The Stitely Orchestra

  • Meghan Murphy

    Originally from San Jose, CA, Meghan is an actor/singer/dancer with a BFA in Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory.  You may have seen her in any number of Chicago venues such as: Ravinia, The Metro, Mayne Stage, The Music Theatre Company, The Black Ensemble, The Apollo Theater, Light Opera Works, The Center on Halstead, McCormick Place and the Francis Parker Academy. She has been selected to participate in concerts for The Chicago Humanities Festival, Chicago Sings: Porchlight Theatre’s annual benefit, and several musical tributes accompanied by Welz Kauffman, the CEO of Ravinia. Most recently, she originated the role of Pam in the world premiere of 50 Shades! The Musical, a broadway bound hit based on the book Fifty Shades of Grey. Meghan also writes/directs/produces/stars in her long-running  one woman show Big Red’s Cabaret every second Thursday of the month at Mary’s Attic in Andersonville and is the lead singer of her soul band Everybody Says Yes. From stage to screen, classical musical theatre to groundbreaking world premieres, Meghan is a legitimate triple threat.

  • Bruce Henry

    Vocals

    Bruce A. Henry, born in Mississippi and publicly singing by the age of 5 in his Baptist church on the West side of Chicago, was classically trained at the Chicago Conservatory of Music. Garnering a large following in France and the Far East, Bruce has been heard on a Worldwide Radio Live Concert on the B.B.C. as well as notable movie soundtracks. Bruce has also performed with Doc Severinsen, The Sounds of Blackness, Bobby McFerrin and opened for the likes of Roberta Flack, Ramsey Lewis, Natalie Cole, Stephan Grapelli and Chris Botti. In addition, he has performed on such exotic and legendary stages as the Malate concert in Manila, the Klezmer Festival in Israel, Le Bilboquet in Paris, The WhitBread in London, an the Waldor Astoria in New York City. In addition to a frenetic performing and recorded schedule, Bruce is a committed educator whose Evolution of African American Music workshop is an inspirational presentation indeed.

  • Joan Collaso

    Vocals

    Joan Collaso is an international vocalist who hails from Chicago. Her smooth, moving vocals have been enjoyed by music lovers all over the world including the North Sea jazz Festival in The Netherlands. In addition to producing five CDs of her own and singing on countless jingles and commercials, she has supported numerous major artists such as Celene Dion, George Duke, Ray Parker, Jr., Jerry Butler and Michael Henderson, to name a few. She also appeared int he 1997 history-making film Soul Food. Joan can be heard performing every Friday night as the featured vocalist at the Four Seasons Hotel on the Magnificent Mile.

  • Jeff Stitely

    Drums

    Jeff began his career as a jazz drummer building a reputation in Chicago by playing with such superb artistas a Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Randy Becker, Eddie Harris, Larry Coryell, “Groove” Holmes, Kathleen Battle, Zoot Sims, Patricia Barber, Von Freeman, bobby Shew, the Grant Park Symphony, Sinfonieta, Fulcrumpoint and many others. Jeff won “Best Soloist” at the 9th International Jazz Competition of Belgium and has been awarded 2 National endowment of the Arts grants. The Jeff Stitely Quartet recorded three Cds. “Chameleon Eyes” won the distinguished award of “Top 10 CD’s of the year” by WBEZ and the Sun Times. They toured both the U.S. an Europe and were finalists in the Hennessey National Jazz Competition.

    Jeff studies and performed African drumming and dance with Gideon Foli Alorwoyie for five years. This great musical tradition in about bringing spirit to the rituals of the community like weddings, harvests and births. In that same spirit, Jeff started Stitley Entertainment in 1994 to combine dance music with his desire to provide quality misc for our traditions. In addition to playing music, Jeff is currently a Ravinia Jazz Mentor working with High School jazz musicians. He performed with the Chicago Symphony “Gershwin-Bernstein Ensemble for 5 years and has been a faculty at Northern Illinois and Northeastern Illinois Universities teaching percussion.

  • Mike Arnopol

    Bass

    Michael Arnopol began playing string bass at the age of 13, studying under the principal bassist of the Chicago Symphony and playing in the prestigious Chicago Civic Orchestra. He went on to study with top jazz and classical bassists in Europe and New York. He has recorded and toured with many jazz artists but is best known for his work with jazz vocalist Patricia Barber. He has played on all of her recordings and toured the world with her. He is fluent in all styles of jazz and popular music and equally comfortable on electric bass and double bass.

  • Chris White

    Pianist Chris White hails from Toronto, Canada. After obtaining a B.A. in English from the University of Toronto, Chris decided to focus his studies entirely on music. In 1997 he attended Indiana University’s prestigious Jacobs School of Music and pursued his Masters degree in Jazz Studies, graduating with a Phi Kappa Lamda award (National Music Honors Society). Gaining valuable experience in Indianapolis, he performed with The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, David Baker, Jamey Aebersold and Oliver Nelson, Jr.  He has studied piano with Luke Gillespie, Lynne Arriale, Joanne Brackeen, Barry Harris and Andy LaVerne.  In August 2000 Chris was invited to perform in the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia hosted by James Moody, Rufus Reid and David Baker. Currently he is an instructor of jazz piano and theory at Lake Forest College, North Park University and North Central College.  He is also a combo and theory instructor at Midwest Young Artists in Highwood, IL.  Chris has performed at The Jazz Showcase, Andy’s, The House of Blues, Navy Pier, The Peninsula Hotel, the Coq D’or at the Drake Hotel and many more.  In 2010 he completed his Doctoral of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • John Sabal

    Guitar, keyboards, vocals

    A native of Cleveland, Ohio, John has been performing on the Chicago music scene for more than a dozen years. Raised on a steady diet of prog-rock, synth-pop, and funk, John studies music at Valparaiso University. Hes adept at bass and keyboards as well as guitar and sings everything from country to rock classics like Sweet Home Alabama to the Violent Femmes Blister in the Sun. John has shared the stage with such artists as Los Lobos, Jarma Kaukonen, The Aquarium Rescue Unit and Cowboy Mouth.

  • Bill Overton

    Saxophone

    Bill was born in Memphis and grew up immersed in its tradition of Blues, Soul and Jazz. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1978. Bill moved to New York in 1981 where he performed with such artistas as Mel Lewis, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickinson, Rosemary Clooney, Odetta Bo Didley, The Temptations, The Spinners and The St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra. He has also worked with a number of Broadway pit orchestras and has extensive experience in recording work. Also while in New York, Bill taught at William Peterson College, The Brooklyn Conservatory and The Aebersold Summer Jazz Clinics. Bill moved to the Chicago area in 1998 where he continues to perform with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, the Ellington Dynasty, The Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Frank Wess, Kenny Burell and many others.

  • Tim Coffman

    Trombone

    Tim Coffman is one of the most active trombonists and teachers in the Chicago area. A graduate of the prestigious Jazz Studies program at Indiana University. Time is in demand for studio and show work and has performed with Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Jr., Andy Williams, Natalie Cole, Lou Rawls, The Temptations, Louie Bellson, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Paul Anka, Al Jarreau, Henry Mancini, Stevie Wonder, Diane Schur, Jimmy Heath, Randy Brecker and Benny Golson among others. He has performed in the pit orchestra for “The Producers” and also performed with the Chicago Symphony playing lead trombone in the Duke Ellington “Nutcracker.” He is currently the jazz trombone instructor at DePaul University and he just finished recorded his own CD entitled “Crossroads.” Photo by Rosalin Van Tuy

  • Art Davis

    Trumpet

    Art Davis is an experienced peformer and teacher committed to the promotion and education of jazz and world music. Art received both his Bachelors in Music Education and Masters in Musicology from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Art is currently a trumpet instructor at the University of Illinois, Chicago and professor of Jazz Studies at Norther Illinois University. Mr Davis has been a professional freelance musicain in the Chicago area and has also toured with legendary artists Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney. Art has also performed with Doc Severinson, Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Joe Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole, Diane Shure, Sammy Davis Jr and Bill Cosby among others.

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The Stitely Orchestra

Led by award-winning drummer Jeff Stitely and featuring world-class rhythm, horn and vocal ensembles, the Stitely Orchestra elevates ordinary events to the extraordinary. The versatile Stitely Orchestra has mastered the combination of classic and contemporary music, playing styles ranging from romantic and elegant jazz to current dance hits on the radio. Stitely’s cutting edge sound technology, electronic drum kit and strategic use of tracks ensures that you hear these songs the way they were meant to be heard. Our sound engineer is also an excellent DJ can up the ante with an end-of-party jam for those seeking a club vibe. This fun, high-energy Chicago wedding band brings an unparalleled level of professionalism and experience to any occasion.

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