Since 1998, Maggie Speaks has provided high quality, experienced, and customizable musical entertainment to private and public events from Sydney to Venice to our hometown of Chicago. Having shared the stage with acts like Earth Wind and Fire, The Doobie Brothers, .38 Special, rapper Ton Loc, Loverboy’s Mike Reno, and Starship’s Mickey Thomas, among many others, Maggie Speaks is considered one of the hottest live bands in the Midwest.
They have also performed for some of the largest corporations in the world including: Pepsi, IBM, Estee Lauder, Nike, and Marriott. Covering music from the ‘60s through today, Maggie Speaks knows no musical limits. Rock, Pop, Top 40, Dance, Funk, Country, Hip Hop, Jazz, Motown, R&B, and more, Maggie Speaks musical diversity is second to none. The members of Maggie Speaks include founder and vocalist David Calzaretta, vocalist Nicole Garza, drummer Blake Cooper, bassist Shawn Sommer and guitarist Samir Varma.
Then came the critically acclaimed and customizable sister bands. Maggie Speaks has consistently performed between 150-200 shows annually over the past 20-plus years. Their demand became so high that in 2006 that they created a second band, Spoken Four, consisting of five additional musicians with matching skill sets to provide clients with another option from the brand and style they trusted and desired in the event that Maggie Speaks was unavailable.
In the first year, Spoken Four performed 140 shows, leading to the creation of the third band, Final Say, in 2007. Final Say also began performing around 140 shows a year in the wedding, corporate, gala, fundraiser, night club, country club, festival, and private event market. They continued to build trust and a reputation for highly professional performances with packed dance floors and boundless energy.
In 2013 the fourth band was created, Shout Out, and replicated for a fifth time in 2015 with the creation of Enough Said. Now, collectively, the five bands perform approximately 500 shows annually in both the Chicago and global event space for a variety of audiences and events.
Talk of The Town Big Band. In 2015, Maggie Speaks took the knowledge that they learned from reading audiences, crafting medleys, producing events, and executing flawless performances to create Talk of the Town Big Band. Our big band can scale anywhere from eight to fifteen pieces, depending on our event. The configuration of the big band is for clients who want a bigger footprint and visual impact with multiple singers or front people, live horns, and strings. Talk of the Town is different from other big bands in that their front people are not tied behind music stands or iPads reading lyrics, they are putting on a show and interacting with the audience, creating a rapport with the audience that is second to none.
Dave Calzaretta, founder of Maggie Speaks and lead vocalist graduated from Indiana University Kelley School of Business with a degree in Accounting in 1996. After passing the CPA Exam in 1997 in Minnesota on his first attempt he moved back to his hometown of Chicago, ready to start his new career.
Answering an ad, tossing a coin. As it turned out, numbers were not enough to satisfy Dave. He became restless to return to his first love, music, mostly as a side gig to keep things interesting. He answered an ad in the Chicago Reader posted by two brothers, one a drummer and one a singing guitarist and keyboard player, looking for a singing bass player to potentially start a band. It clicked. When the time came to send their demo around, a contact number had to go on the bottom of their CD. With the loss of a coin flip, Dave became the “booking guy”. He put his business skills to work and got the band in the right venues and marketed effectively to draw crowds.
A college town favorite. As more people saw the band, they began playing in college towns. College kids would come home for the summer and see the band at festivals on their breaks. Then, when the college kids would eventually get married, they began hiring Maggie Speaks as the band that provided the soundtrack to their college years. Many couples met at Maggie Speaks shows throughout the years.
“The band is able to perform almost any genre of music so no matter what situation or audience they are in front of, they always have a deep well of music, and decades and genres to draw from.”
More of a band that plays weddings than a “wedding band”, Maggie Speaks grew in the wedding market through wedding attendees who experienced the band live coupled with word of mouth. Maggie Speaks packed dance floors and pushed the envelope with modern music at a time when most wedding bands were thoroughly rooted in the disco ‘70s and Motown music.
Maggie Speaks began to craft a strategy with how to be relevant to both younger and older generations. They took the best elements of what a DJ could offer by providing a repertoire with no musical boundaries and a constant, non-stop approach of going song to song with no dead air.
Maggie Speaks expertly crafted medleys and mashups that seamlessly crossed generational boundaries and genres which engaged all demographics on the dance floor at once. For example, the cover band would begin a medley with a ‘70s tune which will get the older generation on the dance floor. After a verse and a chorus, the band will seamlessly transition into a modern tune which keeps the older generation on the dance floor and also engage the younger generation. From there, the band will not stop playing, keeping the dance floor populated the entire evening.
The band began performing at corporate events in 2000 after a Fortune 500 executive saw them perform at a night club in Chicago after a Cubs game. Seeing the crowd and the way the crowd responded, he decided that this was the energy that he wanted at his company’s next event. After a hugely successful show, the company began traveling the band all over the US for their events in other cities. Eventually this led to international travel. To date, Maggie Speaks has performed in thirteen different countries and thirty-three different states.
Corporations trust Maggie Speaks for their biggest events and often commission the band to build specialty theme shows including: disco, Latin, country, yacht rock, unplugged, tribute, decade nights, and more! This has allowed the band to gain range and the ability to perform almost any genre of music. No matter what situation or audience you dream up for our bands, they always have a deep well of music, decades, and genres to draw from.
“Celebrity Sit-Ins provide clients and the audience with the star power they seek at their events at an affordable price without the hassles of traveling celebrity talent.”
An evolution to house band for the rock stars. In 2007, the band added a female singer to the mix to broaden their repertoire. In the 2014, the band added a hip-hop artist to continue to capture the evolution of music. In 2017, looking for yet another way to innovate the live music experience, the band began working with current and former lead singers of world-famous bands through Celebrity Sit-Ins.
Maggie Speaks serves as a house band for the stars as they rock through their four to six biggest hits. It provides our clients and their audience with the star power they seek at their events at an affordable price without the hassles of traveling celebrity talent. It is high impact in that the audience hears the hits and only the hits with no filler material. All without sacrificing the variety that Maggie Speaks brings to the performances!
Never getting boxed into a corner is the key to Maggie Speaks’ success. Our clients are provided with both great entertainment and the event producer mentality that is crucial to successful events. As a creative force in the industry, our clients are able to customize and design their events around Maggie Speaks. No longer is it taking a square peg and sticking it in a round hole, Dave Calzaretta and the band are able to gain a quick understanding of your desired theme, vision, wants, and needs in order to develop a custom event that leaves their guests in awe of what they are witnessing.
Part of what makes Maggie Speaks successful is the personality and reputation of Dave Calzaretta, band founder. He has sat on the board of directors for international organizations such as the International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers and sat on the Chicago board of directors for the International Live Events Association.
He founded his event production and talent buying company Magnificent Events in 2000 and has been producing shows, bands, and other entertainment events since. He has booked celebrity talent such as Lionel Richie, the Barenaked Ladies, KC and the Sunshine Band, the Temptations, the Spinners, 38 Special, Night Ranger, Asia, Phil Vassar, Colby Caillat, Bret Michaels, Charlie Daniels Band, Kansas, and more.
Calzaretta is seen as an innovator and authority throughout the events industry, speaking nationally at conferences like Biz Bash, the International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers, the Association of Event Professionals, Event Solutions, and the Special Event and International Live Events Association.
Behind the scenes Blake Cooper, drummer of the band since 2000. Blake continues to evolve the band’s on-stage performance, delivery, and presence through his expert knowledge of technology. By keeping up with the latest industry trends and incorporating technology into live performances, his expertise allows Maggie Speaks to take national celebrity touring innovations and apply them to corporate and private events.