Local pair supports music with company

By Hayley Devitt

Until recently, Camille Piazza and Eric Sterling have been working to plan and host events mainly as volunteer and fundraising efforts.

Piazza and Sterling have been prominent volunteer supporters of DeKalb’s music scene. But on Aug. 14, Piazza and Sterling founded their very own production company, Ellimac & Cire Productions, so they may continue booking shows in DeKalb under a more official moniker.

“We would send out emails, but we didn’t really have a hook to make us seem credible,” Piazza said.

Piazza, who has worked in radio for 20 years and loves being part of NIU Steel Band ensemble, told me she and Sterling go to the House Cafe’s Monday night open mic every week in addition to assisting the venue in planning events.

By now they assuredly have “a hand on the pulse of the local scene,” Piazza said.

“There used to be a really thriving music scene here in DeKalb,” Sterling said.

The pair alluded to the days when Otto’s and the House held concerts just about every night of the week.

They feel DeKalb has fallen by the wayside in terms of booking original bands.

One of the duo’s goals is to “inform and educate music lovers,” Piazza said.

We discussed the importance of bringing in artists with original material as often as possible, rather than sticking to cover bands, which have become popular with the bar circuit.

Sterling, who is earning a master’s in anthropology and is an adviser to Green Paws Environmental Alliance, said he would “like to see students get out of their shell,” and not stick to doing the same old things night after night.

Sterling encourages students to come out to shows even if it means bringing their books and computers to finish homework.

He said he wants to turn kids on to good music.

“We want to provide entertainment to the community and the university,” Piazza said. “The community and students are what drives us.”

Ellimac & Cire’s motto is “Where the artists come first.”

“Artists come first, the venue comes second and we come last,” Piazza said. “If we put ourselves first, everyone suffers.”

She said when artists come into town to perform for the community, she and Sterling “want to make their entire experience pleasurable.”

Another goal of theirs is to provide local acts with opportunities to showcase their talent alongside regional and nationally touring bands.

The two of them would like to eventually extend their business outside of DeKalb and start booking shows in Chicago, Rockford and Madison.

“I hope it’s hopeful,” Piazza said of their new production company.

I wholeheartedly agree with what their company is doing. With rumors of DeKalb’s beloved House Cafe closing at the end of the month, we need someone to carry the torch of bringing all genres of music to this college town.

I would also encourage everyone to get out and experience new things: Go hear live music while you still have these opportunities.

Don’t rely on your radio, computer or cover bands each weekend to feed you songs you already know.