Yelp does not provide enough stars to give proper credit to Dave Swirksy and Expressway Music. Five stars doesn’t do it.
When I started planning my daughter Julia’s bat mitzvah party over a year ago, I swore that we would not have a DJ. I have had so many miserable experiences as a guest at mitzvah parties (and weddings) where the music was deafeningly loud, so loud that the walls and floor seemed to vibrate and you couldn’t have a conversation with the person standing right next to you unless you literally screamed in their ear. I have been to more than one party where I sat there with earplugs, unable to socialize or enjoy myself or even hear myself think. So when Julia expressed a wish to have dancing and games, initially I said no. I said no the second, third, and fourth times she asked as well. Finally, I began to worry that she wouldn’t have fun at her own party and agreed to look into finding a DJ that both kids and adults alike might enjoy. I was skeptical, to say the least.
Fast forward to November 18, 2017, when Julia and our guests — kids and adults alike — had the time of their lives thanks to Dave, who was our DJ, and the incomparable Alberto as emcee. Dave has an uncanny ability to read the room, play music that will be fun for all the guests, and meet the host’s goals and take the host’s wishes into account. I honestly wasn’t sure how this was possible, but he did it. It takes enormous talent and sensitivity – not to mention good taste – to accomplish this, and the experience was so amazing that it far surpassed anything I’d expected. The music was at an appropriate volume so that people could dance and enjoy themselves, but also so that people who weren’t necessarily dancing could enjoy themselves as well, whether at the bar, in small groups of people having conversations, etc. Alberto the emcee just charmed the kids with his sense of fun, creative games, whimsical dances, and more. He was so much fun, even adults joined in. (Yes, I tried to limbo!) When both your 13-year-old daughter and your 81-year-old father are raving about the entertainment at your party, you know you found the right talent.
From the time I started my initial search for a DJ to the date of the party, Dave and his wonderful assistant, Charissa, were professional, responsive, courteous, thoughtful, and kind. They addressed my questions, listened to my wishes and concerns, put my mind at ease, and treated me with the kind of professionalism one can only hope for when planning a big event. Charissa also put together the most delightful photo montage of my daughter for our guests, unfazed by my requests for last-minute changes to it.
Planning a party like a mitzvah or a wedding is a substantial investment financially and an even greater investment emotionally because it celebrates a milestone of enormous personal and cultural significance. My daughter was so proud of what she had accomplished in preparing for her bat mitzvah and could not have found a better way to celebrate than with music and dancing guided by Dave and Alberto. I honestly don’t think I ever saw my child so happy. As a parent, one’s happiness is often determined by the happiness of one’s kids. That was certainly true here, but not entirely, because I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the moment as well and will remember it all for a very long time. I am really grateful to Dave and his colleagues and cannot recommend him highly enough.
Archives for February 2017
You’re asking the love of your life to marry you, but you’re not exactly sure where to start. A proposal is a momentous event for any couple, but can be a nerve wracking experience. From planning where, when, and how, to the smaller details like the ring, theme, and of course, music, the list of steps can seem endless. So, we have compiled a few tips to help you get ready to ask the love your life to marry you and start this new exciting chapter of your lives together with a little less stress.
Timing Is Everything
If you have a special holiday or anniversary coming up, or a couples getaway, these might be great opportunities to pop the question! Timing your proposal just right can not only help make the moment more unique to you and your partner, but also help to plan other aspects of the proposal like ring shopping timelines, vendor appointments, and just ensuring your partner is ready. Dropping hints to your partner about spending your lives together can seem intimidating, but also important to be sure you are both on the same page. As we said, a proposal is a momentous step for any couple, so talking about your future prior, can help to relieve some uncertainty.
It’s also important to have a conversation with your jeweler about the focal point of the proposal, the ring! Meet with your jeweler to discuss your timeline and budget to make sure they are able to complete your ring by the desired date of your proposal. Make sure to account for time spent towards added details like engraving, added diamond settings, and other customizations, and then find your perfect ring! If time is limited, or you want to avoid the added pressure of working with a jeweler, try shopping online to find artisan designed engagement rings that can be shipped right to you. This makes it simple and easy to find the right one, and cut down on timeline stress.
Designing The Theme
One of the easiest ways to pick a theme for your proposal is to think about you and your partner’s interests, hobbies, or even personalities. If you’re both adventurous, maybe a hike up to the top of a mountain is the perfect way to have an exciting yet intimate proposal. Or, maybe your favorite local restaurant where you share your favorite date night meals is the best spot. No matter where you choose, keep your partners interests in mind. If they are more on the shy side, a quiet and intimate proposal may be the way to go. Or, if their more outgoing, a bold and public proposal would be the perfect way to pop the question. Once, you figure out what your partner might like, then you can design the proposal. If you still can’t seem to figure out the perfect way, hire a wedding coordinator or wedding planner that also offers engagement planning. They can help to narrow down some ideas, and plan out the details. Or, don’t be afraid to get advice close to home, and ask friends and family for help too! They know your soon to be fiance as well as you, so take their input if you find yourself lost for inspiration.
Capture the Moment
If photography is not your thing, or you don’t know a friend who can capture your proposal moment, hire a photographer. Be sure to research different photographers styles to find the one that best matches your vision and meet to go over the details. Discuss how your budget meets their rates, timelines, and some ideas for photos you would like. Be sure to have them look over the site prior to the proposal too, so they can get an idea of the best angle to capture your special moment, especially if you pick a spot at a busy New York City landmark! Check out these pros and cons of hiring a photographer to help you decide if it’s for you.
Set the Tone
Hiring a DJ or band to assist in your proposal may seem a little over the top, but if your bride to be is all about being the center of attention, why not?! Music can set the mood for the proposal, and worrying about having access to all of your favorite tunes or stressing if they will play in the right order, are just a few of the mishaps that could happen while your down on one knee asking the big question. Instead of worrying, have someone there to do it all for you to have the perfect background music for your proposal. Make a playlist of songs ahead of time that mean something to you and your partner. Be sure to meet with your DJ ahead of time to make sure they have the list and timing ready. Play the one that has always been your song together, or, pick a new one that you can reflect on as the one you listened to during your marriage proposal. Music has the power to move us and create emotion, so picking the right playlist that reminds you of special moments shared together can add an intimate and unique touch to your big day.
New York City Bat Mitzvah
Bat Mitzvah Service
I was very confident going in that Aliza’s Bat Mitzvah this past Saturday Night at the Manhattan Penthouse was going to be extra Special. Aliza and her family have a natural way of making everyone (from Vendors to Guests) feel welcome and included. The service was also held at the MP and here is a snapshot of towards the end of the service.
We provided an Ipad Playlist that hooked into the venue’s system during cocktail hour. I made the list of great songs from the 60’s through the 90’s as requested and while Adults were enjoying everything in the front room the Kids came into the main room for a little Karaoke with me (DJ) and our Emcee Alberto.
Introduction of the Bat Mitzvah Girl
Aliza wanted to be introduced at the end of cocktail hour to her friends only. Here it is with our DJ Alberto making the announcement.
Our clients almost always have us bring Karaoke to their kids Bar/Bat Mitzvah but i have to say this group of children could not have been more into music and singing and dancing. At the end of the party there were still over 20 song slips left! * Please note if you are worried that karaoke will “take over” your child’s party not to worry. I don’t ever put on a karaoke song if it’s going to disrupt the dancing on the dance floor. On this party, because the Karaoke was in such demand with the kids, i was going back and forth between singing and dancing and it was seamless for over 3 in a half hours!
If you think there was a lot of singing you would be right but it didn’t come close to the amount of Dancing Aliza and her friends did(and the adults!!!)
In Addition to being a Busy NYC Emcee(and DJ) Alberto is also an active Dancer who performs at Lincoln Center almost every night. In the video below you will see that one of Aliza’s friends didn’t need Alberto’s help leading this particular dance!!!! (JuJu on that beat)
Our Expressway Music Photo Booth was once again a huge hit. Our Photo techs are easy going and great with guests and we bring fun props for guests to dress up in. Our Customized strips come in either Color or Black & White. Here are a few photos of guests having a blast with our booth!
Projector and Screen for Montage
One of Aliza’s friends did a great job making her Montage. We brought along our Projector and Screen to play it.
Quite often our Emcee and/or Dancers will hand out raffle tickets to kids every time they participate in a game, or are dancing or answer a trivia question correctly. This is done often throughout the party so kids are always interacting. Towards the end of the party our emcee will tell kids to collect their tickets. Our emcee (or the Bar/Bat mitzvah girl or boy) will call out raffle numbers and whomever wins gets prizes like gift cards, ear buds, etc. Here is a photo of Emcee Alberto conducting the raffle.
DJ Dave and Emcee Alberto
We have worked together often and have a great chemistry. We compliment each others strengths and weaknesses very well
THANK YOU FROM MOM
Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 5:00 PM
Subject: Thank you!
Thanks for everything, Charissa. Aliza, friends, and family all had a fabulous time. The music, photos, dancing, karaoke, montage were all terrific. Alberto got rave reviews, and you and Dave were amazing from start to finish. We will be recommending you guys to all our friends. Thanks for all of your patience, attention to detail, and professionalism.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
Thank you so much to Aliza’s parents Tony and Hilary for having us provide the entertainment for this amazing Bat Mitzvah.