Trendy Types Turn Out For Inagural Tasty Tunes Social At Union Hall
by James Coulter
Hot food, hot music, and plenty of hot conversation was to be had at the very first Tasty Tunes Social, hosted by EMERGE Lakeland at Union Hall in Lakeland on Friday.
Several young professionals, both EMERGE members and non-members alike, turned out for the networking event, where they could connect with other like-minded young individuals through drinks and casual conversations.
Attendees could grab something to drink at the bar or grab something to eat from the food truck parked outside. Afterward, they could stop and chat with each other while listening to live music.
Selwyn Birchwood, an up-and-coming American blues guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter from Tampa, and his bandmates provided the live musical entertainment that evening, serving the tasty tunes to help accentuate the tasty food and drinks and even tastier conversation.
EMERGE Lakeland, a networking organization for local young professionals and entrepreneurs, in partnership with the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Central Florida, helps provide networking opportunities through an event such as this.
According to its mission statement on its website, EMERGE seeks “to create a venue for our members to build relationships, develop professionally, become politically aware, philanthropically active, and contribute to the economic development and quality of life in Lakeland.”
This was the first time EMERGE had hosted an event with Union Hall, a local venue along scenic South Florida Avenue that opened three months ago. The local venue serves to draw in big-name musicians to the Polk County area, including performing artists such as Dave Fowler, Betty Fox, Birch Wood, and Brian Sutherland.
“We are trying to bring in quality entertainment to the Polk County area,” said Dan Signor, Owner and Operator. “We are trying to bring those names around to the area that you wouldn’t have to travel miles to see.”
For this being his venue’s first time hosting an EMERGE event, Signor considered the entire experience pleasant. He enjoyed being able to bring in local business leaders together through community and camaraderie, and he hopes to continue facilitating such events in the near future.
Caitlin Beyke, EMERGE Membership Chair, was inspired to help create the event after receiving a suggestion from one of their members about the new venue. They connected with Union Hall, and so far, the collaboration more than met expectations for both parties, she said.
“I would love to do more events with them,” she said. “Expectations have been met. I think they have been exceeded…[W]e are always looking for feedback from our members who attend, so I see nothing but good things to come.”
Brandon Silk, 2019 Emerge Chair, and Vice President of Customer Experience for Two Men And A Truck, also enjoyed the energy that evening through the music and the conversation with other fellow young professionals.
“I am loving the atmosphere,” he said. “[It is a] great way to network and see some live music. They have met expectations and exceeded them. It is a great conversation we are having before the music starts. We are having a fun night.”
As someone with his own business, he appreciates being able to mix and mingle with other young professionals in the area, allowing him to network with other local businesses and establish long-lasting relationships with other people like him.
“It is a great place to meet people in Lakeland,” he said. “If you are new to Lakeland, if you are getting into the young professional scene in Lakeland, it is a friendly environment open to new members at all times.”
For more information about future EMERGE Lakeland event, visit their website at: https://emergelakeland.wildapricot.org/ Or visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/EMERGELakeland/
For more information about upcoming performances at Union Hall, visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/unionhallevents/