Lean on Me: A Glee Finale at the Knoll Country Club For Julia

While doing her brother Josh’s Bar Mitzvah 2 years ago and seeing how much fun his little sister was having, I just knew Julia’s Bat Mitzvah was going to be filled with plenty of memorable moments.  This time around, the Kirschenbaum’s moved their location from the Mountain Lakes Club to the Knoll Country Club in Parsippany.  Instead of a gorgeous view of the lake, they had a gorgeous view of the golf course.  (I love win-win situations)

Like her brother, Julia has a very bubbly personality, is very bright, and isn’t shy when it’s time to dance.  When I did the V.I.P meet & Greet Dance Party at the Kirschenbaum home one week before the Bat Mitzvah (part of the Signature Simcha Service that MMP offers exclusively), Julia and her best friends Sidney, Brooke, Alexa, and Erica all showed the same enthusiasm as well.  We practiced everything from the Cotton Eyed Joe Remix to the Down Dance to The Apache.

At the reception, one of my favorite moments was the Face The Cookie competition from Minute To Win It.   This interactive has by far been the most fun to play and the most entertaining to watch when we recently polled our clients.    The most sentimental moment was the parent’s toasts.   Just when I thought they couldn’t top the toasts they gave to Josh, Wendy and Abram delivered in fine-fashion once again.  Eloquent and heartfelt.   

For Josh, who is a big Beatles fan, we played Hey Jude for his event finale song in which all of his friends and family gathered in a circle to sing a long to give him the proper send-off.  For Julia, we went with Lean On Me, which was remade by the cast of the hugely popular T.V show Glee. It was perfect because all of the kids who watch the show knew the words and all of the adults who grew up listening to the original by Bill Withers sang their hearts outs also!

Best wishes to Julia, Josh, Wendy and Abram.   -mp

Special thanks to Milan from Milan Photography for sharing his photos for this article.  It’s always a pleasure working together.   Check out Milan’s work in the delicious Sweet Utopia book and blog.  -mp

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Better, Faster, & Stronger in the New Economy: Samsung Electronics Soars and Treats their Team to Another Exceptional Holiday Event with MMP Entertainment

Photo Credit: Mario Anzuoni / REUTERS

Chances are if you turned on the news or listened to the radio over the past two years, an over-whelming barrage of doom and gloom was being relentlessly shoved in your cautiously-optimistic face and into your ‘everything’s gonna be alright” ears.

By no means was it all rainbows and butterflies, but there were definitely some success stories that went under-reported or got conveniently left out of the conversation because they didn’t jive with a political agenda or enable another greedy speculator to manipulate a particular investment.

Case in point, Samsung Electronics.  We have had the pleasure of entertaining the Samsung team and their families since 2005.  Throughout the decade, they have become one of the dominant global companies for consumer electronics and technology.  If you’ve picked up anything other than an iPhone or iPad that was really cool in the new milleniem or watched something on a flat-screen television latley, you’ve probably seen the Samsung name on it.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

In 2009 and the first three quarters of 2010, Samsung Electronics did the seemingly impossible by pessimists everywhere...  “The manufacturer of the 7000 Series 3D flat panel TV estimated that consolidated revenue during 2010 came to $137.31 billion, which would be an increase of 13 percent from the previous year’s record performance.  (source: Kelly Olsen,  AP Business Writer)

And check out this quote from Robert Yi, Vice President and Head of Samsung Electronics’ Investor Relations Team, from almost a year ago to the day… “Despite the uncertain business environment in 2009, Samsung was able to achieve record revenues and strong profitability based on our technological and marketplace leadership.  We see this positive growth and performance flowing on into 2010 as the global economy continues to stabilize.”    Like I said, unfortunately, these weren’t the stories earning prime-time sound bytes for the general public to sink their teeth into when a little positive reinforcement could have had significant positive impact on morale.

Anywho, when we provided the entertainment and event production for their Holiday Gala at The Venetian in 2009, I was admittedly a tad curious as to how everyone could be so festive when most people you ran into kept saying that the sky was literally falling.  Now  I know.  🙂

This year, at their new corporate headquarters, when we produced their annual Holiday Family Fun extravaganza, you could also sense the joy and optimism in the air.  Granted, who wouldn’t be smiling when they’re playing Minute To Win It interactives and dancing with their kids to Bar Mitzvah classics and current hits, but you could tell there was more to it.  It was more than just a fun and enjoyable vibe- which is fine by us, it was a refreshing and invigorating sense of  … “oh yeah, life is good!… we earned this celebration!”

Listen to the word of Matthew..."just keep livin"

As I continue to follow, study, and learn from our impressive portfolio of corporate clients, one distinctive factor for achieving success is glaringly obvious;  a stellar CEO is what will ultimately take a company from good to great. The stellar CEO’s that are also humble will usually defer much of the credit to his or her team.  This, in most cases, is the right thing to do and is certainly a valid truism.

Beyond that being an established fact, if you ever get the opportunity to meet a fortune 500 CEO, a note-worthy entrepreneur, or even a super-cool actor, you will encounter some uber-impressive men and women.  They usually have just the right combination of natural instinct, intelligence, people skills, vision, perseverance and leadership skills to make for a formidable force to be reckoned with.

Matthew McConaughey

I’ve always been told that you are who you surround yourself with.…  Now MMP didn’t quite make 137 billion last year and Jim Kramer wasn’t interviewing me to learn more about my company, but just enough of the Samsung aura of hard work, team work, resourcefulness, and foresight rubbed off on me to keep my glass half-full of positivity and prosperity.

Special thanks and sincere gratitude to Kristen and the entire Samsung team for having us back again.  We’re looking forward to the 2011 event schedule.  -mp

p.s Just in case you need another reason to feel good about Samsung or life in general, check out the strategic partnership they made with Best Buy and Matthew McConaughey‘s j.k livin Foundation

NJSBA Hosts 2000 Guests in the Palace at Somerset Park: Another Signature Event Collaboration from Jason Jani and Marcello Pedalino

The Palace At Somerset Park

Last month I teamed up again with my good friend and Signature Event partner, Jason Jani, for another exceptional portfolio piece.  Our client, Pomptonian Food Service, was celebrating 50 years of excellence in conjunction with the New Jersey School Board Association’s 2010 Convention and Member Appreciation Gala.

Throughout the day, upwards of 2000 attendees were shuttled back and forth from The Palace at Somerset Park to attend educational seminars and informational symposiums.  Topics included; social media, energy efficiency plans, public relations, health benefits and the effects of nutrition and wellness for students.  Speaking of nutrition, the Pomptonian currently provides staffing, high quality lunches, and innovative culinary concepts to over 70 school districts in NJ.

Guests enjoy the festivities at the V.I.P Lounge

After a long day of taking notes and networking, the Pomptonian and the NJSBA wanted the remaining attendees to return to the Palace to relax, enjoy a nice dinner and have some well deserved fun!

In addition to several other performance and specialty interactives that were taking place simultaneously throughout the colossal Palace, Jason and I were given 1/2 of the West Ballroom to create the Pomptionian V.I.P Lounge. Since most attendees registered in groups of 3 to 5 people, we were told we’d be catering to intimate crowds of 10 to 30 guests at a time who would stop by and leave as they wished, have a drink or two, grab a bite to eat, and maybe even bust out a few of their favorite dance moves. No problem!  🙂

Jason Jani, Marcello Pedalino and the Signature Event Team

Jason’s vision for the production layout was on point as always.  From the luminescent projection of Pomptonian’s signature logo on the cathedral ceiling, to the L.E.D decor lightscaping to the surround coverage of 4 plasma screens displaying custom visuals, retro music videos and guest candids, word spread quickly throughout the Palace that this was a cool place to stop by and enjoy life for awhile.   Of course Jason, as one of the top DJ/Remix artists in the country, manned the DJ booth all night and dropped a masterfully-blended soundtrack of lounge, pop, classic funk and current musical audience pleasers.     I handled the on-site logistics, client relations, hospitality and interactive Emcee hosting.

Marcello entertains the guests with an interactive game from Minute To Win It

Over the course of the four hour reception, we had several occasions where a select group of guests were either enjoying the evening’s soundtrack with a nice glass of chardonnay, dancing to their requests with colleagues or competing in an impromptu challenge from our Minute to Win It repertoire.  We were very pleased with the feedback from the NJSBA, The Palace and the happy guests.

Special thanks to the Palace team; Stacie DeMicco, Senior Conference Planning Manager, Kristie Pappas, Senior Corporate Sales Manager, Anthony Panchery, Banquet Manager and Richard McConney, Director of Banquets as well as Erik Endress, Director of Association and Meeting Development and Marcia Lavingne, County Activities Coordinator from the NJSBA for their professionalism and coordination assistance.

If your company is planning a convention, team building workshop or a holiday gala and you’d like to take it to the Signature Event level, contact us to schedule an on-site consultation and design session. Our client portfolio includes The Allen & Co. Media Summit in Sun Valley Idaho, Macy’s, The Borgata, Samsung Electronics, Bank of America, Pathmark, LG Electronics, David Tutera, Synchronoss Technologies and AnnTaylor.    -mp

Fundraising, High Fashion and Lots of Fun at Glenpointe- Courtesy of Nordstrom, Holy Name’s MS Center, Chris Cimino and Marcello

Meredith Model, Patrice Olszewski wearing Terri Jon

Nordstrom, Holy Name Hospital, WNBC’s Chris Cimino, Inserra Supermarkets and MMP Entertainment teamed up again on Saturday for the 13th annual MS Spring Fashion Fling at the Glenpointe Marriott.

As always, the goal of the show was to raise money for the MS Center and to entertain several hundred guests by giving away fabulous prizes, treating the guests to a delicious luncheon, and of course, showing off some of the hottest fashions of the season.  Thanks to some angelic volunteers, sponsors, a dedicated staff and my professional colleagues, the 2010 event was another successful collaboration.

Meredith Model, Aida Sinusaite leads the finale wearing Sean Collection. At the podium, Maryellen Moffitt.

In addition to giving out an Iron Man II voice activated L.E.D t-shirt and a $100 cash prize to the winner of Face The Cookie, we also organized a Facebook Challenge that coincided with the show.  MMP Entertainment was delighted to welcome the 40 new fans that joined our Celebrate Life team!

One of the main attractions at the Spring Fling is the fashion show that is produced by MEM Production’s Maryellen MoffittA consummate professional and couture connoisseur, Maryellen is the go-to coordinator if you want to organize a fashion-based event that’s going to dazzle the crowd.

Many of my readers know that I appreciate style, that I’m a huge fan of Nordtsrom, and that my clients and I are always attending exclusive events with various dress codes; so I asked Maryellen for her thoughts on what 2010’s line had to offer.

“As fashions change from season to season, so too do the obligations of entertaining and being entertained.  There will be times that your event will be elegant, yet not quite mandating a formal ensemble.  There will be that destination wedding that you just aren’t quite sure what the appropriate attire will be.  There will be dinner invitations where you need to be elegant, yet not over the top.  In response to the varied social whirlwind of globe hopping trendsetters like the ones in our audience, Nordstom is offering ‘Elegant Alternatives.’ Fashion that will make you look and feel glamorous, yet not require a tiara and jewels. “

Lisa Futterman, Chris Cimino, Susan Zurndorfer and Marcello

MS Center's Lisa Futterman, WNBC's Chris Cimino, MS Center's Susan Zurndorfer and MMP Entertainment's Marcello

Sounds good to me.  See you all next year!

Special thanks to Patrice and Christina from the Glenpointe Marriott for their hospitality.  The accommodations and customer service were first class as usual.

MMP Entertainment will be taking $250 off of any Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Wedding, Corporate Event or Private Celebration that is booked by a guest who attended this year’s fashion show.  MMP Entertainment will also match that amount and donate $250 to the MS Center for each event contracted.

If you’d like to donate your time, money, product or service to the MS Center, please contact Lisa Futterman at futterman@mail.holyname.org

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5 Years, 3 Events, 1 Love: Arissa’s Triple Play Bat Mitzvah

April 16, 2005- Arissa giving a toast to her big sister Ilana. "Thank you for hiring Marcello to be the DJ.... I want him at my Bat Mitzvah too."

It felt a little like working at the Make A Wish Foundation.  Not only did Arissa thank her parents for “hiring Marcello” during her toast to her sister back in 2005,  she also said, “I want Marcello to be the DJ at my Bat Mitzvah!”; which you can see from the photo, filled the room with laughter.

As we all  know, life moves pretty fast.   Three years later it was her brother Ethan’s turn.  And then finally, last Saturday night- 5 years later- it was Arissa’s night to shine.

From the interactive cocktail hour to the grand entrance to the last dance; the Gazda’s and their family and friends partied like rock stars. I truly believe that some people were put on this earth to celebrate life and to teach the world to sing.  Nancy, Ken, Ilana, Ethan and Arissa definitely make the list…  The Landmark was over-flowing with positive energy.

March 27, 2010.  Arissa, Marcello, Ilana and Ethan

March 27, 2010. Arissa, Marcello, Ilana and Ethan

At one point in the opening dance set, we played the remix of One Love, by my friend, Nick DitriHe’s part of the platinum selling duo of uber-producers known as The Disco Fries. We had Arissa and a dance-floor full of guests doing the Jersey Shore fist pump and jumping up and down like it was a New Years Eve celebration in Times Square.  What a moment!

I was little concerned about having such a festive-frenzy so early in the event.  Really, it’s like.. where do you go from here?   Thankfully, it was a typical Gazda fiesta with limitless enthusiasm and joyful fervor. We experienced several similar peaks throughout the night; whether it was dancing to a Blend Brother’s remix of Don’t Stop Believing, playing Face the Cookie from the hit show Minute to Win It or singing along to the new friendship circle anthem, ‘Lean On Me’ from the Glee soundtrack… we were in perfect harmony from start to finish.

Nancy, Arissa and Ken

If you’ve got a minute, check out the video testimonial (below) that MMP Entertainment‘s production manager, Frank Di Giacomo,  captured at the end of the event on the “Frankie D Cam.” (Our future clients really enjoy seeing and hearing candid thoughts and opinions directly from other families who were once in their position; having to consider a significant investment in the entertainment for their event and wanting the peace of mind of knowing that they’re making the right choice.) Look out for more 21st century word-of-mouth video clips in our future articles.  I think you’ll agree that we made Arissa’s Bat Mitzvah dreams come true. She wasn’t shy with her feedback.  🙂

Special thanks to Dee from the Landmark for her hospitality and professionalism.  Hugs and kisses to Nancy and Ken for their friendship, patronage and generosity.

Encore Gallery:

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Mock Rock

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