I am ashamed to admit that as a person who has lived in the Chicago area for most of my life, I hadn’t visited the Merchandise Mart in Chicago until November 13, 2014.  That day, however, Felix and Fingers showed up to the Merchandise Mart for the Luxehome CHILL event, looking to make a splash.

Chicago’s Marvelous Merchandise Mart

If you’re like me, the word “mart” doesn’t always inspire a sense of wonder.  Rickety shopping carts and grocery stores came to mind.  The Merchandise Mart is nothing of the sort.  Located on the beautiful Chicago River, the view on the inside is almost as breathtaking as the view on the outside.  Luxehome is located on the first floor with more than 30 boutiques of 115,000 square feet of showroom space.  Known for their chic kitchen and bath designs, they boast a large variety of upscale products to fit a wide array of design styles.  What better way to show off beautiful kitchen design than by throwing one of Chicago’s most exciting food and wine festivals of the year?

Merchandise Mart Musicians

Musicians of the Luxehome CHILL Event

Just CHILLin’

The CHILL event has been part of Chicago’s food and wine scene for close to a decade, and it was immediately evident why people keep returning (in fact, it was completely sold out this year!)  First of all, all of the proceeds go to one of three charities: the Respiratory Health Association, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Lynn Sage Foundation.  Since CHILL’s inception, upwards of $250,000 has been raised for their benefit!  More than 40 restaurants and 60 wineries put their skill on display among the showrooms this year, and as guests visited each, I can only imagine sensory overload ensued.  Robert and I were planted near the front providing entertainment as the guests collected their wine glasses, and even from there we saw a human sculpture, a human “tree lady” on stilts, and thousands of guests eager to explore what the Merchandise Mart and Luxehome had to offer.  We may have handled the entertainment at the front, but there was no way our sound could stretch the entire first floor!  There were multiple pianists throughout the building to make sure music followed the guests everywhere they went.  I like to think Robert and I were the luckiest though… we got to play on the famous Baldwin Blue pianos!!

The Baldwin Blues at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago

We got to play on the famous Blue Baldwin Pianos thanks to Crystal Lake’s Piano Trends!

Piano Trends of Crystal Lake

In 1990, Tim and Bobbi Paul founded Piano Trends in Crystal Lake, and since then their pianos have traveled all over to be played by some of the greatest musicians of our time!  They were gracious enough to lend their pianos to the CHILL event at the Merchandise Mart yet again, and Robert and I got to play on their gorgeous Baldwin Blue pianos!  As if guests didn’t have enough to marvel at, I’m sure they had the same reaction I did the first time I saw them… “wow!” These pianos have also attracted a celebrity following!  Click here to see just some of the world-renowned musicians who’ve played some of Piano Trends’ famous pianos.  I’m thrilled Felix and Fingers is part of that list! 🙂

A Night to Remember… for Years to Come!

Felix and Fingers has been a part of CHILL for years and I was absolutely tickled to be part of it this year.  It was such a cool event to be a part of, if I don’t end up playing for it next year I’ll certainly be returning as a guest.

For more information on the Merchandise Mart, visit www.mmart.com.  To learn about Luxehome and the products they have to offer, visit www.luxehome.com.  For more information about Piano Trends of Crystal Lake, IL, visit www.pianotrendsmusic.com.  To book Felix and Fingers for your next event, contact us here.

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