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Hiring A Bar Mitzvah DJ: Why The Guest Of Honor Lost His Lunch While His Parents Lost Their Minds

Aug 17, 2007
The following information regards the first half (first 2 hours) of a Bar or bat Mitzvah Reception:

There's no university I know of offering a Mobile DJ major. We learn by watching, listening and doing. What works for me will be handled differently by my peers.

What's the right way? Did you hear about the woman who rushed into the train station at 9:30 and asked at the ticket counter, "Where do I catch the 9:40 train to New York?" The agent responded by pointing: "Make a left, and you'll be right!" "Don't get smart with me, young man." "OK lady, make a right, and you'll be left!"


Aoccdrnig to rscheearch, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

By not hiring the "right" DJ, it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be stuck with a "left" DJ or a "wrong" DJ...but you may be booking one who plays with 51 in the deck. So what? He could be great, lots of fun and completely innovative! He's a DJ, not a neurosurgeon. He may be inclined to view your function from an entirely innovative and fresh perspective. He wants to do things his way, so loosen the leash and allow him to do what he does best. If you're comfortable with him, to paraphrase The Beatles: Let Him Be.

Once at a Bat Mitzvah, the mother actually carried a clipboard! Do I have to detail this? The caterer and I were ready to commit hara-kiri after 4 hours.

Please...tranquility and flexibility. The following typical reception is only a guide:

HOUR ONE (Scenario A): During cocktails/hors d'oeuvres, the music is indicative of what's going on. Nothing! Guests don't all arrive at once. They filter in, blend and mingle. They won't filter in and hit the dance floor, so the music is audible, but not overt. No one's ears will bleed. Expect a pleasant meld of Gershwin, Sinatra, big band, modern jazz, soft vocals or light classics.

Don't expect the DJ to be on the mic cajoling your guests to dance. It's just as important knowing when to speak as when to zip it. Years ago, I stopped booking myself as THE JOE SHOW, which was my "nom de plume" on-the-air. After all, it wasn't me who was the center of attention. It was the child. A DJ should appreciate the benefit of a subdued approach when it's appropriate.

HOUR ONE (Scenario B): Give the kids to the DJ for games and "their" music in the main room while adults enjoy hors d'oeuvres without music in the foyer.

HOUR ONE (Scenario C): Hors d'oeuvres are served in the foyer to all guests. After hors d'oeuvres, the doors all swing open and the party begins "cooking" with up-tempo, high energy music (NRG in DJ shorthand). You lead the way onto the dance floor with your child and then, after a rousing introduction, Grand Entrance and applause, have a few spins with your guests before the meal is served and/or between courses.

(At a Saturday evening affair, be sure to advise your DJ if you choose to have a Havdalah service. And hope he doesn't say: "A what?")

HOUR TWO: Preceding the meal, have the Motzi and a little "...bo-ray, p'ri hagoffen." (Your child will be looking forward to that Manischewitz!) True story: Once at an afternoon party, we couldn't find the Bar Mitzvah boy at game time. Everyone became quite concerned (some frantic) when we still couldn't locate him to lift him in the chair during the Hora. It seems his cousins were sneaking him a few sips (gulps?) of the fruit-of-the-vine. He was outside. Loosing his lunch. Once he found his way back in, he couldn't even read his Candlelighting poems! Have you ever seen parents who wanted to kill their kid at his own Bar Mitzvah?!

Prior to your arrival, the caterer and DJ will discuss the affair and review a printed agenda (yours or theirs). Hot food should be served hot, so timing is essential.

It's the DJ's responsibility to insure that the party flows. Let your caterers serve a delicious meal. DON'T allow them to program your function. Never, ever with a capital NEVER. Occasionally, they can be heavy handed about it, but event coordination is not their expertise. They do it occasionally because they have to deal with all caliber of DJs. But if you trust your DJ, then TRUST YOUR DJ!

Regardless of whether your meal is sit-down, stations or buffet, your child and his friends will finish eating in fifteen minutes. (Twenty, if you s-t-r-e-t-c-h it.) So have the kids served first. After they've finished eating it's the ideal time, and gives the DJ more time, for games and contests and to work with the kids.
About the Author
Joe Pachino has been a Radio & Mobile DJ in Baltimore since 1974 and authored "DJ's Secrets Revealed! How To Select (And Get The Most Out Of) Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah DJ" c 2001, 2007 EMI. It's loaded with constructive, organized and valuable tip$ for Parents. He's performed at well over 1000 Mitzvahs, so take advantage of his experience. (And experiences!) You'll find loads of info and goodies at http://djs-secrets.com/
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