We love getting gorgeous photos from the photographers we partner with on weddings and events.  Victoria Sprung at Sprung Photo generously shared her work at Melissa and Andrew’s wedding with us.

We first met with Melissa and Andrew 6 months before their December wedding.  They had chosen the historic and dramatic Grand Foyer of the Civic Opera Building as the stylish location for their ceremony and reception.

Chicago wedding band Stitely Chicago Groove Collective

Best Chicago wedding band Sprung Photo Victoria Sprung

Melissa had a very clear vision of how she wanted her wedding day to sound.  From Opera selections for her ceremony, to a jazzy and classy supper club feel during dinner to dancing the rest of the night away on a packed dance floor.  She and Andrew knew right away that Chicago Groove Collective would make that happen.  And since Melissa loves a big sound and so they chose to book the 10 piece version of CGC with a full horn section.

After deciding on a cello and keyboard duo to play during her ceremony, Melissa relied on the expertise of cellist, Melissa Bach, to guide her in choosing music that worked for that instrumentation.  The play list was spot on and the bride couldn’t have been happier with the ceremony music.  In fact, she said it turned out to be one of her favorite parts of the day.

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Keeping the dance floor full was also high on the couple’s priority list.  They spent a good deal of time on our online Event Planner choosing the songs they most wanted to hear throughout their night.  Their choices, combined with leader Derrick Procell’s expertise, was the magic combination that made their vision of a super fun dance party a reality.

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Melissa and Andrew surrounded themselves with top-notch wedding vendors in Chicago.  We were honored to work with:

Kate at Chicago Vintage Weddings whose expertise in planning created a flawless and visually stunning wedding.

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Kenmare Catering who created visually stunning and delicious food.

Chicago wedding band Stitely Chicago Groove Collective Kenmare Catering

And the great staff at the Civic Opera House.

Grand Room

And a huge thank you to Melissa and Andrew for having us be a part of your very special day.   Congratulations!

 

Mary Morris, a third grade teacher in Strawberry Plains. Tennessee re-vamped the lyrics to Adele’s “Hello” to sing about school snow days from the teacher’s point of view.  Not only are her lyrics spot on and hilarious, her voice is amazing.  She originally sang the song for her fellow teachers at  a school in-service day meeting.  Lucky for her, she has friends in the marketing industry who created a top-notch video for the song.  Check it out here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnIRfvFLiWQ

 

Metropolitan Club

Join Stitely Entertainment at the Metropolitan Club this Friday, January 22nd for the 7th annual Boutique Bridal show “Love At Breathtaking Heights”.
The event is from 5:30-8:00pm and guests are invited to mingle among Chicago’s elite wedding vendors while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, signature cocktails & spectacular views.

Bridal swag bags and door prizes for guests will be available for you to enjoy.

Click to register!

or check it out on Facebook!

 

On this incredibly cold Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, this flawless harmonizing will warm your soul.

 

 

Stitely Entertainment is honored to have been chosen for the Couples Choice Award again in 2016.  Thank you to all the couples who shared their day with us and then shared their experience with future brides and grooms.

Stitely Orchestra’s own Bill Overton has been practicing his many instruments during band rehearsals for the musical extravaganza, Louis and Keely “Live” at the Sahara, opening this week at the Royal George Theater.

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Louis Prima and Keely Smith were an American musical sensation in the 50s and 60s, virtually pioneering the Lounge Act in Las Vegas. The show is an original Musical Love Story featuring many of the duo’s greatest hits including That Ol’ Black Magic, Hey Boy Hey Girl, What Is This Thing Called Love, Night Train, Ai Ai Ai, and I Can’t Believe You’re in Love With Me.

Frank Sinatra also appears in a pivotal role in this new American musical play, which features a hot seven-piece live band that is guaranteed to bring down the house.

Co-written, directed and produced by Taylor Hackford, best known for directing the movies “An Office and A Gentleman” and “Ray”. Hackford also happens to be married to actress Helen Mirren who is currently playing Elizabeth II in the Broadway run of The Audience.

 Book your tickets now!

 

 

 

With cold weather still hanging on by a thread and wedding season just around the corner, we take a moment to look back on our favorite movie weddings. Here are our winners:

Best Wedding Music: Love Actually

This wedding was filled with surprise musicians popping up throughout the pews. Although I always wondered how no one notice some guy walking in with a trombone, this is still a sweet ceremony.

Worst (& the Most) Bridesmaids Dresses: 27 Dresses27 Dresses
This final scene from 27 Dresses is iconic when it comes to ridiculous bridesmaids themes and dress choices.

Most Classic: The Sound of MusicSound of Music Wedding
While this scene was never my favorite when I watch The Sound of Muisc as a child, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty in it. Maria has found love and the beautiful cathedral combine with her massive train evokes royalty like no one but Julie Andrews could capture. (Unless you are actually royal…)

Favorite from Childhood: The Parent Trapparent-trap-wedding
If you grew up during the late 90s and Early 00s, there’s no way you missed Lindsay Lohan’s breakout role in the Parent Trap. Although I was upset for a while summer when I found out she was only one person, the final wedding scene backed by Natalie Cole’s “Everlasting Love” is still a favorite of mine.

Funniest: My Big Fat Greek Weddingbig fat greek
If anything, this entire movie taught us that while weddings are often stressful, what really matters is the marriage, not the actual ceremony. And also that Windex cures all.

Honorable Mentions:
Bridesmaids
Runaway Bride
4 Weddings and A Funeral
A Walk to Remember

In today’s wedding industry, everything is optional when it comes to the old wedding industries. Couples are choosing much more non-traditional routes from the color of the dress to the order of the event. To help you decide whether or not to include these traditions, today we look at the pros and cons of including or excluding these traditions.

Bouquet & Garter Toss
For many brides, the bouquet toss is something that they have been looking forward to for quite a while. As a little girl, I was always so excited to be a part of that tradition. It’s exciting and competitive and gets you out of your seat. Now, though, as a single woman being invited to more weddings each summer, that group of bouquet catchers is getting slimmer and slimmer with every event. Be sure to keep in mind how many single ladies are on your guest list before you invite them all up to catch your bouquet. Depending on the number, it could be more embarrassing than exciting!

Bouquet toss at wedding

Introductions
The manner in which you and your wedding party are introduced has also become a topic of conversation. This is one that a lot of couples don’t even think about being optional. If you and your new spouse don’t love having all the attention on you, opt for a low-key entrance, blending and conversing with the rest of your guests for the cocktail hour. Including or excluding this one really depends on the vibe you want for your party.

Cake Cutting
With so many couples going the non-traditional dessert route, official cake cuttings are becoming few and far between. If you want to include this tradition, consider having a friend or relative make you a small cake for the cutting/feeding pictures. Then provide your guests with more dessert choices, such as cake balls, pies, macarons, or ice cream!

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Cocktails All Day
The timing of your cocktail hour also depends on the vibe you would like to achieve. If you’d like your guests to party all day and all night, many couples are opting to have a short cocktail time before the ceremony to loosen people up, then a more extensive one before dinner & dancing. Choosing this structure of your day may negate the seriousness of the ceremony if that’s important to you. But it may also put people at ease and create a celebratory atmosphere! Having your specific guests in mind for this one will be key.

Dress Color
Finally–don’t feel restricted with your dress color! While shades of white are still dominating, many brides are choosing to add colorful accents or dresses that just scream their style. Wedding color choices don’t necessarily carry the same symbolism for many as they once did–just focus on the beauty and comfort you want to possess on your big day!

With so much music in this great city of ours, there is often too much to keep track of. You probably aren’t even aware of half of the live music that take place in the city any given month, and with people like the folks at Sofar, there’s no wonder.

SofarSounds

According to their website, Sofar Sounds started in 2009 in a “tiny North London flat. Frustrated by the traditional live music experience, [they] hosted three young artists who played to a carefully selected audience of the true music lovers.”

This is the premise for Sofar Sounds secret shows. Here’s how it works. You sign up for an e-mail list, and every month you are notified of the date that a secret show will be taking place. You can specify which city you would like to attend in (out of many across the country and the world), then give a reason why you should be admitted into the secret show, which usually takes place in someone’s apartment or living room. You won’t know what artist you are about to hear until you show up the night of the show–how exciting!

The link to subscribe to their updates is here. What do you think–would you attend a show featuring a band you’ve never heard of in someone’s house you don’t know?

At Stitely Entertainment, music is our business and our lifeblood. Not only do we love using music to ramp up the energy at a wedding or other event, but we also love it in our lives. We had a chance to have a conversation with Jeff Stitely to talk about his knowledge of music and go in-depth about how he and the other Stitely musicians use musical nuances to create different feels for different moments. The key, to start, is a solid rhythm section. The following posts stems from our conversation about how different styles of music elicit different responses:

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In a live band, the rhythm section is the backbone. Whether you notice it or not, every band has a core rhythm section, often consisting of bass, keys, drums and guitar. Different styles of music also have different focuses and feels. In jazz, the quarter note is king. The main focus is the bass, playing a walking quarter note bass line. The drummer adds the ride cymbal, also focusing on that quarter note base. The bass and drums have to match up for the groove to come alive. Really, a jazz rhythm section is like a great conversation. You pick a theme, someone makes a statement, and everyone will respond accordingly, adding their own flair to the conversation. When there’s an openness to what’s being discussed and the conversation is flowing, there’s almost a pleasant hum that occurs. In the same way, a jazz rhythm section will flow and hum in a comfortable yet ever-evolving way. The nuances and variations on this key conversation are what make each tune special.

For dance music, that conversation looks totally different. While the rhythm section is still present and important, they definitely have a more scripted part. This is especially true when they are recreating music that’s been played before. For example, the bands that make up Stitely Entertainment are largely playing dance music that is recognizable to the general public. Because of this, they want to make sure they include every lick and detail that the audience is expecting when they hear that song. When playing older jazz tunes, getting a carbon copy isn’t as important—it’s the style and the essence that you want to extract and recreate. You can play variations on the original while still upholding the integrity of the genre and the song itself. But with dance music, you want to follow the song like it’s a map written out before you.

To successfully follow that map, each musician has an important role. They are each responsible for studying their specific part and recreating it to the best of their ability. The meticulous process of writing out an exact drumbeat or strumming pattern that the original artist used can be tedious, but necessary to recreate what the original artist produced. By writing everything out specifically, the musicians are respecting the artist’s original sound and work.

This process can be challenging with contemporary music because much of it is produced in the studio with layers and layers of synthesizers, keyboards, and strings. This can be very hard to replicate in a live setting, and the keyboard player often has the biggest responsibility: to try to recreate the sounds that all the synthesizers in the studio make, prioritizing the layers that are most important to the structure of the song, as well as what will meet the listeners expectations of the what the song is “supposed to sound like.”

Just as both traditional and contemporary styles are structured slightly differently, they also make you want to move differently as a listener. Motown, Classic Rock, Top 40 Pop, and Jazz are all distinctly different in terms of feel and general response from the audience. Knowing the difference in how and when to play all the styles is important, especially at events like weddings when each portion of the night demands a different feel. The differences really come down to the way that the rhythm section structures itself and how successfully them blend into that “conversation” we mentioned earlier.

In summation, music is an emotion, and that musical emotion is expressed differently for each person in the way they move on the dance floor. So whether or not you realize it when you’re cutting a rug on the dance floor, the rhythm section is playing a huge part in manipulating that raw emotion in a way that grooves with the rest of the atmosphere and creates a memorable and energy-filled space that you won’t want to leave.