Here’s a taste for what’s been going on around the Chicago music scene the last few years: Pocket Radio is a Chicago-based band known for energetic live shows and music that combines jazz, funk, hip-hop, and soul and gets audiences on their feet. This original tune, written by tenor saxophonist, S. Hudgens, is a perfect example of Pocket Radio’s style.

When many people think about karaoke, there are usually a few things that come to mind. For some it’s a fun night out at a bar with friends, gladly making a fool of yourself. For others it’s disco balls, flashing lights and the cheesy bouncing balls that hops from word to word on a screen, accompanied by computerized melodies of your mom’s favorite songs. These were my ideas about karaoke before I started working at Stitely Entertainment and learned how cool karaoke can be when accompanied with a live band.

So, how does it work? To successfully channel your inner rock star via live band karaoke there are a few things one should know. First, even people who are a little on the shyer side can fully participate in this activity. To make people feel more comfortable we provide sunglasses, boas, hats and fun costumes to break the ice a bit and bring them out of their shell—so don’t let stage fright keep you from participating!

Secondly, we have a huge selection of songs just waiting to be chosen. Not only do we play the top pop hits of today, but you can also choose from classic rock, Motown, classic standards, country, indie music—anything that floats your boat, we’ve got it covered. Although we don’t have the fun bouncing ball to keep you in time, we do provide the lyrics on stage, as well as a top-notch professional band to keep you on track. The singers adjust to your comfort level—if you’re feeling confident they let you lead the way adding background and harmonies, or if you’re a little more nervous they help you start each line on time. Either way, having professional singer backing you up and joining in on the fun is an experience unique to Live Band Karaoke.

Finally, there are even options to sit in on percussion instruments, or even guitar if you’re really talented!

At what kind of events does live band karaoke work the best?

We’ve found that LBK works well for any group that wants to be interactive and have a great time showing off their talent and having a moment being a rock star. Corporate events—where people are gathered to have a good time and bond as coworkers—are a great example. We’ve have companies split guests into teams and have them perform together. This breaks the ice and creates great camaraderie!

LBK also works well at bar and bat mitzvahs, especially if the boy or girl is into singing and music. We’ve even done LBK at a wedding! A couple that met singing karaoke decided they wanted to incorporate it into their celebration, so a karaoke wedding was born. The bride and groom sang 4 or 5 songs each and were really talented! Many of the guests regularly sang karaoke as well so it was a blast.

In the end, Live Band Karaoke is really a major step up from the regular karaoke with a machine. The quality of the backing music, the personalization that is available, and the energy that is created in the room when a live band is performing cannot be matched. When the lights are shining on you and all your friends are clapping and yelling and supporting you, it really is like being a rock star—it’s exhilarating!

For companies who want to do something extra special, we can also bring in a video team and project the performers onto a live screen in real time. Check out our star cam in action in the video below!

Here at Stitely Entertainment we just love the music scene in Chicago. In the week’s Music Monday post we have the privilege of featuring one of our very own bandleaders, Nicholas Barron, and his solo gig coming up next month!

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Nicholas, the leader of 312 Chicago, will be playing a solo show at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday February 4th. Tickets are $10 and it will be a night of awesome R&B and Blues music. Buy tickets here.

Not only is Nicholas a great musician, but also a talented artist in other mediums! (Note the custom guitar in the picture above!) Check out his website nicholasbarron.com for more info about his music and art.

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See you at Lincoln Hall on Feb. 4th!

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!

 

If you’ve watched any TV this holiday season, it’s likely you’ve come across Acura’s commercial featuring a familiar holiday tune – “I Wish It Was Christmas Today.” You’ll remember the original version from the maroon-clad foursome Horatio Sans, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan & Tracy Morgan on Saturday Night Live in 2000. This hilarious song was an immediate SNL classic.

The version featured in the commercial (as well as topping my holiday playlist) is former Strokes’ lead singer Julian Casablancas’ 2009 cover of the comedy sketch.

Both videos are featured here—which one to do you enjoy more?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFfXqz1h5AY

 

Wedding days are exciting. They are days to look ahead at what is to come for the newly-married couple and mark the first day of the rest of their lives. While weddings are often future-oriented events, they are also times when families look back on where they came from. Many brides choose to celebrate their ancestors in unique ways. Here are some of our favorites from this year:

1. Photos of Grandparents

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[Photo by Averyhouse Photography]

I’ve always loved when couples set up photos of their parents and grandparents on their wedding days. Not only is it fun to look back and see how your family has changed, but it’s also a nice way to remember those who have passed. (Laughing at the old fashion choices is always a blast as well!)

2. “Something Old”

00068_081714[Photo by Cage + Acquarium]

The age old tradition of incorporating “something old” into the bride’s ensemble is still alive and well. The photo above notes the women in this bride’s family who all wore the same garter!

3. Vintage Voice Recordings

View More: http://brittamariephotography.pass.us/kim-john[Photo by Britta Marie Photography]

This year we also had the unique opportunity to be a part of a fun surprise between father & daughter. The bride incorporated a recording of herself as a child into her Father-Daughter Dance. When her dad heard the 4-year-old bride singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” there wasn’t a dry eye in the place!

How have you incorporated media from the past into your wedding plans?

One of our most requested songs for our bands during Chicago’s wedding season has been the catchy and controversial “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. It’s definitely a fun tune! For a new twist on the song, take a listen to this awesome jazz cover by Postmodern Juke Box featuring Kate Davis on Upright Bass.

 

Stitely Orchestra's talented keyboardist, Chris White is headed to the Birch Creek Music Performance Center to teach lucky students at the Jazz Vocal Camp from August 10th-15th.  Birch Creek Music Performance Center on Wisconsin's beautiful Door County peninsula is a young musician's dream. Founded in 1976, Birch Creek is a unique summer music school that provides talented students (typically age 14-19) advanced training as well as the opportunity to perform publicly alongside some of the top music professionals around.  The camp offers four 2-week resident summer sessions in Symphony, Percussion & Steelpan, and Jazz. The student-faculty ratio is 2-to-1, ensuring that students receive attentive hands-on mentoring from top music educators and performers.

Chris obtained a B.A. in English from the University of Toronto and then 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.

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?

wedding band song

I am generally not a fan of new bands and when I say new, I mean bands that were formed after the year 2000.  One Republic is an exception to that rule, as are the Black Keys, but that is a post for another day.

One Republic got it’s start in 2003 according to Wikipedia, but they didn’t hit my radar until my daughter hit her teen years.The band’s recent hit “Counting Stars” has become a highly requested song at the weddings where the Stitely Orchestra performs.  I heard their latest single from their 2013 album Native called Love Runs Out.  That title doesn’t scream “wedding song”, but there is just something about it that makes me think it will be requested by more than one couple.

Dancing to a Chicago wedding band

Stitely Orchestra, Chicago Groove Collective and 312 Chicago all get a kick out of learning fun new songs for our clients.  What do you think?  Will Love Runs Out be the next big wedding hit?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE5WscjdNZs