Thursday, March 15, 2012

Something Different for Event Entertainment: Rocking Octet by Divisi Strings

A new and innovative group hits the entertainment scene in Houston - NEW EIGHT-PIECE STRING ENSEMBLE, TATSU.  Not only is Divisi Strings the leader in string quartets in Houston, but now they are going national with Tatsu.  With such a high level collection of talented musicians, they will be a sure success.  This group would be a perfect fit for the client who wants to "WOW" their guests with a unique form of entertainment.

Classical performances get a boost with cutting edge rock-inspired group

Houston-based chamber music agency, Divisi Strings, introduces their newest eight-piece string rock ensemble known as Tatsu—and it’s poised to radically shake up the classical music genre. “It’s a unique concept that’s challenging the traditional way of playing these instruments from a group of fabulously trained classical musicians,” says co-founder Tony Sanville.

A collection of eight string players handling four violins, two violas and two cellos make up Tatsu, which is the Japanese word for dragon and represents the ensemble’s inception during the year of the same. Facing the audience, Tatsu players are seated in two groups of four, much like a mirrored quartet. Together, they produce several layers of music, creating percussive sounds normally only achieved with the assistance of drums and electric guitars, and enhanced by lively violin solos rocketing back and forth between the groups.

Tatsu’s renditions of rock tunes, like the group’s first undertaking “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N Roses, includes classic & folk to modern-day rock pieces from the likes of Metallica, Coldplay, The Animals, System of a Down, Mumford & Sons and more. “We are on the cutting edge of live entertainment,” says Divisi Strings founder Shelli Mathews. “We play music that is popular across generations in an entirely new context.”

Unlike anything they’ve ever done before, Divisi String’s new Tatsu ensemble—consisting of eight dedicated members—is quickly gaining momentum, booking national performances and even recording an EP for radio play. “We wanted to take what we’d been doing in smaller groups, in quartets, multiply it and go even bigger,” says Sanville. “For us, Tatsu is more performance-based as well as recording. We’re really looking forward to releasing our own CDs of music we’ve done.”

Based in Houston, Tatsu will perform in venues around the state and across the country, available for immediate booking. For more information or to reserve Tatsu for an event, call 713.229.8663, email or visit to hear audio samples and please click the Tatsu video teaser below.

About Divisi Strings
Founded in Houston, Texas in October 2006 by Shelli Mathews and Tony Sanville, Divisi Strings first began as a single string quartet focused on weddings and bridal events. They soon expanded to include new concepts, Amp’d and Collide, which perform pop hits and upbeat tunes including a string quartet and a DJ for the latter. Now, Divisi Strings represents an agency of diverse talent that performs around the globe for traditional to contemporary events and everything in between.

High-resolution images of Divisi Strings are available to the media by request. Please email for images, interviews and additional information

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Planning My Wedding: From the Perspective of an Event Planner

As an event planner, it was extra special for me to plan my wedding.  I make it my career to plan memorable events and weddings for my clients and now it was my turn.  If you can imagine, I had a zillion ideas of what to do for our wedding; destination wedding in Colorado on top of a mountain, destination wedding in a tropical location over looking the ocean, a New Year's Eve bash, the options were endless for me as I knew all the possibilities.  The ideas were endless, more than the average bride as I have seen and done it all. It was quite the task for my fiance (now husband) to make me pin down just one location and wedding concept.

After experiencing a few bumps along the planning process, we opted to host an intimate affair at the Omni Woodway Hotel for a 100 of our closest friends and immediate family.  While a destination wedding in Colorado was our favorite option, we knew that not everyone would be able to go.  We felt it was more important to share the day with those who meant the most to us vs. the location we were in.  For me, I spent little time choosing vendors as I had the inside scoop.  This cut my planning time greatly in half. 

Now on to the fun part, planning and designing the look of the event.  This is truly one of my most favorite parts of planning. This is where you can see a couple's true personality shine through. We choose a classic vintage theme with touches of modern details with a black and white color scheme to fit the evening affair. When choosing the details and colors, I advise every couple to imagine their wedding pictures 20 years from their wedding date.  Do they want the classic, timeless look or will their choices make their wedding/event look dated by trends and fads?

Like most Groom's my my hubby didn't quite share my excitement in the paper thickness for the invitations, or how the napkins would be folded or what type of guest book we would have.  He was happy knowing that we would serve good food, have an open bar with a quality selection for our guest and have fun.

I do want to share that while the planning process was easier for me than possibly the average bride due to my experience and insight, I too had a few hiccups and bumps in the planning process.  It wasn't anything I could have avoided or anticipated. I won't lie to say it wasn't frustrating or upsetting.  I did experience stress caused by the hiccups. But, I knew it wasn't caused because the vendors involved were bad, unprofessional or lacked ability, it was simply a misfortune random occurrence.  The difference for me is how I handled it.  I kept a mindful perspective that the importance of the day was for us to be married and celebrate with our friends. 

One of the continuous questions I was asked by most vendors was; "Who would be my Day-Of Planner to manage the wedding day?".  Imagine, me an event planner, hiring an event planner?! This question baffled me greatly. How could anyone do it better than I? This was a great misconception of mine.  While I enjoyed my wedding day, it was truly very hard to shut off the "planner" in me and enjoy the day as "bride".  Looking back, I know I should have had one of my Associate Planners or professional colleagues oversee my wedding as the Day-Of Coordinator.  I caught myself numerous times asking to know the time to know if we were on schedule or going through the mental checklist of what needed to be done still or over-seeing the set-up when I could have spent the time relaxing and socializing with friends and family.

My make-up artist (Pink Palette) snapped a picture of me in my wedding dress while they were putting finishing touches on my hair and I'm scanning over the timeline just before going down stairs to shoot the "first look" pictures.  This is the complete opposite of how I should have been enjoying the last few moments before starting the whirlwind of festivities.

I want to leave you with a little wisdom I learned as a bride myself:

1. Stop and smell the roses as you're planning.  It's a once in a lifetime experience that you will want to remember with happy memories.  Going into your wedding day with this mental state of mind will increase your enjoyment that much more.

2. Know that if you have a few bumps through the planning process that it's not going to make or break your day.  The most important thing is that you're marrying the man of your dreams and have a lifetime of memorable moments to later share with your grandchildren.

3. Hire a Day-of Planner!!!  This is one of the most important investments you will make.  It is equally important to the photographer you choose.  Without a Day-of Planner, your wedding day has too many moving parts for you to leave them to chance that they will go just right.  The last thing you will want to do is think about it on your wedding day. It will absolutely detract from your enjoyment.  As a planner myself, I know first hand.