man band every Friday night starting at 7pm. Stitely staff members regularly watch him perform but also have the luxury to see him in action as a guitarist in the Stitely Orchestra. At Beviamo’s, John entertains the crowd by playing the piano, guitar and singing. His wide range of music is sure to a be hit with anyone!


Nicholas Barron, guitarist from Stitely’s 312 Chicago, also has a regular gig on Friday nights. He performs at the Uptown Lounge from 7-9:30pm. Anyone who has seen Nicholas perform can attest to his dynamic vocals and guitar virtuosity. This Vince Vaughn look alike will rock your world and keep you laughing all night.

Chicago Groove Collective‘s guitarist Bob Baglione also has a gig tonight with the band Chase. Bob will be performing  at The Montrose Room in the Intercontinental Hotel at O’Hare beginning at 8:30pm. Chase hasn’t performed in the Chicagoland area in several years so there is much hype about this performance! With their cool Jazz/Rock set, tickets are bound to be sold out. Get yours now!

No matter which accomplished guitarist you choose to see tonight, you will be in for a spectacular show! We should know, we have the privilege of working with them 🙂 Happy Friday!


Official Opinions: Piano Madness

Every band is made up of many different instruments. Drums, guitars, flutes, violins and even banjos are often staple instruments found in successful bands. For this week’s Music Monday, I chose Coldplay’s “Clocks” for its superb piano melody. “Clocks” debuted on their hit album “Rush of Blood to the Head” and has since been a hit. Coldplay often features the piano as a dominating instrument in many of their songs and “Clocks” is no exception. Stitely Entertainment also follows this trend and includes accomplished keyboard musicians in many of our own bands!


Official Opinions: Start your weekend early!

Click flyer to enlarge

A typical Thursday night isn’t always a lot of fun. The weekend jitters set in, but you feel guilty beginning to relax a day early. At Stitely Entertainment, we say: since you’ve worked hard all week, start your weekend early! To kick start your weekend, next Thursday night (October 13) Stitely’s own Shana Gray will be performing at the Music Institute of Chicago in Evanston, IL starting at 7PM in Nichols Hall. Shana will be performing with her band “Under the Radar” and playing a variety of genres including jazz and pop. To keep the night groovin’, there will also be performances by Wendy Morgan and Dean Rolando. Tickets are $12 at the door or $10 if purchased in advance online. If you would like to hear some of Shana’s marvelous music to get excited for next Thursday, please check out her Myspace page. Have a great music filled weekend!

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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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October 2011