Meet BKO

BKO is comprised of some of the top musicians in Chicago who live their lives making music. We are a collection of talent, musicianship and personality that is unparalleled. We invite you to learn more about the band members of BKO.

becca-kaufmanBecca Kaufman | Band Leader | Vocals

Becca feels privileged to have a life and career in music.

Leading her own Becca Kaufman Orchestra for the past eight years, Becca brings style and verve to every celebration. Becca’s passion and love for all genres of music—Top 40, R&B, 80s, Motown, Jazz Standards—shine through every BKO performance. From elegant weddings to galas to intimate backyard occasions, Becca and BKO have performed throughout the Chicago area, as well as in other states. Showcasing a wealth of Chicago event experience, prior to BKO, Becca performed with numerous Chicago society bands, including The Ken Arlen Orchestra, The Don Cagen Orchestra, Orchestra 33 and The Ralph Wilder Orchestra, and led The Wilder 2 Orchestra for five years.

A native New Yorker, Becca moved to Chicago to attend Northwestern University’s renowned theatre program. Beginning her career as one of the most sought-after jingle writers/session vocalists in Chicago, Becca quickly expanded her talents to producing musical showcases and albums, providing commercial voice overs, and becoming a wedding expert featured on TV and radio—including her own radio show “I Do, I Do” on 105.9fm, WCKG. Becca has appeared on stage with performers such as Lily Tomlin, Brooke Shields, Phoebe Snow, Tony Roberts, and Ellen Burstyn. Becca was cast in the role of a comedic cabaret singer for Scrooge & Marley, a feature film scheduled for released 2012. Recently, she performed in front of 18,000 people for Millennium Park’s Broadway in Chicago concert as one of the wives in First Wives Club. And, should you wonder where her hometown loyalties reside—she has sung the National Anthem for both the world-champion Chicago Bulls and her forever-losing New York Knicks. Becca is ecstatic to be working with such a dynamic and versatile group of musicians for such great clientele.

elEL | Vocals

EL is BKO’s vocal chameleon! A 6-octave-range singer/songwriter/producer, EL can croon like Michael Buble or rap like Snoop Dogg. El has caught the ear and attention of some of the music industry’s most accomplished names. He has had the opportunity to work with several Grammy nominated artists including the Grammy award winning Patti LaBelle. His responsibilities include writing, per-forming, and recording lead and background vocals for these artist. He is often asked to serve as the vocal coach and/or producer for these sessions. EL is a versatile and multi-talented artist with a growing list of accomplishments–including number-one dance tunes, rave reviews in national and international publications, critically acclaimed collaborations with major industry producers, and writing credits on major industry releases in English and Spanish. EL’s spot-on combination of technique and emotion provide an unrivaled vocal experience on the BKO stage.

angieAngie Pope | Vocals

Angie Pope sings it and brings it to the BKO stage! An amazingly talented and powerful vocalist, Angie can sing Etta James to Whitney Houston to Kesha. Angie has been performing professionally across the country since the mid-1990s. Her versatility makes her a consummate entertainer–from rock, to pop, to R&B, and jazz—Angie sings it all! She has an eclectic background of stage experience, including musical theatre (Bailiwick Repertory, Drury Lane Water Tower), children’s theatre (TheatreBAM Chicago), and improv comedy (Second City). Angie is the founder and artistic director of “Miss Angie’s Music”, which offers early childhood music classes at various locations throughout Chicago’s south suburbs. In her rare spare time, Angie eagerly works on a variety of music performance and recording projects in the Chicago area. Angie’s vast musical background and unique theatre experience create a magical combination that makes Angie a focal point on the BKO stage.

darrylDarryl Boggs | Guitar | Vocals

Guitarist/Vocalist Darryl Boggs is BKO’s solid gold! A professional musician for over 40 years, Darryl has traveled and performed in clubs and arenas around the country since 1972. Along with his work in commercials and theatre touring companies, Darryl has played or opened for Tony Bennett, Tyrone Davis, The Imaginations, Bunky Green, Sunnyland Slim, Buddy Charles, Ray Charles, Harry Caray, Frank D’Rone, The Treniers and others. Darryl is also passionate about music education and has taught for over 30 years, along with being a respected children’s recording artist. Darryl can sing any Green–Al to Cee Lo–and is most certainly BKO’s secret weapon. You must see him in action to understand why.

mike-pintoMike Pinto | Guitar | Vocals

Mike Pinto is BKO’s rock man, hitting the gritty styles of John Mayer and the Rolling Stones. He is in demand as a guitarist, composer, and arranger in Chicago and internationally. Mike performs and records regularly with a variety of groups, including the Unknown New, which also features fellow BKO members Paul Mutzabaugh and Rich Stitzel. He has performed at major festivals and conferences in Italy, France, Germany, England, Malta, and Croatia, and he has performed with such artists and groups as Luciana Souza, Jen Hartswick, Joel Cummins and Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), Peter Himmelman, Regis Philbin, and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. He is on the jazz faculty at Elmhurst College, where he directs several ensembles and teaches guitar, improvisation, and arranging. In addition to his fabulous guitar and vocal presence on the BKO stage, Mike’s talents as an arranger have helped to craft BKO’s unique and dynamic stage sound.

chrisChris Clemente | Bass | Vocals

Not just a consummate bassist, Chris can sing the Beatles to Prince, and is sought after as a Chicago area music producer, composer, and musician. His recording work has extended into Chicago Public Radio and Oprah’s Harpo Studios. Chris has had the privilege of backing many well-known talents such as Kanye West and Jennifer Hudson. He is also a teaching artist for Ravinia Festival’s Music Discovery Program and a professor at Kennedy King College. When he’s not anchoring the BKO stage, Chris serves as tech advisor and the mastermind behind the live tracks heard at every BKO gig.

paul-largePaul Mutzabaugh | Keyboard

Keyboardist Paul Mutzabaugh works consistently in both live and studio settings throughout Chicago, enjoying a wide variety of musical genres. In addition to BKO, he divides his time between performing and producing/arranging, working regularly with notable local artists & ensembles such as John Elmquist’s Hard Art Groop, Chris Siebold’s Psycles, Scott Anderson’s Nia Quintet, Aaron McEvers’s M13, Ryan Shultz Quintet, Juan Pastor’s Chinchano, Wes John Cichosz, Heather Headley, Willow Chicago, & The Renegades. Additionally, he leads an original jazz-ish group, The Unknown New, for which he plays electric bass and composes all of the material. More information on this, his most current musical endeavor, can be found at www.soundcloud.com/paul-mutzabaugh.

richRich Stitzel | Drums

Fort Worth, TX native Rich Stitzel is a third generation professional musician and educator. His father plays trumpet; is a composer and arranger; and is director of jazz studies at a college in Fort Worth. His mother plays woodwinds and is director of instrumental music at a boarding school in St. Louis. His uncle was a top call Nashville session drummer in the 70’s & 80’s, and his grandfather was the founder and executive director emeritus of The International Association of Jazz Educators. Needless to say, music and education run deep. Rich began studying drums in the seventh grade and continued to study throughout high school with many great teachers including FWSO principal Preston Thomas, UTA’s Rich MacDonald, UNT’s Randy Drake, and St. Louis’ Kevin Gianino. After high school Rich attended the University of North Texas where he played in the various ensembles and lab bands while studying with Mike Drake and Ed Soph. After playing professionally in Texas for a little over a decade, Rich decided to make his home base Chicago where he has lived since 2001. Rich’s creativity, energy, knowledge, and professionalism allow him to maintain an extremely vibrant and diverse career in the music industry as a drummer, percussionist, author, composer, and educator. As an educator Rich has given drum set & percussion masterclasses, rhythm section clinics, and has taught small group, big band jazz, and rock camps all over the country. He also does artist residencies for the Ravinia Festival (summer home of the Chicago Symphony) where he visits underfunded Chicago Public Schools and exposes kids (and teachers)to jazz and classical music. As an Author Rich is working on his second book entitled, “Drummantra: The Art & Science of Polymetric Groupings”which is a system to develop the understand-ing and mastery of multi-limb polymetric cycles through a meticulously comprehensive and progressive series of exercises. As a performer Rich has toured all over the United States as well as Mexico, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece, and Egypt. He has worked with an extremely diverse group of artists ranging from progressive jazz-fusion violinist Christian Howes to Jefferson Starship’s vocalist Cathy Richardson; from White Snake guitarist Joel Hoekstra to Ray Charles’ organist Bobby Floyd; from soul legend Mary Wilson of theSupremes to Mexican pop group Banda Eclectika; from The Jim Widner Big Band to country music superstar Miranda Lambert, and many others. This is a testament to Rich’s love of musical diversity. He has always strived to play with a huge variety of artists. Rich proudly endorses Craviotto Drums, Evans Drumheads, Vic Firth Sticks, and The BoxKit canons.

michael-levinMichael Levin | Saxophone | Flute | Clarinet

Michael Levin is BKO’s “Mr. Versatility.”His unparalleled ability to move from instrument to instrument has made Michael a staple of the Chicago music scene, whether the music is classical, klezmer, jazz, or rock. Michael holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Illinois. Michael has performed and/or recorded with The Temptations, The Four Tops, Clark Terry, The Supremes, Jerry Lewis, Salsa con Soul, Ella Jenkins, Bob-by Vinton, Diane Schuur, Ben Vereen, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Cerqua Rivera Art Experience, and The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, just to name a few. His solos are prominently featured in recordings by producers of Chicago House Music such as Vic Lavender, Terry Hunter, Jere McAllister, Mark Grant, Glenn Under-ground, and more. His numerous appearances at clubs and festivals throughout the Midwest include performances at Ravinia, Taste of Chicago, The Jazz Showcase, The House of Blues, The Velvet Lounge, Chicago Latin Jazz Festival, Buddy Guy’s, and the Chicago Jazz Festival. He has played music for theatrical productions and is featured on many commercials and industrial productions, including soundtracks for shows at the Adler Planetarium and PBS specials. Michael’s musical diversity beautifully compliments the wide variety of music BKO offers.

andrewAndrew Ecklund | Trumpet

Andrew Ecklund is a graduate of Elmhurst College, where he earned degrees in Jazz Studies and Music Business. His time at Elmhurst was spent studying under Grammy Award Winner, Doug Beach, and playing in the internationally ac-claimed Elmhurst College Jazz Band. Andrew can currently be seen playing in The Heisenberg Uncertainty Players, Jazz Community Big Band, and leading the Andrew Ecklund Quartet. Andrew has played large international stages in Serbia, Bulgaria, and Chile, and has played with some of the best jazz musicians in the world, including Jeff Hamilton, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Byron Strip-ling. Andrew also has a very busy writing career, writing music for large scale national advertisements. His compositions feature his instrumental and vocal performances, and can be heard accompanying the brands of McDonald’s, Allstate, Kelloggs, State Farm, Payless, and more.

JeffLivorsiJeff Livorsi | Trombone

BKO’s slide man, Jeff Livorsi, studied music at DePaul University under Tim Coffman, Thomas Matta, and Dr. Bob Lark. During his time at DePaul, Jeff played both tenor and bass trombone in the big bands and received a B.S. in Music (sound recording) with a physics minor and a M.A. in Jazz Studies. Jeff has been lucky enough to share the stage with some of the world’s best musicians, including, Phil Woods, Jeff Hamilton, Ira Sullivan, Cornell Thigpen, Calvin Rodgers, and Malik Yusef. You can also see him perform with Bumpus, Terrible Spaceship, Big Band Boom, and B.S. Brass Band. Along with those bands Jeff started his own funk, soul and hip hop brass band, J-Livi & The Party. Aside from performing Jeff also directs the DePaul University Screamin’ Demons Pep Band and teaches private lessons throughout the Chicagoland area. Jeff not only plays a mean trombone solo, but is also BKO’s horn arranger.

DennisDennis Calito | Percussion

A percussionist since the age of 10, Dennis Calito’s infectious rhythms and passionate playing have made him a much-sought-after live and studio musician. Dennis has had the privilege of recording with Latin Artists such as Grupo Niche, Jerry Rivera, Willy Torres, Kevin Ceballo, Van Lester, Yomo Toro, Frankie Negron, Alex d’Castro, and others. Around town, Dennis has shared the stage with artists such as Joe Rendon, Tina Crawley, Havana, Samuel del Real, and Jesus Enriquez. Dennis also has had the opportunity to perform with Christian artists such as Darlene Zschech, Hector Hermosillo, Maria del Sol, and Ernesto d’Alessio. For the last ten years, he has been an integral part of Casa De Luz Worship Team along with BKO’s keyboardist, Paul Mutzabaugh. During the day, Dennis shares his love of Latin music teaching kids the roots of latin percussion in the public schools. When he’s not jamming with BKO, he and his brother Byron can be seen headlining their own band, Rica Obsession.

DJ ZDJ Zach | Turntablist

Chicago native DJ Z began spinning at 14 for 300 kids at summer camp. At 16, DJ Z was discovered by one of Chicago’s premiere production companies. Whether it is a corporate or social event, DJ Z creates customized mashups, remixes and party breaks. His unique skills and distinct ear for the freshest sounds and deepest beats have gained Z huge respect in the DJ scene and beyond. DJ Z’s eyes never come off the dance floor which guarantees the music that YOUR client wants and not just what he wants to play. His professional personality, can-do attitude and drive for success has led him to perform all over the world and in every major city in the US. With over a decade of experience in the industry and satisfied clients such as The Bacardi Live Tour with Mix Master Mike, Disney Cruise Line, Nike, and many more, DJ Z is going full speed ahead. Keep a look out for him around the country and at a club near you!

steve-weederSteve Weeder | Sound Engineer

Steve Weeder is BKO’s resident sound architect! Since 1988, Steve has been recording and mixing music–from rock to country to jazz to jingles–and everything in between. Studio or Live, Steve makes it all sound fabulous. Steve’s mixing prowess has been sought after by some of the top names in music including Janet Jackson, Madonna, Kurt Elling, and Buddy Guy. Steve has also worked stageside for some of the nation’s best musical festivals such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Coachella. Steve’s magic behind the sound board helps create a sonic atmosphere perfect for any rocking BKO crowd!

Mike WMike Weber | Director of Sales

Mike Weber has worked in the hospitality and event industry his entire career. As BeatMix’s Director of Sales, he brings 17 years of experience and specializes in connecting with clients. Mike is attentive to all of your event’s wants- whether it’s corporate or wedding.
Born in Northern California, his career highlights include working as the Director of Operations for the event and catering company at Sears Point (Infineon) International Raceway. Since moving to the Midwest in 1997 he has steadily worked in the wedding and corporate entertainment industry. Now settled into Chicagoland life, he enjoys communicating with a variety of consultants and clients to help find the perfect fit for your entertainment needs. Beyond our three bands BeatMix can provide you with a string quartet, DJ, gospel choir, sitarist, blues group and countless other entertainment options. He works with all inquiries that come in and assists bands at their gigs. When he’s not in the office, you can find him fishing or at the hat store.