Posts Tagged ‘Chicago wedding reception music


Official Opinions: Thinkin’ Bout who?…You know.

Happy Monday everyone! Happy December! Time has just flown by this year but we wanted to take a moment to think about what’s really important. Yes, we were thinking about you. More specifically Frank Ocean‘s “Thinkin’ Bout You”. To get even more into the nitty gritty we were thinking back to SNL earlier this year where Frank Ocean was the musical guest and John Mayer joined up with the talented R&B singer songwriter to play guitar for both musical numbers. Sigh. What a handsome team.

Frank Ocean

Shh he’s reached Zen

Ocean’s song has been everywhere this year and for good reason, his first debut studio album Channel Orange came out this year in July and has spread like wild fire across the radio, internet and every which way. In addition to being widely successful with his debut album, he is also a member of the hip hop collective OFTGKTA more commonly known as Odd Future.

A soft spoken man with a voice of an angel. We’ll take it. Also it’s been said that Beyonce Knowles cried the first time she listened to this track. True or not, you have to admit you can’t blame her. Here at Stitely we feel the same way. We all agreed, he’s an artist we all love.


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!


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!


official opinions: Perpetuum Mobile- music inspired by food poisoning

After stuffing our faces with turkey and watching hours of football last week (go Bears!), everyone at Stitely needed a complex instrumental tune to break us out of our food comas. Check out Perpetuum Mobile from Penguin Café Orchestra, a group envisioned and founded by British musician Simon Jeffes as a result of food poisoning! After becoming ill, Jeffes had a strange vision and a poem came to him describing the “Penguin Café”. He began writing about the imagined café, and eventually began writing music that would be played in the café. Check out this  interview with Jeffes about his vision & the beginnings of the Orchestra.


Official Opinions: The Clark Kent of Music

Thanksgiving hits us later this week almost as hard as the second serving of mashed potatoes and gravy. Don’t worry this Monday Stitely is channeling our inner superhero to march on till we can relax with food and family by playing “Superman” by Joe Brooks.

This mellow tune comes from the young 25 year old British singer who is mostly an unknown name here in the states but has a huge following online and was discovered originally on Myspace amassing over 11 million song plays and over 100 thousand profile friends. Back in 2008 on Myspace he was titled as the number 1 unsigned artist in the UK.


How could not love a face like that?

The song “Superman” is a pretty simple tune all about a guy who really cares for a girl, but doesn’t think he’s good enough for her. We don’t know, this guy seems to have it all going for him. Check out the video which in itself has been played over 11 million times.

He may not be superman but we think he’s done a pretty good job fulfilling all the other requirements it takes to be with someone else. Good on you sir, we hope you gain the fame you deserve here in the states!


Official opinions: Fun and festive holiday wedding ideas

Year after year, holiday weddings prove to be unique and memorable, and not just because of all that Chicago snow.  Check out some fun holiday wedding themes that are sure to make your wedding stand out.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland:  Perhaps it’s the enchanting atmosphere that makes this theme so popular among smitten couples.  To get a wintery look try incorporating silver, shades of blue and white into the color scheme. Snowflakes can hang from artificial white trees surrounded by a dusting of “snow” on the ground. Clear white Christmas lights draped around the venue will add the final touch for this theme. But don’t forget the music! Stitely offers several variations of string combos that will be the perfect match for cocktails and dinner at this sophisticated wedding.

Christmas Delight: Weddings are already hectic without adding the holidays to the mix.  However, having a “Christmas Delight” theme is a great way to highlight the more relaxing aspects of season. While ruby reds and emerald greens are the most prevalent Christmas colors we don’t want your wedding being confused with the office holiday party. Instead, try choosing only one of these staple colors and pair it with gold. Imagine your bridesmaids floating down the aisle in elegant red dresses with gold stars twinkling above them- what a great backdrop for your special day! Another alternative is to have a treat table that includes all of your holiday favorites: gingerbread men (or ginger brides with white frosting), candy canes and, of course, your Aunt Milly’s apple pie. Finally, this wedding’s not complete without a dazzling white Christmas tree decorated with red or green ornaments.

Rustic Holiday: A favorite holiday pastime is cozying up with the family to a warm fire complete with hot chocolate in hand. While this “Rustic Holiday” theme has the least amount of guidance, it has the most potential for a romantic and intimate atmosphere. Find a rustic venue such as an old church, cabin or barn and incorporate earth tones and deep reds into the color scheme. Keep the lights dimmed while dancing to Stitely’s top wedding bands or DJs, and for dessert treat guests to hot chocolate next to flickering candles and poinsettia centerpieces. This theme is sure to create a cozy and tender celebration.


Guest Star: Mr. Piano man, Leandro Lopez Varady

Leandro Lopez Varady is a native from Buenos Aires, Argentina who has been surrounded by music his entire life since his family is heavily involved with all things music. Now, Leandro lives and works in Chicago as the pianist for 312 Chicago. Read on to learn a bit more about this great pianist.


Stitely Entertainment (SE): Who or what inspired you to be a professional musician?
Leandro Lopez Varady (LLV): My father, Osvaldo López, great jazz drummer (he played with Wynton Marsalis, Buddy de Franco, Tete Montoliu among others)

SE: What’s your craziest event story?
LLV: When Chick Corea signed my book of his songs in a press conference in Buenos Aires and looked steady at me for a few seconds. I was 13 years old. I do not know if it was crazy but definitely changed my life.

SE: Do you play in any other groups? Tell us about them.
LLV: Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, a combination between jazz and classical music. Cirqua Rivera Dance Company (CRDT), a dance company that plays mostly original music. Steve Hashimoto’s “Sueños”, a latin/jazz band. Bryson/Bailey project, a straight ahead jazz group.

SE: How did you become involved with music?
LLV: Both of my parents are musicians. My father was a jazz drummer and my mom is a harpist, pianist, singer and composer. Also my uncle was the violin concert master in the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Music was around me since I was born (actually I was exposed to music since I was in my mom’s womb. She was doing a lot of recording sessions at that time).

SE: What was your first concert?Terry Callier
LLV: I was invited to play a composition of mine by a world known argentinean jazz pianist, Enrique “mono” Villegas. I was 14 years old. Although it was not a concert it made an impression on me I will never forget.

SE: If you could share the stage with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
LLV: Dead, J.S.Bach. Alive, Chick Corea.

SE: You are stuck on a desert island forever. Which three albums do you want with you?
LLV: “Daphnis et Chloé” (complete ballet) by Maurice Ravel (Cleveland Symphony conducted by Seiji Ozawa), Oscar Peterson “Tracks” (solo piano), The Bill Evans trio, “Moon Beams”.

SE: Beatles or Stones?
LLV: Beatles


Official Opinions: The Late Terry Callier We miss you already

The cold hit Chicago like a ton of bricks today, but at Stitely we march onward. To say goodbye to the lovely autumn we offer a song of blues, jazz and folk- a shortened version of Terry Callier’s “You Goin’ Miss Your Candyman” entitled “Blues.”

Mr. Callier was a Chicago native and was once labeled as “the new folk sound.” He was an active musician in the ’60s to the early ’80s, and again from the ’90s until his recent death at the age of 67. He spent his musical hiatus taking care of his daughter and working as a computer programmer at University of Chicago. In the late ’80s and ’90s British DJs began playing his music in clubs, and this helped to reinvigorate his popularity and encourage him to play again.

“Blues” is a newer version of his 1973 song “You Goin’ Miss Your Candyman” which is a lot darker, shorter more biting than the original song. Take a listen to the original below and compare.

As said earlier, Terry Callier just recently passed away from cancer. However, this rockin’ song is filled with his great beat and spirit, as well as lyrics that stick with you. The ending repetition of “You might miss me when I’m gone” is an understatement. Terry Callier, thanks for the soul.


Official Opinions: Docs That Rock part 1

It’s well known that the Stitely staff loves music, so its probably a no-brainer that we love movies about music as well. But given the extensive list of films made about musicians over the years, how do you find the good ones? Here are just a few of the historically significant music documentaries that have been released in the past 60 years. Stay tuned for part two in which we recommend our personal favs.

There are two kinds of music documentaries: rockumentaries and music documentaries. In rockumentaries, the film is primarily focused on concert footage and how a band sounds live, while a music documentary deals with the musicians personal struggles in addition to their music.

Below are five Music Docs that historically rock.

1. Don’t Look Back -1967 by D.A. Pennebaker
Don’t Look Back is one of the original music documentaries. In 1998 it was selected to be preserved in the U.S. National Film Registry for being artistically significant to our country’s film development. In this doc, Pennebaker follows Bob Dylan around on his 1965 European tour. He shows the music, Dylan’s manager and friends, and also covers the entirety of his romance and break-up with Joan Baez. The film starts with a music video for Dylan’s song “Subterranean Homesick Blues“. This beginning became one of the first music videos ever produced and changed the whole way people experienced music.

3 days of music

2. Woodstock – 1970 by Michael Wadleigh

This documentary is the heart of concert film. Named for the famous festival in 1969, it documented many of its famous performances starting with Richie Havens and ending with Jimi Hendrix.

A national and critical hit, it was nominated for Academy Awards in several categories including Best Editing and Best Sound. It also won the award for Best Documentary. In 1996 the film was selected to be preserved in the U.S. National Film Registry. Even though it was made with a small budget of only $600,000, it became a smash hit in theaters grossing over $50 million dollars, making it the 6th highest grossing film of the year.

3. The Last Waltz – 1978 by Martin Scorsese

The Last Waltz tells the story of the The Band’s farewell concert and includes interviews of the band about their musical experiences. Special guest stars such as Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters and Neil Young really helped The Band go out with a bang. The film is still hailed today as one of the greatest concert films ever made.

4. & 5. The Decline of Western Civilization, 1981 & The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years, 1988 by Penelope Spheeris

We combined these since they are part of a series about the changing music scene in Los Angeles during the 1980s. The first film looks into the punk rock scene of LA and the second covers heavy metal. There is a third chapter made debuted in 1998 that follows gutter punks, but it was never released to the general public after going through the festival circuit.

All that hair…

The first film features both live concerts and interviews with the bands, punk magazine publishers and fans. These interviews show a well rounded experience of the punk rock movement and the bands that came out of it such as Black Flag, X, Circle Jerks and Fear. These bands helped to shape the sound of punk rock, hardcore punk and music in general.

The second film follows the Metal scene of L.A. focusing particularly on Glam Metal. Less concerned with concert footage, this film features more interviews conducted between band members and an editor of Screamer Magazine. It also shows footage of the musicians dealing with their drug and alcohol abuse and vanity issues like celebrity status. Some of the bands & musicians featured are: Aerosmith, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper and Megadeath. Music buffs now mention the film as partially responsible for the death of glam rock and the rise of thrash metal and grunge. Fans were disgusted by the excess used by the rockers and decided to turn elsewhere.

Schyeah right!

The films were well received and jump started Penelope Spheeris‘ film directing career, giving her multiple job opportunities. Although she turned down the offer to direct This is Spinal Tap because she thought it was impossible to make fun of heavy metal she later directed the music comedy Wayne’s World. How’s that for a turn of events?

That’s all for this post, stay tuned for part 2!


Official opinions: Carly’s cup of cheer

Now that the weather’s getting colder, it’s time to break out the handschuhe und wintermaentel! For my fellow Germans getting ready to hunker down for the winter (and anyone else looking for a cozy cure to the winter blues!), you’ll no doubt enjoy this delicious homemade brew of traditional German mulled wine,. Take in the smell of simmering spices, snuggle up with a blanket and good friends, put on some fantastic music and sip away.

Gerne trinken!


Traditional Mulled Wine (Gluehwein)


  • 1 Bottle of dry red wine
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 4 Anis, whole
  • 1 Tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 3 oranges, sliced

• Pour the red wine into a large pot over low heat (make sure not to boil the wine!)
• When the wine begins to warm, add cinnamon sticks, cloves, anis, nutmeg, and sugar
• Heat thoroughly, then add the sliced lemon and oranges
• Simmer the mixture for 45 minutes over low heat (again making sure not to boil the wine)
• Do a quick taste-test and add more sugar as needed
• Strain and serve warm in a mug garnished with orange slices, a cinnamon stick, or a couple of anis floating on top of the wine

Feel free to experiment with the amount of spices, or for you brave souls out there add a cup of brandy before simmering!

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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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July 2020