So we want a live band, and we need karaoke (as much as anyone needs karaoke). In Chicago, apparently this is a tall order. You’d think brides and grooms would be clamoring for bands that will permit crazy uncles and weird second cousins to be vocally unleashed on 70s music, but this is not the case. Not only are the choices slim, but many of them are quite expensive, as well.
Have I mentioned how much I adore Melissa, our wedding coordinator? She took a slightly insane request and came back with two excellent options, complete with budget breakdowns, discounts, and possible upgrades within just a few days. I had unsuccessfully searched for a band for two weeks. Busy/impatient brides: GET A WEDDING COORDINATOR. But I digress.
We first met with a representative from Standing Room Only, and we were impressed. He was direct, amiable, and didn’t give us the hard sell, which I personally appreciated. The set list was diverse, and the price was surprisingly reasonable given the 9-piece ensemble. However, when the discussion turned to karaoke, the rep seemed a little…something. Not quite apprehensive, not skeptical, but something in that ballpark. He suggested that we reserve the karaoke for the last half hour of the reception because he didn’t think people would dance while guests were singing. We left the meeting feeling weird—the band was great on paper, and had we been searching for a regular live band, Standing Room Only probably would have been our choice. However, it just didn’t seem to perfectly suit our karaoke vision.
The next week, we took a meeting with Jeff Stitely from Stitely Orchestra. Not only was he polite, professional, and organized, but he also had worked with Melissa before and came highly recommended to us. More importantly, he knew exactly what we were looking for and seemed to determined to give it to us. He offered us a package with 7-piece ensemble and a DJ; the band would do one set, take a fifteen minute break during which the DJ would play Indian music, come back for a second set during which guests could do karaoke if they choose, take another fifteen minute break filled with Indian music, return for a third set of either live music or karaoke, depending on the demand, and finish off the night with a half hour of DJ music filled with all the 90s dance music Sol could ever hope for.
Both bands are equally talented, but Stitely Orchestra was the clear choice for us. Within a week, we had signed a contract, and Jeff Stitely sent us brownies as a thank you. Brownies and karaoke? Am I dreaming?
*This obviously stands for Amanda and Solomon’s Next Top Karaoke Band.