Archive for the 'Guest Star' Category

28
Nov
12

Guest Star: The Doctors Durkin know how to party

On June 16, 2012 we were honored to play for Doctors Julianne Ruppel and Michael Durkin’s wedding at the elegant Drake Hotel. After the couple and their guests celebrated the ceremony and cocktail hour, the Stitely Orchestra welcomed the newlyweds into their east-coast celebration with “Just What I Needed” by the Cars, before transitioning into their first dance, “La Vie en Rose.” Once the guests had taken their seats, the Stitely Orchestra serenaded the Drake Hotel staff’s champagne parade with their signature mashup of the “Colonel Bogey March” and “The Night They Invented Champagne.”

Tara Moser of LOLA Event Productions did a great job coordinating the details of an evening filled with special toasts, speeches, and of course dancing throughout! After cutting the cake to “It Had To Be You”, boogie-ing down to a few songs, a sweet speech from the Bride and Groom, and enjoying some post-dinner coffee and cake, we kept dancing going with the special dances. Julie danced with her dad to “My Girl,” Mike danced with his mother to Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World,” and the couple celebrated the longest-married couple in attendance with an anniversary dance set to “In My Life” by the Beatles.

Guests enjoyed photo booth snapshots thanks to Photo Booth Express, and rocked out to lots of Motown, 80s dance hits, and Classic Rock right up until the last dance, “Don’t Stop Believin’”. But the party didn’t end there; DJ Vincent shook things up and took this party into the early hours of the morning! Kudos to Bill McCluskey at the Drake Hotel, Stephanie at Anthony Gowder Design for her beautiful work, and to Dennis Lee for capturing some great photographic memories that will last this loving couple a lifetime!

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21
Nov
12

Guest Star: Simply Perfect by Melissa is simply delightful

Chicago wedding planner Melissa Phillips is the event guru behind Simply Perfect by Melissa. There isn’t a wedding she can’t plan and Stitely was thrilled to be able to ask her a few questions about her company, the wedding industry and some great advice for brides and grooms to be.

Stitely Entertainment (SE): How did you get started in event planning?
Melissa Philips (MP): I started in college with their Student Activities Department. I interned for 2 years assisting with student programs- brainstorming, planning, and executing. One of my favorites was an annual awards dinner hosted at a downtown hotel. I loved the details and logistics…and it kind of stuck ☺ I then taught for 7 years and became drawn to event planning for the school district- dances, philanthropic events, in school spirit activities, and parades. I began to enjoy that a bit more than teaching and decided to start my business on the side. Things developed quickly, and soon after, I was working full time doing events.

SE: How does Simply Perfect by Melissa differ from its competitors?
MP: I think personality and style really separate planners from each other. It is important that couples find a coordinator who they can click with…there is a long planning road you travel together. I strive to make each event completely unique be it through stationery, décor, entertainment, food, or event flow. Our goal is to leave your guests with a lasting memory of the event.

SE: What part of your job do you find the most satisfying and the most challenging?
MP: The most satisfying part of my job, without question, is the day of the wedding when the reception is all set and the bride and groom see the space for the first time. The team who creates the day can easily envision the final look. For the couple, this is when all the details we have hashed through come together like a perfect puzzle creating an unforgettable moment. I LOVE their reactions when they walk through the doors (it gives me the chills just writing about it!) Logistics are always a challenge. Each wedding brings a new set, but that is what makes each wedding so great. No two are ever the same. I love a good challenge and enjoy being given the opportunity to tackle them.

SE: What is the key to a successful event?
MP: A solid schedule!! I think some couples may underestimate the power of a good timeline. I have had people contact me for day of coordination services with timelines already prepared. After doing 200+ weddings, you quickly learn where time is lost, time can be gained, and how much time is needed for all that needs to be done. Mapping that out ahead of time with all of the logistics in place and possible areas where obstacles may develop is essential to making the day go smoothly. There are only so many hours and minutes in a couple’s wedding day. We want to make sure each second is put to good use!

SE: What is the craziest event story you can share?
MP: There seems to be something a little crazy with each event so pinpointing one particular one is challenging. We pride ourselves in doing what is necessary to make the day go perfectly. From steaming the stain gown while 9 months pregnant on my hands and knees (sent to the bride that way from a nationally know luxury bridal shop) 30 minutes before she was to dress because she didn’t realize just how bad it was, to gluing the groom’s head back on his bobble head cake topper seconds before the ballroom doors opened to calming a mother and daughter screaming quarrel (complete with “are you sure you want to marry this man”) minutes before she was to walk down the aisle to adjusting several brides’ “girlfriends” in their dresses because the bridesmaids always seem to disappear at just the right time…every wedding has me walking away with a laugh or two. I look at it as all being part of a day’s work!

SE: Any tips you can give to our engaged clients?
MP: Enjoy the process!! I would be lying if I said planning a wedding is stress free…there is plenty of stress to go around. This will probably be the largest social event you ever host, and that can be a bit intimidating. Try to keep things in perspective as to what is most important. My priest gave me the simplest, yet best, advice as I was planning my own wedding- In the end, you are married…mission accomplished! Really…take the time to smell the flowers (at your floral sample), enjoy every bite of food you sample (at all your tastings), and most importantly, take mental pictures throughout the day of your wedding. Those moments when I consciously stopped myself to absorb the moment are the parts of the day I remember most.

SE: If you were stuck on a desert island which three albums would you want with you?
MP: I am absolutely horrible with song titles and artists. I would have to go with music styles. I need some Motown for the beat- it will keep me motivated. I need a mix of slow, sappy songs for the moments when I break down- it will make the break down go quicker so I can bounce back. I definitely need some classic party dance tunes so I can take advantage of no one being around…I can dance crazy style and no one can laugh at me HAHAHA!!!

24
Oct
12

Guest Star: Ally and Daniel party East-Coast style

The adorable couple!

Allison Blum and Daniel Rosenbloom were married on July 21, 2012 at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort. Their ceremony took place in the Marriott’s gorgeous Grand Marquee Tent. The duo of piano and violin played classical selections such as “Arioso” by Bach and Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” Ally was simply stunning as processed down the aisle to the Andre Rieu’s “Love Theme” from the 1968 movie Romeo and Juliet. As soon as they tied the knot the couple started the fun with their recessional- “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles.

Immediately following the ceremony a Stitely solo pianist serenaded the guests during cocktails. He then joined the Stitely Orchestra bassist, drummer, guitarist, saxophonist and vocalist for a 6-piece group to play during dinner. Ally and Daniel had a typical East Coast timeline that allows for dance sets in between meal courses, so Stitely played Motown, Classic Rock, R&B, and jazz music that appealed to guests of all ages.

First dance

Before even sitting down for the first course, Ally and Dan celebrated their first dance as a married couple to “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. They followed their first dance by cutting their cake to the Phillip Phillips version of “Stand by Me.” The guests then joined them on the dance floor for “Amazed” by Lonestar to kick off the first dance set. After the first set, family members performed the kiddush and hamotzi, followed by speeches. After the salad course, female vocalists Andrea Amos and Joan Collasso joined the band to make a full 8-piece Stitely Orchestra. They kicked off another dance set with some powerhouse tunes like “Rolling in the Deep” and “Respect.” Next came the entrée and a speech by the bride and groom.

Blessing the hamotzi

The next dance set began with the parents sharing their special dances with the bride and groom. Ally choose “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton for her father/daughter dance, while Daniel danced to “What a Wonderful World” with his mother. Then the room came alive with guests dancing the Hora and Krenzel. The rest of the evening the couple, their friends and family partied down to a mix of contemporary music, classic rock, and Motown.

Ally and Daniel chose not to do the garter toss, but enjoyed tossing the bouquet to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” The band kept the energy going strong all the way to the end with their final song “Raise Your Glass” by Pink. After the band departed, Stitely’s DJ Vincent finished up the night beginning with “Don’t You Want to Stay” by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean and “Glad You Came” by The Wanted.

Thanks to all the vendors who made this party so successful! Kudos to Day-of Planner, Melinda of To The Point Events, Laura at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, Daniel with Joseph’s Florist, and to David from Jolie Images.

17
Oct
12

Guest Star: ‘Cause he’s the Saxman

Detroit-born saxophonist, arranger and composer, Aaron McEvers was raised surrounded by music. From an early age he knew that it was more than just a part of him, it was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. This sax player from Chicago Groove Collective is one of the best in town. Read below to learn more about him and his adventures of all things music!

Stitely Entertianment (SE): What are the five songs you’re listening to the most right now?
Aaron McEvers (AM): Its easier to list five artists. I rarely listen to a small set of tunes over and over:
1. Bartok (especially Divertimento for strings)
2. my friend Matt Ulery‘s groups
3. Bennie Golson
4. Steely Dan
5. Herbie Hancock

SE: Who or what inspired you to be a professional musician?
AM: I grew up always knowing I would play something. My dad and my uncle were always playing the piano, so I was around it. It wasn’t until about 8th grade that I knew it would consume my life. I was both fortunate and cursed that I didn’t choose the profession, it chose me.

SE:  Do you play in any other groups? Tell us about them.
AM: My own regular band, for which I write all the music, is M13. We’ve played monthly for years. We’re working on an album now. M13 is a 13 piece ensemble that I assembled about 8 years ago. It is made up of professional players with different backgrounds who can really play hard. Jazz is at its core, but there are so many flavors in the music that its hard to describe. I just try write music that’s fresh to hear and fun to play. Until our album is finished, check out the website at M13chicago.com

AM at Trump

Playing away at the Trump Tower

SE: How did you become involved with music?
AM: I started when I was 10 in my school’s band program. If I knew then what I know now I’d have also

studied more drums, piano or even bass.

SE: What was your first concert?
AM: The first big concert I ever heard was Peter Frampton opening for Stevie Nicks, back in Detroit. The first real concert I played was a touring series throughout northern Europe. I was 17 at the time. I wish I could do that again.

SE: If you could share the stage with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
AM: There are so many. Tony Williams comes to mind.

SE: You are stuck on a desert island forever. Which three albums do you want with you?
AM: 1. Bartok – Concerto for Orchestra
2. John Coltrane’s – A Love Supreme
3. Miles Davis and Gil Evans – Miles Ahead

12
Oct
12

Guest Star: Events at the Beautiful Bridgeport Art Center

With four versatile wedding bands, a team of DJs and a cadre of solo musicians, Stitely Entertainment has performed all over Chicagoland. But one of the most unique (and beautiful) event spaces is the Skyline Loft of the Bridgeport Art Center. The Bridgeport Art Center is a multidisciplinary venue where artists, fashion designers and creative professionals of all kinds can find space to work, create and share their ideas. We spoke to the Natalya Judina to get the skinny on holding events at this gorgeous locale.

Jodi and Matthew’s wedding at the Skyline Loft
Photos provided by Garbo Productions

SE: Can you give us a rundown of the different rooms?
Natalya Judina: We have one huge event space of 18,000 sq.feet, called the ‘Skyline Loft.’

SE: What makes the Bridgeport Art Center different from other venues?
NJ: Skyline Loft at the Bridgeport Art Center is newly renovated and its completion took three years and cost $1,000,000. We kept the original wooden floor, and re-purpose the metal from the building that is used for the floor and the artistically designed restrooms. Skyline Loft has an amazing view of the Chicago skyline and 120 linear feet of skylight running through the space. We also have an elevator that is capable of caring car / objects up to 8,000 pounds. Some customers choose to decorate this elevator with chandelier and use it as an extra entertainment space with a bar/music/chairs/cocktails, so that guests have something to do while they are getting up to the 5th floor.

SE: What goes into creating a catering menu?
NJ: The approved caterers on our vendor list can create any menu for any type of event. Some of the top caterers in the city are on the list.

SE: How does The Bridgeport Art Center staff work with other vendors, such as Stitely Entertainment?
NJ: We just try to support each other to make an event as special and unique as we can.

SE: What are your favorite ideas from recent weddings?
NJ: Any wedding should be special. In order to make it happened it’s important that the Event space has a supportive, and not a leading role during the wedding event. Skyline Loft at the Bridgeport Art Center is this place. It has raw urban elegance of timber beams and hardwood floors that allow to create such background for an event that is both beautiful and subtle in its nature. In other words, Skyline Loft emphasizes a couple, not itself, and makes their day as special & unique as a couple want it to be.

SE: Are there any cool corporate clients or events that have booked in the past?
NJ: We had different corporate events in the past, such as Skyy Vodka New Product launch or Italian Expo, as well as Fashion and Trade shows.

SE: Any pictures you’d like to share with us?

http://www.skylineloft.com/event-galleries/

 

26
Sep
12

Guest Star: Gettin’ down with Gina and Tyler

Gina Bucciferro and Tyler Neill tied the knot on May 26 at Chicago’s Holy Family Church. This super-sweet couple chose a Stitely solo pianist for their ceremony, creating an atmosphere of intimacy in the beautiful old church. The bridal party processed in to Frank Mills’ “Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills, while Gina walked down the aisle to “Forever” by Ben Harper. (Such a great song!) They chose a fun, distinctive recessional- “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi from Charlie Brown & the Peanuts.

Gina and Tyler’s reception took place at the gorgeous Rooftop Terrace of the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. The couple really enjoys new music, but their parents really like oldies and Motown, so they booked the ultra-versatile 10-piece Stephanie Rogers Band. And SRB totally rocked the joint!

After a brief cocktail hour of solo piano, the bridal party was introduced to a raucous rendition of “Get up Offa That Thing” by James Brown, followed by the parents’ who entered to the sweet sounds of “This Will Be an Everlasting Love” by Natalie Cole. A quintet of bass, drums, keyboard and singers serenaded the guests as they enjoyed their delicious dinners provided by J & L Catering.

The real party kicked-off with Stephanie’s rendition of “We Got Something” by Adaline for Gina & Tyler’s first dance. Then they played an acoustic, “less-romantic” version of Kaci Brown’s “Thank You” for Gina and her father’s special dance, followed by Tyler’s dance with his mother to “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts. Since the couple and their guests wanted a lot of different musical styles Stephanie played a lot of new tunes like “Rolling In The Deep”  and “Party in the USA” peppered with classic hits. Said Steph, “We had an amazing moment in a circle of ‘Last Dance,’ which they loved because of the recent death of Donna Summer and the whole disco/Motown vibe they wanted.”

Kudos to Chrissy from Big City Bride for planning a wonderful evening, A Stem Above for gorgeous flowers and decorations and Robyn Rachel Photography for the fabulous photos! We love working with you guys!

19
Sep
12

guest star: Lina Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Stitely

After her church debut at age three, Lina Wass knew she was destined for the stage. This theatre darling and singer from Stitely’s Chicago Groove Collective is a total sweetheart. Read on to get to know her a bit better!

Stitely Entertainment (SE): What are the songs you’re listening to the most right now?
Lina Wass (LW):
1. “We Are Young” by Fun
2. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye
3. “Not Guilty” by Mandisa

SE: Who or what inspired you to be a professional musician?
LW: I always loved the arts and music. I started dance class at the age of three as well as sang my first solo in church. My church solo consisted of a verse in “Silent Night,” and I sang it once in English and once in German. I’m half German on my mom’s side and she taught me that song as well as played the piano for me. After my solo was over I looked at her and said into the microphone “Did I do good, mom?” Of course she said yes to her three year old hopeful daughter. My mom has been a big support and influence in music helping me to sing, teaching me to harmonize, and to plunk away at a piano.  I also remember my first entrance in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor at the Chicago Theatre with Donnie Osmond. I was 12 or 13 years old. The lights were dim and we came in from the back of the house at the top of the show. The stage looked like an amazing magical place as I ran towards it. The energy was intense. It really took my breath away and I knew from that moment I wanted to be a singer!

SE: Do you have any regular gigs?
LW: My regular “gig” currently is as a Volunteer Worship Leader at Harvest Bible Chapel. I love being a part of the worship team and giving praises to the Lord. Sadly it wasn’t always that way. That journey in my life was pretty dark with a bright ending but that’s for another day. What is great is that I started singing in church, and I made it full circle back! Amen.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the Goodman

SE: Do you sing in any other groups?
LW: I don’t sing with other groups at the moment but who knows what the future holds. I went to the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University for musical theater and loved it. My professor, Dr. Bruce Kirle became my mentor and really took me under his wing. He showed me what I was capable of and really helped me to believe in myself.  He passed away in 2007 but I think of him often. I have performed in musicals around the Chicago area including Ain’t Misbehavin‘ at the Goodman Theatre. That was and still is a dream come true. I was treated like royalty there and got to work with some stars in the theatre industry.

SE: How did you become involved with music?
LW: Besides dancing and singing at a young age. I also sang in choirs in Jr. High and High School. Continuing my love of singing by singing in talent shows and the school musicals. School has always been a great place to get involved in music and the arts. I hope and pray that it continues to be an option for kids.

SE: What was your first concert?
LW: My first Concert was Janet Jackson. And my first Broadway musical was Chicago.

SE: If you could share the stage with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
LW: If I could share the stage with someone it would be Whitney Houston. I’ve always loved her and that flawless voice.  I grew up on Whitney.

SE: Beatles or Stones?
LW: Beatles or Stones? I say Beatles for sure!




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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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