Black Violin Performs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

September 29, 2014
Black Violin Philadelphia Corporate Events Innovative Music Evantine Design

Black Violin/Colin Brennan Photography

One of our favorite things about producing events is working with incredibly talented artists, musicians and performers from every discipline. And, in many cases, whole new genres of entertainment! For instance, for a corporate event taking place tonight at the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, we booked (on Friday!) one of the most innovative musical acts available on the urban scene: BLACK VIOLIN.

Kev Marcus and Wil B are Black Violin. They are two classically trained musicians who perform their own original style of music: a groovy blend of jazz, hip-hop, funk, and classical. Suckers for any artists who think out of the box, we were blown away with how this savvy duo came to be. So, here it is, in a nutshell. (Did we mention how excited we are to hear them live tonight?)

Photo courtesy of Black Violin

Photo courtesy of Black Violin

Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester met at the Dillard High School of Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. After graduating from college, they joined up as hip-hop studio rats in South Florida, working with several different acts before returning to their roots to create their own groundbreaking fusion of sound. Their innovative vibe has seen them play for everyone from the troops in Iraq to President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC. They have also headlined 40 shows in two stints at the New Victory Theater on Broadway, including 16 sold out shows over two weeks last November. Along the way, Black Violin has wowed audiences at the legendary Harlem Apollo Theatre, accompanied Alicia Keys’ performance of “Karma” at the 2004 Billboard Awards, and appeared with Gym Class Heroes and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump playing the hit song, “Stereo Hearts,” for VH1’s Unplugged. Recently, they appeared on The Queen Latifah Show and blew the entire audience away!

Since starting Black Violin a decade ago—named after an album by preeminent African-American swing era jazz violinist Stuff Smith—Wil B and Kev have performed an average of 200 shows a year in 49 states and 36 countries as far away as Dubai, Prague and South Africa, while appearing at official NFL celebrations for three Super Bowls and last year’s U.S. Open in Forest Hills with Jordin Sparks. The pair has played with the likes of Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda’s Fort Minor, while opening for Fat Joe, Akon and the Wu-Tang Clan. Individually and together, Black Violin has collaborated with the likes of P. Diddy, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin and The Eagles. Kev supplied strings for a track on Lupe Fiasco’s Grammy-nominated Food & Liquor 2 album, and appeared on the Meek Mill cut “Maybach Curtains” with John Legend, Rick Ross and Nas. Wil and Kev also scored an episode of CSI: New York, adapting the finale of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly for an on-screen murder.

Like we said earlier, we can’t wait to hear these dudes play tonight! It’s sure to rock out the museum in a whole new, cool way. In the meantime, check out their rendition of Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me”…

IN YOUR WORDS: A Musical Note of Thanks

July 3, 2014

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Welcome to our new Thursday “Thank you” blog series where we intend to start sharing some of the truly unbelievable thank you notes and testimonials we are lucky enough to receive from our clients.

As you can imagine, “Thank You” can be an incredibly powerful pair of words and we never tire of hearing them. After spending months or years producing an event there is nothing better than hearing feedback from our client on how they experienced the event. We want to know if we nailed it! Did we achieve the intended goal? Were they blown away by all the details? What did they hear the most from their guests? Did we create magic, if only for one day? We live on this stuff, seriously!

So, here we are, ready to share our first amazing thank you note from one of our recent Bat Mitzvah clients who hosted their daughter’s special event at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia earlier this summer.

Dear Evantine Design Team:

Thank you so much for all of your magnificent recommendations, designs, planning, organizing and execution of Rachel’s Bat Mitzvah! It was truly beyond what I could have ever imagined. There was not a detail left undone. It was just PERFECT!

Brian is truly a creative genius. The graphic arts designs were unbelievable! The flowers, tables, linens, gift boxes and of course custom dance floor were incredible!

I truly feel honored to have had the privilege of working with all of you and seeing what artistic talent truly is.Thank you for making Rachel’s day the most special and a memory we will never forget.

Bill, Bonnie and Rachel Welch

{Photo courtesy of  MK Photo, “Documenting Life”}

PRESS: Brian Kappra Names Two of His Favorite Local Venues in Bride’s Magazine

January 8, 2014

Best Wedding  Venues on the East Coast Brian Kappra Evantine

Not only is Evantine’s owner and Creative Director, Brian Kappra, a Philadelphia area native, but he’s been planning events across the Northeast for over 30 years! As a result, it’s no wonder Brian is called upon by magazine editors for his insight into some of the best places to get married.  Together with other wedding experts across the nation, Brian is featured in the recent issue of BRIDES Magazine talking about the Best Wedding Venues in America.

Looking specifically at the Greater Philadelphia region, Brian loves the classic elegance of outdoor tented weddings  at Andalusia and the sexy, urban loft vibe found at Front and Palmer. Why are they high on the list? Well, there are many reasons, from the scenic views and romantic settings, to the blank slate “make it your own” qualities that both offer our brides and grooms. Take a look at just some of the fabulous weddings Brian has designed at these wedding venues:  Vibrantly Hip Outdoor Wedding at Andalusia; Lilly Pulitzer-inspired Wedding at Andalusia; and a Candlelit Wedding at Front and Palmer.

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COMMUNITY: Marian Anderson Award to Honor Motown King Berry Gordy

November 19, 2013


Motown founder Berry Gordy, Boys II Men, Chris Tucker, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Brandon Victor Dixon and Smokey Robinson! Just another Tuesday at Evantine Design, Inc. as the crew heads to The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts to install fabulous décor for tonight’s Marian Anderson Awards Gala honoring the incredible music industry icon, Berry Gordy. As it always does, the gala brings out the creme de la creme of Philadelphia society with just over 600 guests attending to honor and celebrate the amazing career of Berry Gordy. After all these years, we still manage to get starstruck when confronted with such amazing talent.

Hosting the 2013 Award Gala will be critically-acclaimed actor and comedian Chris Tucker, seen most recently in the Academy Award-nominated film “Silver Linings Playbook,” set in Philadelphia. To honor the musical legacy of Motown founder Berry Gordy, the performance line-up will feature stars of American pop music. The program will include two multiple Grammy-winning groups: Philadelphia’s own Boyz II Men plus Kool and the Gang. Joining them will be Philadelphia up-and-comer, Cody Wise, who starred in the “Lion King” on Broadway. Motown superstar Smokey Robinson will present a tribute, along with “Philly Sound” songwriting and producing pioneers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, followed by a special performance by Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon, who stars as Gordy himself in “Motown The Musical.” Finally, to mark the 15th anniversary of the Marian Anderson Award, Former Governor Ed Rendell will be honored as its founder and for his impact on the arts in Philadelphia.

In announcing Gordy as the Marian Anderson Award’s 2013 recipient, Award Chair Pamela Browner White said that,

“This year we will be honoring an individual who created a new genre of American music that is beloved around the world, by young and old, black and white. Just as Marian Anderson did for classical music, Berry Gordy created an extraordinary common ground for all music lovers. Through his work with so many great artists, our society was brought closer together and we continue to sing the classic songs of the genre he created.”

The Marian Anderson Award, sponsored by Wells Fargo, honors artists whose leadership on behalf of a humanitarian cause(s) or issue(s) benefits society. Previous recipients include James Earl Jones (2012), Mia Farrow (2011), Bill Cosby (2010), Maya Angelou and Norman Lear (2008), Richard Gere (2007), Sidney Poitier (2006), Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis (2005), Oprah Winfrey (2003), Danny Glover (2002), Quincy Jones (2001), Elizabeth Taylor (2000), Gregory Peck (1999), and Harry Belafonte (1998). No award was given in 2004 or 2009. Created in 1998, the Award is named for the great Philadelphian and American singer Marian
Anderson, and is produced and administered under the direction of J. Patrick Moran. Since its inception, the Award program has provided more than $500,000 in free public programs, residencies, commissions, and grants to young artists.

Marian Anderson, the most celebrated contralto of the 20th century, was born in Philadelphia on February 27, 1897, to an African-American family of modest means. Recognized for her extraordinary musical talent, as well as her generosity and commitment to others, Ms. Anderson was a master of repertoire across operatic, recital, and American traditional genres. Throughout her musical career, she played an incalculably vital role in the acceptance of African-American musicians in classical musical and in other previously segregated performing arts genre. In 1957, Ms. Anderson was appointed by the U.S. Department of State to serve as a Special
Envoy to the Far East, and the following year President Dwight D. Eisenhower named her to the post of delegate to the General Assembly of the United Nations. She sang at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961; in 1963 President Lyndon B. Johnson bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom upon her. On her 75th birthday, in 1974, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution ordering a special gold medal minted in her honor. On April 8, 1993, Marian Anderson died at the age of 96 in Portland, Oregon. Her legacy continues to shine.

PRESS: Brian Kappra Shares His Thoughts on Outdoor Weddings in Philadelphia Style Magazine

September 4, 2013

Aisle Style Brian Kappra Philadephia Style Magazine Evantine Design

In this month’s Aisle Style in Philadelphia Style Magazine, Brian Kappra shares his thoughts on why historic Philadelphia venues for weddings are at the forefront of today’s sophisticated wedding market. “Riverfront ceremonies, brick patio cocktail hours, and intimate interiors fulfill the desires of discerning couples looking for the utmost in romantic country settings.”

In the article, Brian also suggests when selecting an old property or country building for your wedding that it’s “best to choose decor that complements the space rather than fights it.” Chances are, the whole reason the vintage venue has been chosen is because of the wonderful architecture, country quirks and whimsical details one cannot find in a hotel ballroom or country club setting.

Take a look at the full article above for additional tips from Brian…

philly style cover

WE LOVE: A Garden-inspired Place Card Table for Ball on The Square

June 23, 2013

Place card Table Decor Evantine Design Casey_Rodger1237

We most certainly love getting these notes from clients after we have designed a party for them. Their note of excitement, amazement and gratitude makes our job all the more worthwhile.

“Brian – Many, many thanks for an outstanding job!! The decor last night was truly amazing! Everyone was raving about how beautiful the tents looked. The place card table was so creatively done and gorgeous!!! -Mary Parenti, Co-chair for the Ball on The Square”

These images were taken at Thursday’s prestigious Ball on The Square gala, an event we have designed for 27 out of its 30 years of galas. For this year’s celebration we went back to the beginning with an ode to formal gardens, classic architecture and elegant outdoor events. The Ball on The Square is always held in the heart of Rittenhouse Square on the 3rd Thursday of June.  This year’s gala, hosted by Mary Parenti and Rich Castor & Lynn and Howard  Shecter, was particularly special as it was a celebration of both the 30th annual ball but also the 100th anniversary of Paul Cret’s elegant design of the park.

If the name is unfamiliar, let us introduce you to Paul Philippe Cret, the French-American architect and industrial designer who for more than 30 years headed up  the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. As a prolific and influential architect, Cret co-designed (with Jacques Greber) the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as well as the Rodin Museum. He also built the Delaware River Bridge, now known as the Ben Franklin Bridge, as well as the Barnes Foundation Gallery, the Memorial Arch at Valley Forge, and Rittenhouse Square. Further afield Cret’s designs include the Pan American Union building and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and the campuses of Brown University and the University of Texas at Austin.

A true visionary who inspires us every single day, if only in the creation of a place card table for a party celebrating his work.


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REAL STORIES: A Candlelit Wedding in An Urban Philadelphia Loft

June 6, 2013

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Some days we have patience, many others we do not. Today was one of the latter. We simply could not wait to share these stunning images from Cliff Mautner and Susan Stripling’s recent wedding as captured by their friend and professional photographer, Daniel Kudish.

As two of the best photographers in the event industry themselves, we knew Cliff and Susan would have an army of incredible photographers on hand to shoot their Spring wedding. And they did. Believe it or not, Daniel Kudish was actually the second shooter for the event, working alongside the lead photographer Mary Beth Tyson. {You can view Mary’s gorgeous images of the wedding here.}

Both of these tremendously talented wedding photographers brought their own artistic perspective to the day in a manner that every bride and groom should experience. Frankly, just having Mary Beth Tyson alone or Daniel Kudish as the lead would be a dream come true. But to have their collective views capture the wedding day in such emotional detail is something to cherish. As the event designers for the wedding, we were truly amazed by how Daniel captured the warmth and intimacy of the wedding ceremony, the rich, golden light of the candles on the dinner tables, and, of course, the ethereal cloud of Susan’s bridal veil. Simply magical.

{Photos by Daniel Kudish of Davina Plus David, Montreal, Canada}

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{CREDITS AND EVENT PARTNERS: Lead Photographer: Mary Beth Tyson Photography; Second Photographer and Artist who captured these stunning images DavinaplusDanielVenue: Front & PalmerEvent Designer: Evantine DesignCatering: Feast Your EyesLighting and Sound: Eventions ProductionsBride’s Dress: Monique LhuillierCalligraphy: Everly CalligraphyCinematographer: Ray Roman FilmsInvitations & Stationery: Two Paper DollsBand: Carnivale}


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