Sunday, November 21, 2010

Opulent Wedding Reception at the Elkins Estate

This past Saturday, November 6th, Ambient DJ crossed state lines to provide the music and entertainment at the new Mr. and Mrs. Eric and Ji-May Jen's wedding reception. The reception was held at the opulent Elkins Estate in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. The 42-acre estate contains five buildings, the most notable being Elstowe Manor and Chelten House, both Horace Trumbauer designed mansions. Elstowe Manor was the summer home of William L. Elkins, a prominent Philadelphian businessman who was integral in the formation of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and SEPTA.

The reception was held in Elstowe Manor, a 45 room manor built in the style of Italian High Renaissance. Eric and Ji-May chose to have their grand entrance and first dance in the foyer, with the bridal party entering down the grand staircase in dramatic fashion. The parents of the bride and groom entered to Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out" which I then mixed in to "Mo Money, Mo Problems" for the bridal party members. Eric and Ji-May entered to the chorus of Jagged Edge's "Let's Get Married" (remix), and then enjoyed their first dance to a special edit of the Foo Fighter's "Everlong" (acoustic version). After taking a group photo in the foyer, the guests walked up a short carpeted staircase into the grand ballroom - a very long space with perhaps 20 foot high ceilings.

The room was configured in 3 sections: the front area is where the bulk of the guests sat at large circular tables. The middle section contained the Sweetheart Table and long rectangular tables for the bridal party. The dance floor and DJ booth were located at the back of the ballroom. Of note, the side walls of the middle section, as well as the back wall (behind the DJ booth) were covered with 16 foot high pipe and drape (i.e., curtaining) that was uplit in blue to match the color of Ji-May's bridesmaids dresses. The wedding cake, the Sweetheart table and select other table centerpieces were accentuated with pinspotting. The wedding cake in fact looked like a piece of art (see photo below). Ambient DJ backlit its facade in blue, matching the uplighting of the pipe and drape. Finally, the side walls of the dance floor area were wood-paneled, and uplit in amber. The combined effect of the room was jaw-dropping modern grandeur!

Eric, the groom, made a welcoming speech and gave guests an outline of the event: six meal courses and eight speeches in what was described as a "foodcentric" wedding. Catering company Feastivities ( did an awesome job of efficiently running through the six courses, allowing plenty of time for open dancing. Our MC Brian D. skillfully navigated guests through an ambitious program of speeches, food courses and contests. After several courses, we displayed a video slideshow on our largest screen (10 foot horizontal). Thereafter, the screen was removed, revealing the DJ booth and dance floor.

The dancing kicked in, and kicked in hard at around 9 PM. The dancefloor was electrified with energy and packed with younger guests. The bride and groom were right in the heart of the action! Several outstanding breakdancers dazzled guests with their savvy execution of moves such as the windmill. My early club set featured tracks like DJ's Got Us Fallin' in Love (Serafin RMX) - Usher, Dynamite - Taio Cruz, Stereo Love - Edward Maya, Like a G6 - Far East Movement. Later in the evening, I mixed more 90s hip hop and R&B, and a late night performance of of Danzel's "Pump it Up" took the party to the next level. The evening concluded at 11 PM with sweaty guests dancing to Donna Summer's "Last Dance" and an encore performance of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer."

Brian and I received a commendation from a smiling bride and groom at night's end. It is always rewarding to take on a challenging engagement and then deliver the client's vision. Eric and Ji-May's wedding will surely rank as one of the most memorable of 2010. It was a privilege spending time in Elstowe Manor, an opulent setting far removed from my daily experiences in the New Jersey suburbs.

I would also like to shout-out videographer Jack Dempsey of Kleer Video Productions ( who we worked closely with throughout the evening.

Contact Ambient DJ at or 609.672.1270 to discuss planning your own dream reception! You can become a fan on our Facebook page at Ambient DJ Service, or on Twitter at AmbientDJs. Finally, our corporate website is

Silent Auction - John Paul Geijer Foundation benefiting Prostate Cancer

On Saturday November 20th, Ambient DJ provided music at a silent auction held at Hightstown Engine Co. #1 in Hightstown, NJ. This event was a fundraiser benefiting the John Paul Geijer (pronounced 'guy-er') Memorial Foundation. John Paul Geijer was a family man of Hightstown who was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in 2003, and passed away in 2006 after a courageous fight. Born in Ohio in 1940, John's life work included coaching sports for some thirty years for his son, John, and daughter, Jacqueline, as well as teaching religious education at St. Anthony of Padua in Hightstown. Additional details of John's story can be read here.

The goal of the Foundation is to save lives and prevent others from the ravages of prostate cancer. For example, the Foundation funds prostate cancer screenings for those in financial need. It also has established prostate cancer libraries in local hospitals. According to statistics, one in six American males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime! Yes, this is bad news, but the good news is that if detected early, prostate cancer is highly treatable. That is why it is so critical to get tested early and often, before the cancer becomes metastatic, spreading to other areas of the body.

Many people turned out for the event, to support a great cause and also for a chance to take home some outstanding items donated by local businesses and individuals. After dining on a delicious spread of food, guests were offered three opportunities to win:

(1) door prizes announced throughout the evening;
(2) "tricky trays" - guests placed tickets in bags for items of interest, with a winner drawn by random; and
(3) silent auction - using their assigned registration #, guests bid on items of interest. There was an extensive inventory of items, including sports memorabilia, toys, designer sunglasses, a dinner cruise, restaurant gift certificates and DVD sets.

In terms of my job, I played dinner music - primarily oldies, and then moved into more upbeat fare while guests were bidding, creating an exciting auction environment. I also shared emceeing duties, keeping guests informed about the rules, and gently motivating them to bid generously!

At 8 PM, bidding was closed, and Terri Geiger (John's wife) took the microphone and did a great job of drawing the prize winners for the Tricky Trays and getting the silent auction winners checked out. After Terri's announcements were concluded, I fielded requests and kept the children entertained with current dance hits by the likes of the Black Eyed Peas and Justin Bieber.

I was quite excited that my bid was sufficient to win a four hour private cruise on a 1962 yacht around New York Harbor for up to four people! I also won a "30 Rock" prize pack, with DVD packages for all four seasons, at a bargain price. Unfortunately, somebody outbid me in the final moment for an amazing DVD prize package with crime drama seasons including Miami Vice and NYPD Blue.

To follow and support the ongoing activities of The John Paul Geijer Memorial Foundation, you can join their Facebook Fan Page, or else visit Thank you to all who came out to support this great cause!

Monday, November 1, 2010

What are the Odds? 2010's Double Dose of Twin Weddings.

As DJs, we strive to win business over the long-term and become the "family DJ." In 2010, I had the opportunity to become the family DJ for two unique families, but on an accelerated basis. The first, the Lohmann sisters (Holly and Julie) are twin sisters. They were both married in 2010 - Holly and Tim were married on April 17th, while Julie and Tyler were married on September 18th. Holly had her reception at the Olde York Country Club ( in Chesterfield, NJ, while Julie had hers at the Inn at Fernbrook Farms ( (also in Chesterfield). Both reception sites were amazing choices for their rustic country settings, great service and food.

I also had the opportunity to DJ the weddings of another set of twin sisters in 2010 - Jennie and Katie Serenelli. Imagine the excitement for the Serenelli family as both sisters were married in July! Coincidentally, Jennie and Chris had their reception on July 10th at the Olde York Country Club in Chesterfield, the site of the first Lohmann wedding! Katie and Marc's reception was held further south at the Pennsauken Country Club on July 31st.

Twin sisters tend to have similar personalities, and even musical tastes. At least, this was the case for Julie & Holly; and Jennie and Katie. I did take great care to avoid duplicating tracks from the other sister's wedding where possible. It was also nice to see many familiar faces during the second performance in each series. My recollection is that Holly and Julie are identical twins, while Jennie and Katie are not. Regardless, each twin sister bore an uncanny resemblance to the other - it was convenient that at each reception one sister wore a white wedding dress to help avoid any confusion!

My only regret is that I was unable to get photographed with each set of twin sisters - these photos would have made a nice addition to this blog entry. The photo below features Holly toasting her sister Julie at the Inn at Fernbrook Farms.

DJ Jagged's Top 20 of Fall 2010

Ambient's Gregg Hollmann, aka DJ Jagged, submits his Top 20 dance floor hits of Fall 2010. Mr. Jagged's musical genome includes preferences for electronic dance music, international influences, alternative rock, grunge and provocative hip hop. Musically well-rounded, DJ Jagged excels in diverse party environments, ranging from mainstream family affairs - to formal events - to underground house parties.

In countdown fashion, here's the list. Drumroll, please.......

20) I Remember - DeadMau5 & Kaskade
19) The Suburbs - Arcade Fire
18) Rad Anthem - Rad Omen
17) Xxxo - M.I.A.
16) Lil Freak - Usher f/Nikki Minaj
15) 99 Problems - Hugo
14) Hot Tottie - Usher w/Jay-Z
13) One - Swedish House Mafia
12) Deuces - Chris Brown f/Tyga and Kevin McCall
11) B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast) - Rick Ross
10) Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) - Shakira
9) Club Can't Handle Me - David Guetta and Flo Rida
8) Misery - Maroon 5
7) We No Speak Americano - Yolanda and Dcup
6) Keep it Goin' Louder (DJ Alvaro Remix) - Major Lazer
5) Like a G6 - Far East Movement
4) Bad Romance (Grum Remix) - Lady Gaga
3) DJ's Got Us Fallin' in Love Again (Serafin Remix) - Usher
2) Dynamite - Taio Cruz
1) Stereo Love (Paki & Jaro Remix) - Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina

Classics in Rotation

1) Zombie Nation - Kernkraft 400 (Seasonal Selection)
2) Electric Feel - MGMT
3) Welcome to Jam Rock - Damian "Gong" Marley
4) That's the Way I Like It - K.C. & the Sunshine Band
5) Mystic Voyage - Roy Ayers
6) That Girl - Stevie Wonder
7) Waiting for Your Love - Onda
8) The Breaks - Kurtis Blow
9) Sucker M.C.'s - Run-DMC
10) Last Night a DJ Saved My Life - Indeep
11) Cali Spaces - Mark Farina
12) Valerie - Amy Winehouse

To book DJ Jagged for your next party, contact or call 609.672.1270. To view his bio, click here.

To view his track list for 2010's Halloween Mix CD "Zombiance" click here.