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It’s Saturday night, and the feeling is right

Nite Spot Nightclub and Lounge fills the dance floor

Created date

December 9th, 2013
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When you step into the Nite Spot, you step back in time. Listen and sing along to live American standards and Scandinavian tunes. Laugh at jokes or tell your own; it s open mic. Or head to the dance floor if the rhythm moves you. No, you re not in Las Vegas or even New York City. You re at Cedar Crest, an Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, N.J. And you re surrounded by neighbors and friends.

Music and dance

Bert Stromholm first opened the Nite Spot Nightclub the precursor to the lounge six years ago when he first moved to Cedar Crest. A musician all his life, Bert wanted to bring his passion for music and dance to his new neighbors. A self-proclaimed ham, Bert wasted no time in promoting his idea and soon had between 150 and 200 guests on opening night. Cedar Crest staff helped him arrange use of the on-site conference room, which would accommodate a crowd of that size leaving room for a six-piece orchestra and a dance floor, of course. I promote like nobody else, Bert says with an ever-present smile on his face. I always have fliers on me [to hand out], and I promote at happy hours, when people are happy. He especially promotes non-couple dances, like the Alley Cat and Bird Dance, which really please the crowd, he says. They really let their hair down. Since opening the nightclub six years ago, he has hosted 19 dances, which each have a theme and feature a live orchestra of accordion, guitar, sax, trombone, and drums. Bert, the only band member who lives at Cedar Crest, leads as accordionist. He has played with the other band members throughout his musical career. Bert begins each dance with a sing-a-long, because if you can t dance, at least you can sing, he says. Then he teaches dances so guests can participate. Then everyone is smiling. This past February, Bert opened the Nite Spot Lounge, a smaller rendition of the nightclub. It s like in Vegas you have the nightclub and the lounge, he says. The lounge, held in Cedar Crest s catering room, can accommodate around 95 people. The night consists of live music accordion, guitar, and harmonica played by resident Hal Wehner; open mic for telling jokes; sing-a-longs; and dancing. The dance floor was filled with dancers throughout the evening, Bert says. And new neighbors Emily and Alpha Chiang gave a beautiful demonstration of ballroom dancing. We have been serious dancers taking lessons for about 20 years, Alpha says. He and Emily moved to Cedar Crest in November 2012 from White Plains, N.Y. He says they chose Cedar Crest to prepare for the future but also for its size and social opportunities. The couple has just begun teaching ballroom dancing to a small group of neighbors. They attend the nightclubs whenever it fits their schedule for a chance to dance the night away. My only regret is that we could not accommodate everyone who wanted to come. We sold out very quickly, he adds. Bert opens the nightclub about every three months; the lounge is open during the months in between.

Can t beat it!

Bert keeps the prices reasonable: $7 for the nightclub and $3 for the lounge, which help pay for the other band members. For New Year s Eve, Bert opened the nightclub for the special occasion. Though the nightclub and lounge are usually casual dress, guests dressed up to celebrate the New Year. Bert truly enjoys hosting the nightclub and lounge. We had 40 people on the floor dancing. It just gives you a fulfilling feeling, he says. Aside from hosting and playing at the Nite Spot Nightclub and Lounge, Bert plays accordion three times a week at other locations outside Cedar Crest. He s played accordion professionally since age 18; however, music has never been his main profession. I was in the construction business. I was project manager for Newark Airport, he says. Now, with the time and freedom afforded in retirement, he enjoys his music, making it his main gig.

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