December 2017

January 1, 2018

In today’s uncertain economic times everyone is looking to save money where ever they can. Substituting the entertainment with an IPod has been a media hot spot this year, so let’s consider the possibilities. Let’s start by stating the obvious about both.                

The IPod argument

There is no question that a bride and groom can rent a quality sound system at a reasonable rate, have it delivered or have a friend bring it to the reception and set it up with play lists all programmed on it with folders designed for cocktails, dinner, program in their 1st dance, the father daughter dance, and their favorite party songs to dance to. You need to consider the amount of time creating these folders are going to take and if you have the access to an extensive music library or the cost of downloading these songs off of the internet. The cost of renting a sound system is probably about $200-$300 on average nationally. The costs of adding music to your IPod obviously will vary.

The Dj argument

A dj comes completely self contained and already has all of the music, a quality sound system, and years of experience behind him or her. The average cost of a quality dj nationally can range from $800 to $3,000 dollars. Median price is probably $1,200.00.                

The defining difference:

Timing, experience, and enrollment in the moment is the difference and in my personal and professional opinion, the defining difference and a deal breaker to consider. A professional dj with a comprehensive music collection knows when to play what song, and in doing so creates the mood and the energy level appropriate for that moment. They know how to push the crowd musically and verbally to keep that dance floor packed by using their years of experience and training. Now let’s talk about enrollment. My goal as a master of ceremonies is to not just make an announcement about the evening’s activities but to truly enroll the guests into the moment. This comes from years of experience, training, having a creative mind, and a true desire to make each bride’s wedding day memorable, elegant and fun.                

A friend will most likely announce the father daughter dance like this. “And now we would like to invite Karen and her father to dance the daddy daughter dance. “This is a simple and clear announcement. I personally would ask the bride and her dad a few questions in advance to learn a bit about them and their relationship and my introduction to that same dance would sound more like this. “On November 9, 1970, life in the KoKoruz house would change as they knew it forever with the arrival of our bride Karen Kathleen KoKoruz to her proud parents Steve and Christine. She was delivered into their lives at 1:20 p.m. at St Mary’s Hospital and weighed 7lbs 6 ounces. The doctor presented Karen to her dad for the very first time. He knew that in the blink of any eye those little tiny fingers that he was holding for the first would later be turned over to the man that she would like to spend the rest of her life with. Today that day has come so please join me in a warm proud round of applause as Karen and her dad share their special father daughter dance.”                

I hope that as you read this you got a few goose bumps, perhaps even got a bit emotional as you thought about that special dance with your dad, and most importantly realized that an IPod can never make you or your guests feel that way

December 17, 2017

Life is filled with ups and downs, good decisions and bad decisions. On November 13, 2009 I was the victim of one my own bad decisions. I trusted someone I shouldn’t have and was forced to pay the price. I made a business decision that I never should have and it resulted in me having to start all over again at the age of 40. I was dead broke and was starting over with nothing but my experience, reputation, and a very strong work ethic.

Fast forward to November of 2012, I was in my office reviewing the year with one of my staff and we both took a moment to realize that I was no longer dead broke. I was in fact booked solid for 2013. My dj and my new bridal show company were doing incredibly well and I had more money in my bank account than I could remember in a really long time. Most of all, I was grateful.

I have always felt that helping others is important. I have always donated my time and skills as a dj whenever I could. I have walked in numerous 5K marathons, bought raffle tickets, etc. just like everyone reading this. I however felt the need to do more. In three weeks my staff and I organized our first toy drive. We put the word out to friends, family, and industry colleagues and we were able to collect 4 boxes of toys our first year. Since then each year we have tried to make it larger and larger. Last year, the Marines informed us that we collected more toys for Toys for Tots than the Chicago Bears did.

This year, my goal was to double what we did last year. With the help of countless people who volunteered, donated, and attended our 5th annual Toy Drive, we were able to donate two 15’ box trucks filled with toys and bikes for needy kids. The Marines were amazed when we pulled up both on Friday and again on Monday just a few days after our actual Toy Drive event.

I thought I was done for the year. I called a friend to tease her for not attending my toy drive since she had told me that she was coming and never made it. She informed me that she had a conflict and that she was also “charity’d out.” In addition to running her wedding business, she also works as a kindergarten teacher’s aid in a low income area. She said she finds herself reaching into her own pocket weekly to help her students since they simply need the help. I asked her how I could help. I told her I had a few hundred dollars left from the toy drive that I was simply going to buy toys with and drop off but if I can help her, I would. She explained that she needed hats and gloves/mittens for her kids. I thought she was doing an arts and crafts project and decorating them for Christmas. She wasn’t, she needed them for her students since they were being sent to school without hats and mittens. Their parents simply didn’t have them. I made some calls to people who had promised to donate but didn’t come through. I posted on my social media and within 12 hours, I had raised $800. This money along with my left over money bought 135 kids hats, mittens, coloring books, crayons, and I had Keith Christopher Entertainment draw string back packs that we put everything in for each student. On December 21, 2017 I got to hand them out to these amazing little kids that screamed and hooted in delight. I honestly don’t know who was happier, the students or me. My friend called me on her way home and said all the kids wanted to do all day was color in their new coloring books. A simple coloring book and crayons made these kids so incredibly happy.

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that I also volunteer my time djing for two days the weekend before Thanksgiving for my friend Mike Cozzi. Mike started a charity called Caring Patriots. He went to the local VA office to see if he could help volunteer in some way. While he was there, he couldn’t understand how so many veterans were in need of assistance. During the Thanksgiving holiday, there were veterans who couldn’t even put a meal on the table for their family. Mike Cozzi was not going to allow this to happen. I need you to understand who Mike is; he is a truck driver with no business friends in high places who can simply write him big checks and call it a day. He started with a goal of feeding 100 veteran families in honor of their service to this great country. His first year, he begged people for their money, their time, and any canned good items they could donate. He purchased turkeys, carrots, apples, pies, etc. from a Chicago based grocery store chain that would later become a huge ally to his cause. Today, he feeds 1,000 families every Thanksgiving. Each veteran gets 6 bags of canned groceries, a 2 gallon container of laundry detergent, soda, fresh vegetables, potatoes, pumpkin pies, and a huge turkey. This undertaking takes hundreds of volunteers to organize, collect, sort, and hand out all of these items to these veterans and their families.

I am not writing this article to try to convince you what a good guy I am or to impress anyone. Instead I am trying to impress upon you how powerful a small donation of your time, money, connections, etc. can be toward a cause that you are passionate about. I am producing the Marquee Dj and Photo Booth conference in Chicago this upcoming July. A portion of all of the profit will be donated to the new 501c3 charity that I am starting. The goal of this entire charity is to help kids and families in need.

As you make your New Year’s resolutions / goals for 2018, I hope that giving back to something that you are passionate about makes your list.

Keith KoKoruz Owner Windy City Wedding Show / Badger State Bridal Expo

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