DJing @ the Athens College Alumni Association Reunion Party: A Rundown

DJing @ the Athens College Alumni Association Reunion Party: A Rundown

Today, I talk a little bit about how I went from playing at a few Georgetown parties with a couple dozen of students to playing at my high school's reunion party with over 600 people.

It all starts with an email to my high school alumni association: "I would be interested in being a DJ at the big reunion party on June 9th," I say. When sending the email, I thought the probability I would get a response (let alone a yes) was close to zero.

2 days later, I get a reply: "The alumni association would be interested to discuss having you as a DJ; you will be receiving a phone call from our Vice President in charge of the music soon." Soon after, I receive the call. I am honest with the VP: I tell him my prior experience was a handful of parties at Georgetown playing what I call bangers or what is better known as dance music (Flo Rida, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Swedish House Mafia). The VP (who was also going to be one of the DJs for the night) says: "Perfect! That's the music I like. You're in."

I can't believe it. Excited does not properly describe how I feel. I am over the moon. But I also know the great responsibility that I have just taken on. In a month, I would be playing for a much larger audience than I had ever played for, for a very different audience, and at an event of much bigger significance.

For the next month, I work. I work to improve my understanding of music theory, including beats, bars, and phrases. I work to learn the basics of transitioning between songs, even if such songs are of a different genre, different tempo, and/or different key. I find software that allows me to download songs on my laptop instead of streaming the songs from the internet. I build a special playlist for the event based on the audience. The playlist includes dance music (what I mentioned above) and 1970s-1990s disco (picture Rasputin, Staying Alive, You Keep me Hanging On). And then I practice the set of songs and transitions between them over and over again.

The day of the event comes. I'm pumped to put my acquired skills to the test. The event starts at 22:00 with an opening DJ playing from 22:00 to 23:00 (yes, I have a DJ playing before me as an opener). There are 3 main DJs (the VP in charge of music, myself, and a fellow alumnus). We go on stage at 23:00. Since the crowd is large, and the three of us are feeling it, we decide to start playing bangers from the very beginning (instead of slowly transitioning into them), which is a great choice after all. Surprisingly, I am not nervous; I am having a blast, focusing on playing great songs and enjoying the music that I and the other DJs are playing. The crowd is having a superb time: younger and older alumni (including my dad) on the dance floor dancing to all time classics. The atmosphere is better than anything I would have hoped for.

The peak is around 12:30, since soon after that we start getting multiple phone calls from the local police asking us to turn the volume down. There are noise complaints from neighboring houses who have adolescents studying for the upcoming national university entrance exams. At around 1:00, we comply with the requests and turn the volume down, not before I am able to play Voulez-Vouz by ABBA. Despite the significantly lowered volume, people are still vibing way into the night, with the final people leaving around 3:30.

I am honored that I played a part in my high school's reunion party. Stay tuned since this will not be the last time I DJ at a major event.