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

 

 

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.

 

After all the planning and preparing is done, sometimes we forget that a successful event isn’t about how well it went as planned, but rather, its impact lies in how much our guests enjoyed it. The following are some tips for you bride-to-be’s on how to give yourself the space and freedom to enjoy your wedding day!

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1. Delegate someone—your best man, maid of honor, a family member—that will be responsible for communication between you and the bandleader/emcee throughout the night. They can let the band know if they’re too loud, too fast, too slow, etc. so you don’t have to deal with any awkward tensions. They can also help you both remember things like eating your dinner! On such a crazy night with so many people to say hello to, it’s easy to forget these major things. Make sure you’ve chosen one person as your right-hand man to watch your back throughout the night.

2. Hire a great bandleader/emcee. The best bandleaders take responsibility for the success of your evening. They should notice important details like confirming the photographer is in the room before making any introductions for toasts, or ensuring silverware is on the cake table before announcing the cake cutting. The bandleader should also be in communication with the catering manager and other vendors to help with the flow of the evening.

3. When creating your seating chart, seat the older guests farther away from the band, and younger guests closer. Some older guests may appreciate being away from the loud noises, and the younger guests will most likely add the energy to the dance floor that every good party needs.

4. If you can, have the bar near the dance floor. If you put the bar outside the main room, it will be much harder to keep the dance floor filled. People will go out to get a drink, get involved in conversation and not make it back to the dance floor for quite a while. If the drinks and dancing are side-by-side, you’ve set yourself up for a consistently filled dance floor

5. Have a good time! This is the day you’ve been dreaming about and working so hard for—enjoy it! Instead of wondering, “are things going as planned?” the whole night, forget the itinerary and soak up all the little moments—even and especially the unplanned ones! Leave the double-checking to the professionals and have yourself a joy-filled and memorable night.

Happy New Year one and all! Here at Stitely we are so looking forward to what this year has in store for us. Some vendors we’re looking forward to working with again in 2015 include:

LK Events

Clementine Custom Events

Big City Bride

Café Brauer

Kenilworth Club

Warwick Allerton Hotel

Art Institute of Chicago

…and many more!

One of our resolutions this year is to take more photos and document more beautiful moments! Luckily we had some experts to pick up our slack in 2014. Let’s take a look back at some best moments from some of our favorite events in 2014. (Each photo links to photographer’s page) Enjoy!

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Here’s to another rockin’ year!

 

This weekend, August 1-3, Grant Park will once again host one of Chicago’s largest music festivals, Lollapalooza.  Organizers have a great line up of headliners including Eminem, King of Leon, Outkast, Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, Calvin Harris, Skrillex, The Avett Brothers Cage the Elephant and Foster the People, among many others.

2014′s summer weather has been fantastic, if you like it on the cool side and this weekend will be no different lots of sun and temperatures in the low 80′s.  So if you were lucky enough to score tickets, make the most of the weekend!

One of the hottest new trends in wedding proposals is the engagement ring box camera.  Invented by a team of students at Hope College in Michigan, the ring box with a tiny camera in it for filming the proposal has ensured that the priceless reaction of the bride-to-be is captured forever.  Ladies, would you like your reaction to your wedding proposal captured for posterity?

There’s a beautiful silver lining to the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013. James Costello was waiting at the finish line at the Boston Marathon when his life was dramatically changed. In a twist of fate, his life was also changed for the better.

Costello suffered severe burns on his right arm and leg, sending him to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for treatment. It was there that he met his future wife, nurse Krista D’Agostino. Eight months later, on an all-expenses paid “Heroes Cruise” with other victims and first responders,  Costello asked D’Agostino to marry him in the French city of Lyon.

“I’m happy to announce that we will spend the rest of our lives together. I now realize why I was involved in the tragedy. It was to meet my best friend, and the love of my life,” he wrote on Facebook.

Boston Marathon Proposal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And they lived happily ever after.

Check out the full story at People.com

Oh man, I sure could have used this list for my wedding. The list below was taken from an article on Huffington Post. They have an entire section devoted to weddings, which isn’t surprising; as of June 2013, American weddings are a $51 billion industry.

My favorite quote from this article is “try not to be too hard on yourself; after all, the most important thing is that you both successfully complete your vows. Everything else is just icing on top of the cake, as far as I’m concerned.”

Amen, sister.

10 THINGS BRIDES FORGET TO DO

1. Bring Your Marriage License

2. Vendor Meals

3. Favors

4. Guest Book and Pens

5. Invitation suite

6. Cake Knife and Toasting Flutes

7. Tech Chargers

8. Passport and Identification

9. Thank You Notes

10. Online Reviews

For more details on each of these items, check out the article HERE.

The 35th annual Chicago Jazz Festivafacebook/jazzphotol is right around the corner!  This free, four day musical extravaganza starts on August 29th at noon at the Chicago Cultural Center, then moves on to Millenium Park in the evening and continues through September 1st.

This year’s lineup features an amazing array of musicians, many of them native Chicagoans.  We are especially excited that the Frank Russell Band, led by Frank Russell , the bassist in Stitely Entertainment’s 312 Chicago, will be featured at the Von Freeman Pavillion starting at noon on Saturday, August 31st.  The festival has rarely presented groups led by electric bassists, and Frank will certainly tap into electricity to kick off Saturday’s festivities with a bang. You won’t want to miss it!

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Credit: Garbo Productions

Here at Stitely, we can count on our hands the number of times we’ve actually played Wagner’s Bridal Chorus as a wedding ceremony processional. While this is a great choice for the traditional bride, classical-loving couples often opt for other pieces such as Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Handel’s Largo from Xerxes, or even Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1. However many couples are now choosing a more contemporary route, or for eclectic personalities, a mix of classical and contemporary. Here are a few intriguing choices for ceremony processionals and recessional, that with the right instrumentation can create the perfect modern atmosphere for your wedding ceremony.

 

Processionals

“First Day of My Life” – Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes

This acoustic ballad of the highest caliber carries a lot of meaning for many couples, and it’s catchy to boot!

“In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” – Neutral Milk Hotel

Jeff Mangum, frontman of the long-defunct NMH, reveals wisdom on high in this atypical serenade.

“Chicago” – Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens’ signature song lays bare the idealism of youth, so harmful and yet so good.

Recessional

“Theme to The Muppets Show”

A wedding ceremony is a great time for childhood throwbacks!

“Sweet Disposition” – The Temper Trap

This complex tune is just as amazing with an acoustic guitar playing the driving rhythm while a violin or cello plays the lovely melody.