Centra State does an annual event called “The Service Awards Dinner”. They honor employees who have been with them on five year increments. So this year’s event honored those who had started in 2006, 2001, 1996 etc. All the way back to 1971 which is the year they began. I’ve had the pleasure of DJing this event many times through the years and it’s always tons of fun. There’s a feeling of looseness in the room that you can tell comes from a bunch of people who work in a high pressure type environment and now that they are out . . . look out! They want to cut loose and party!
The evening began wonderfully with a blessing from Pastor Willie Thorpe. Pastor Thorpe happens to be blind so when he started with, “How’s everyone doing tonight? You all look great” he got a pretty good laugh. But then he followed it up by saying, “I see with my heart. Sometimes it’s better to see with your heart than with your eyes.” I loved that statement and when I got home after the event I put it up on my Facebook page.
After dinner the awards began and they started with 2006. Centra State asks me to find a song from each year that would be fun to bring the employees up to. The obvious choice for 2006 was “Sexyback.” For 2001 (The 10 Year Honorees) we played Pink’s “Get This Party Started”. These are the two largest groups with over 80 honorees from each year. For the 15 Year Honorees we played “C’mon Ride the Train” and for the 20 Year’s we did C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat”. Now came the 25 Year Honorees (and there were still a handful of them). We played James Brown’s “Living In America” from 1986 and the crowd loved it. For 30 years “Celebration” was the no brainer song and for 35 years we did the #4 song from 1976, The Four Season’s “Oh What a Night”. Which brought us back to 1971 and 2 Honorees. We had the Three Dog Night song “Joy to the World” cued right to the chorus and the 300+ attendees all stood and waved their dinner napkins as they sang along. It was a great moment that led right into our opening dance set.
Centra State must be a cool place to work because their parties are always lots of fun. We had a solid hour of dancing at the end of the night and you literally could barely move on the dance floor. Along with fellow Elite Entertainer Chuck Crerand we played everything from new to old, rock to club and Latin to country. By 10:30 everyone was hot, sweaty and exhausted. And ready to hit the road.
I look forward to my next event with Centra State.
Photos courtesy of Ron Wyatt Photography