Feeding the Mind: An Evening of Music with Seth Boustead at A.D. 1917

So many of our OneWorldPortfolio posts chronicle the hustle and bustle of our daily output at Entertaining Company.  We’re always up to something.  Dashing from designing luxurious bridal brunches, to rooftop garden parties, or fireside family gatherings.  In true EC fashion, all of this to and fro is punctuated by dreaming up the occasional Bánh xéo food station, or the like, for our next globally-inspired gathering. Why not!? It’s always a mile-a-minute for us at EC, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Although, on occasion, it is critical that we take a moment and simply…stop. We pause; we take stock-not of the inventory in the larder, but of ourselves. WE FEED OUR MINDS.

And so the backdrop for our latest adventure is set. 

One snowy winter evening, at our exclusive EC social meeting space: A.D . 1917, an intimate crowd of friends, family, clients, and former strangers gathered for an evening of music and discussion.   Our guide for this journey was the revered Seth Boustead, of the WFMT radio show Relevant Tones and founder of Access Contemporary Music. Co-hosts: Harry Epstein, (our friend, a classical pianist,) and his wife, Marilyn Perlman, (an EC catering client and good friend,) brought even more harmony to this special evening of the arts.

Surrounded by the glow of A.D. 1917’s colorful and cozy interiors (the vision of OBJECT’s Steve Quinlan…more on that shortly…) guests nibbled on charcuterie, crispy polenta, and grilled vegetable napoleon as Seth wove a compelling history of the state of classical music today and of his mission to “breathe life back into a medium that has been, to be honest, dominated by dead white men for centuries”.

the cozy surroundings at A.D. 1917

This message of revitalization quickly became an overarching theme for the evening that could be found everywhere. Access Contemporary Music, as Seth explained, was founded to “update people’s image of what classical music is”. He explained the renewed interest. “For example, classical music performance groups operating in Chicago have increased from only a few a decade ago to around 20 now, adding an entrepreneurial spirit to what had been a largely academic affair”.

As Seth spoke of this modern resurrection of the classical music community – the repurposing, if you will, of a centuries-old tradition with a refreshed dedication — the parallels of this story rang especially true in our surroundings.  A.D 1917, after all, was originally a German grocery storefront. “Back in the late 19th century, neighborhoods were incredibly insular and residents rarely had reason to venture outside of their 2-3 block radius.  Every block had a corner bar and then, a few doors down, there was a grocery store, “ explained Steve Quinlan, the visionary behind A.D. 1917’s interiors. “Today, so many of our clients are taking these 100+ year-old buildings and repurposing them.  Marrying their modern needs and the original intention and integrity of the space.  It’s both an opportunity to be green, and to work outside of the box in a creative sense as we acknowledge three centuries in one space. ”

As the evening drew to a close, we reflected on the idea that expanded interest in classical music is a positive sign for the resurrection of this art form. Moreover, if the what’s old is new trend, so embraced by millennials especially, (fashion, the home arts, etc.,) continues then perhaps that indie rock vinyl record playing at your next cocktail party will soon give way to indie classical?  We would like to see that.

We left our evening with Seth Boustead refreshed and revitalized, our heads swimming with new ideas.  The marriage of old world enchantment and modern sophistication has always been a core value at EC, and our tour of the state of modern classical music only echoed our zeal for the topic.

Seth Boustead’s “Relevant Tones”  program on WFMT 97.7 FM can be heard on Saturdays at 5:00 PM.  As for A.D. 1917, we look forward to many more evenings of culture and inspiration, surrounded by good friends and good food.  Interested in hosting your own intimate gathering at A.D. 1917?  We would love to have you over to learn more.  (Insider tip: call Steve at 312-401-9410 or email him at steve@objectsstevequinlan.com.)