Posts Tagged ‘Chicago entertainment

31
Aug
12

Official Opinions: Stitely’s Sweet Summer Weddings

Summer in the Windy City is a great time for weddings.  This season we’ve had the privilege to play for a ton of adorable couples and our bands have had lots of fun! Here is just a fraction of the awesome people and professionals we’ve worked with this summer. Enjoy the fab photos!

May 5, 2012: Lauren Williamson and Alexander Lund

Lauren and Alexander celebrated their wedding reception under the enchanting spotlights of  The Rookery in downtown Chicago. This super-sweet couple danced the night away to 312 Chicago, starting with their first dance, You are the Best Thing by Ray Lamonatagne. This photo by PenCarlson Photography makes us smile every time.

May 12, 2012: Patina Waterstreet and Patrick Hill

This cute couple celebrated their reception at Chicago’s famous Harold Washington Library. Patina and Patrick love jazz and big band music, but enjoyed dancing to their first song, Hey Girl by OAR. This photo by Jolie Images captured their playful spark that was clear all night.

June 9, 2012: Jodi Kuiper and Matthew Dougherty

Jodi and Matt’s wedding had ambiance to spare. Held at the Bridgeport Art Center and decorated in purples, golds, creams, and coppers, this reception was like in living a fairytale.They kicked off their dance party with their first dance, Feels Like Home by Chantel Kreviazuk performed by the Stitely Orchestra. Garbo Productions photographed all the warm moments between this fab couple.

29
Aug
12

Guest Star: A Window into Wolfgang Puck Catering

Stitely has worked with many A-List caterers over the years. Their delectable dishes are works of art that grab your attention while titillating your taste buds! We had a chat with Pamela Swisher, Director of Sales from Wolfgang Puck Catering, to get an inside look at what it’s like to work at such a high-level caterer.

Wolfgang Puck Catering

Stitely Entertainment (SE): How did you get started in catering, Pamela?

Pamela Swisher (PS): I started to cook part-time on parties with a company called Gaper’s Catering.  I had a full-time job, but fell in love with the team work I experienced putting out an event.  Shortly after starting with Gaper’s, I interviewed for a full-time position and was placed as the sales representative for one of their top corporate companies.

SE: How do you develop a menu?

PS: We listen to our clients about their vision and budget.  Then I work with our talented culinary team to personalize a creative seasonal menu that will exceed their expectations and wow their guests.

SE: Since you work with food for a living, do you enjoy cooking at home? What are some of your favorite things to cook?

PS: I love to cook!  In the summer it is everything to do with tomatoes and whatever I can buy at the Farmer’s Markets – I let the gorgeous produce lead me in the right direction.  I make a mean meatloaf and “world famous” Italian sausage lasagna when it gets cold!

SE: What is the craziest event story you can share?

Wolfgang Puck

PS: The night of one of the galas we were catering, we actually had Wolfgang Puck on site and really wanted to make him proud of his Chicago team…Just prior to the first course being served, a circuit blew out in the kitchen tent – no lights and no ovens!  As we are waiting to hear when the electricity would be back on, a “surprise” table of 12 started to become agitated because there was no table set for them.  We were all trying to keep everyone calm and look as professional as possible.  Over the radios, someone let the cold kitchen know they were ready for the salads to go out – even though we had no electricity in the hot food tent!  So, salads went out, a 12-top table got popped up and the electricity magically came on – all at the same time!  Big sighs of relief, but so stressful for an intense minute!

SE: What sets Wolfgang Puck Catering apart from other caterers?

PS: We are a passionate group, committed to delivering on Wolfgang’s vision.  Our restaurant-quality experience includes creative presentation and the best ingredients, as well as personalized service – sometimes a challenge in the special event setting!  Our food is easy to sell because it is always prepared a la minute (to order) so we know it is going to be delicious.  Our service is perfect.  Our customer relations are of utmost in importance to our sales team.

Wolfgang Puck Catering

SE: What advice would you give to couples when working with their caterer on their wedding?

PS: I start by telling couples that the whole process should be fun and if it ever gets stressful, they need to take a break and walk away from the wedding planning temporarily.  I also tell them to get all of their vendors hired and then we can do a tasting as one of the last phases of the planning.  I think it helps them relax about making so many big decisions at once.

SE: Put your iPod on shuffle. What are the first three songs that come up?

PS: 1. Lady Gaga – “Born This Way,”2. Gipsy Kings- “Volare,” 3. Nat and Natalie Cole -“Unforgettable”

Thanks for sharing Pamela! In case you haven’t seen enough mouthwatering pics from the Wolfgang Puck menu, here’s a few more. Enjoy!

Wolfgang Puck Catering

Wolfgang Puck Catering

Wolfgang Puck Catering

Wolfgang Puck Catering

Wolfgang Puck Catering

17
Aug
12

Official Opinions: Summer and Fall Wedding Fashion Tips

Have you been invited to a wedding recently and don’t know what to wear? Don’t stress, we’ve all reconsidered an outfit because of factors like bridal party color schemes, seasonal colors, or the weather. It can be stressful, however, there are some essential tips men and women should know about the Do’s and Don’ts of wedding apparel. Marketing intern N’Jameh is getting ready for a wedding too, so let’s see what she considers when picking out a summer and fall outfit.

The Do’s:

1. A light fabric is essential! You never want to be too hot from heavy material.

2. Ladies, if you plan on wearing heels, bring some flats so that you can continue dancing all night long!

3. Pastel or brighter hues with floral accents are definitely in season.

4. Guys, save your black tie for the fall.

The Dont’s:

1. Don’t wear a white or off-white dress.

2. I know it’s hot but stay away from a simple tank top and skirt, you don’t want to look under dressed.

3. No neon!

4. No tennis shoes or flip flops.

While I was looking for ideas, I stumbled across these fabulous ideas:

Dress Up Girls by H&M

Summer sizzle by Max Mara

Courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar magazine

Courtesy of Glamour Magazine

J. Crew Wedding

Here are some helpful tips about things to think about when you’re dressing up for a fall wedding.
Do:

1. Guys, if you’re not doing the black and white tuxedo, ties in the colors of ruby red, navy blue, plums, marigolds, copper, turquoise, and dark greens are great alternatives to black.

2. Ladies, you can also do those colors for your dresses 🙂

3. If you do a solid color dress, choose a stunning set of earrings or an eye catching necklace to make the outfit complete.

4. Add a tuxedo cardigan or a sequined blazer.

Don’t:

1. Vests with leaf or pumpkin prints. Enjoy the wedding!

Courtesy of Classicbride

Courtesy of Summer Wedding Budget

Wrap Dress by Nanette Lepore

Green summer dress by “unknown”

Fall Fashion by J. Crew

08
Aug
12

Official Opinion: Peggy’s Perfect Potato Salad

Stitely is continuing its recipe series with more dishes great for a summer picnic or BBQ. Peggy’s grilled potato salad is the perfect compliment to Shana’s barbecue tofu sammich. This recipe has got us saying, “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm!”

Ingredients

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for grill
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 cup small diced celery
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use low fat)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons chopped capers
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives

Directions

  1. Preheat a grill to medium heat. Oil the grill grates well or the potatoes will stick.
  2. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into 3/4-inch thick slices. Place the potatoes in a bowl and add the oil, paprika and season with 2 teaspoons  salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Toss to coat.
  3. Place the potatoes on the grill and cook until slightly puffed and nicely golden brown on both sides, 20 to 30 minutes, turning 90 degrees after 5 minutes and flipping and repeating on the other side. Remove and allow to cool completely. Dice into 3/4 to 1-inch pieces.
  4. In a large glass bowl, add the diced potatoes, celery, red onions, cilantro and olives.
  5. In a medium glass bowl, add the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, capers and lemon juice. Adjust the salt, as needed.
  6. Fold the mayonnaise mixture into the potato mixture, cover and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the chives and adjust seasoning as needed.

***Thanks Peggy!***

06
Aug
12

Official Opinion: Eric “What, What!” Whitacre

After a weekend of Lollapalooza, it feels nice to sit back and relax. And what better way to do that than to listen to a composition by Eric Whitacre! This is the man who arranged a piece that 3,746 people from 73 countries sang together via video recording. It was called the “Virtual choir,” and now choirs have added this classical song to their repertoire. If you haven’t heard the song, “Water Night,” sit back and get lifted by this angelic tune. Thanks Paige (Stitely Sales), for the official opinion on this Music Monday!

Virtual choir performance:

Recording without:

30
Jul
12

Official Opinion: Hard to Say “No” to 90’s R&B

Today, the Stitely Office was whisked away oh so tenderly by the 90’s R&B group, AZ Yet. Singing a cover of Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” this single went to #8 on the Hot 100 and achieved platinum status. The song was also nominated for a Grammy  in the category of Best R&B Performance by a Duo or  Group with Vocals! Looking for another tender loving song for a dance at your wedding? Listen to AZ Yet! Thank’s N’Jameh (Stitely’s marketing Intern) for this week’s Music Monday choice!

27
Jul
12

Stitely Soundboard: Music camp is Birchin’

If you called the office last week looking for Jeff, you probably already know that he was out for the week. Where was he? He was teaching percussion to high school students at the Birch Creek Music Performance Center!

Located in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, Birch Creek is an intensive, performance-based summer program that allows students to work with professional musicians. The Percussion and Steel Band program is said to be one of the most comprehensive educational experiences for the young drummer/percussionist. Students perform in percussion and mallet ensembles and participate in  world percussion classes as well. This was Jeff’s 23rd year in the program so we asked him about teaching and what keeps him going back for more.

Stitely Office (SO): How did you first get involved with Birch Creek?

JS: Twenty-two years ago I got a call from Robert Chappell who is the head percussionist at Northern Illinois University to come in and try it out.

SO: How many students did you work with and what did you teach?

JS: There were about 25-35 students in the percussion program and we worked with them 8-10 at a time. It was a great week immersing in music.  I wish I could do it once a month!

SO: What was your favorite part of the experience?

JS: The oldest members of the mallet playing class, aka the seniors, were so intimidated by playing the drum set. They were just so nervous, especially when it came to using both their hands and feet at the same time since that’s what you do with a drum set. So I told them to think back to when they were four years old and wanted to bang on everything, from pots, pans, and even the floor. Then I told them to take that inner four year old, and just bang on the drum set, bang on everything and just enjoy the sounds that come from the instrument. They actually had a lot of fun doing that and then said, “Alright let’s learn this thing!”

Another memory I loved was when the faculty played together. At the end of the program we have a percussion and steel band concert. The faculty got to play jazz together and it was just so much fun!

SO: If you could walk into a store that had every percussive instrument from around the world, what three instruments would you grab from the display?

JS: Probably a cajon, which is a Latin instrument and is basically a wooden box with a metal snare on the inside. I would also grab an upgraded V-drums, the new model by Roland, and probably a marimba. It’s such a beautiful sounding instrument and I wish I was a lot better at it. Oh, and probably the tabla from India.

25
Jul
12

Guest Star: Fun with Frank Check

This months guest star is Frank Check, drummer of the Chicago Groove Collective! Frank has earned many awards as a jazz soloist, as well as several other awards including the First Chair award from from Instrumentalist Magazine, the John Phillip Sousa award, and the very prestigious Semper Fidelis award form the United States Marine Corp. We thought we’d chat with this award winning musician to get to know him just a little bit better.

SE: What are the five songs or albums you’re listening to the most right now?
Frank Check (FC):
Sting – Ten Summoner’s Tales
Jill Scott – Who is Jill Scott? – Words and Sounds, Vol. 1
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Zakir Hussein – Essence of Rhythm
Phil Lesh and Friends – Bootleg from Riviera Show (10/20/02)
 
SE: Who or what inspired you to be a professional musician?
FC: My brothers, they always had bands rehearsing at our house when I was a kid and I wanted to be just like them!  One plays guitar and the other plays bass…naturally drums fit right in!
 
SE: What’s your craziest event or gig story?
FC: Several months ago I was playing at a bar gig where several individuals consumed more drinks than they should have (shocking).  I was playing drums behind a clear drum shield and watched as a drunken audience member grabbed a beer bottle off of a tray and threw it at the stage where it shattered on the drum shield and sprayed all over.  Several people escorted the individual out the door.  On the bright side, the Plexiglas saved me and my drums from the beer bottle and guy who threw the bottle came back to apologize a few weeks later!
 
SE: Do you have any regular gigs?
FC: Every Sunday night I play a “live-band karaoke” gig at McGee’s Tavern from 8-11pm.
 
SE: What was your first concert?
FC: I am lucky because my parents took me to several concerts as a kid and I could not even guess which one was first.  The first concert that I asked to go to was AC/DC – Ballbreaker Tour in 96′.  Great way to start!
 
SE: If you could share the stage with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
FC:I will have to adjust the question a bit because that musician and I would need a great cast of characters working with us to make the situation ideal.  I have always thought of music as an ensemble experience and I have always idolized bands and not individuals.  The most important things to me as a drummer are having a killing bass player and guitarists that take you on a journey when they solo.  If I could play with any band I would choose The Allman Brothers Band.  The entire band is incredible and knows how to achieve something amazing and different every time they play.  Each musician in that group relies on the others to make it great!
 
SE: You’re stuck on a desert island forever. Which three albums do you want with you?
FC: This response could change daily!  If I was heading to that island today these would be my choices.
Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy
Michael Jackson – Off the Wall
Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters
 
SE: Beatles or Stones?
FC: Stones!
23
Jul
12

Official Opinion: Stitely Staff Talent!

Hello all and hope you had a fantastic weekend! This week’s Music Monday tune comes from  Morgan Haner, Stitely’s planning/sound engineer intern. Introducing, “Lovesong in Disguise” from his 2012 album War and Cocaine, Morgan weaves soulful vocals into his strumming patterns that gives the vision of a turning wheel, a motion that speeds up, slows down, but never stops. Relax this morning and enjoy this Music Monday pick!

Click on this link for the song:

Lovesong in Disguise

16
Jul
12

Official Opinion: Hey All You Pretty Girls!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! The Stitely office started off this week with a little bit of FUN. And by FUN. we’re talking about the alternative rockband from New York City. From their 2009 album, Aim and Ignite, this band had us moving in our chairs with their hit single, “All the Pretty Girls.” Have a great week and enjoy this Music Monday pick!




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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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