DJs dress for theme of every event

Published on: December 10, 2010

By Penny Fletcher

SOUTH COUNTY – The saying “Dress for Success” takes on a whole new meaning when you’re talking about Larry and Darlene Meadows.

When this couple hires on to DJ a gig, they go all out. You can count on them to come fully costumed and carrying props for any occasion.

Some things they don’t have to carry anymore, however, include their hundred-pound box of CDs and sound equipment.

“Larry has put 20,000 songs on computer,” Darlene said. “He’s simplified everything.”

Darlene has been a disc jockey and line dance instructor for most of her life. She and her late husband Ron performed together, beginning in Chicago in 1971.

“She worked an event three days after he died,” Larry said. “She’s a real trooper. She put his hat right up on the stage and did everything herself.”

As it turned out, there were 16 events booked during the 30 days immediately following Ron’s death and Darlene went through with every one of them.     

“I needed to work,” she explained. “And it was good for me.”

Larry and Darlene met at Thunderbird Lanes in Ruskin when she was president of a  bowling league. They knew right away they had a lot in common. Both of them teach line dance, and Larry’s computer savvy fit right in with Darlene’s DJ work.

The former general contractor says he’s had a lot of experience working with computer programs and math. After he retired at 55, he delved into computer programming.

“Before Larry put everything on computer, I was carrying huge boxes of CDs and equipment,” Darlene said. “They were very heavy, and loading and unloading them from the car was very time consuming. Besides, they took up a lot of room in the house.”

Larry spent 6 months converting everything to computer. He checked out a lot of DJ programs on line and uploaded music popular in every decade from 1900 to 2011.

“If you can’t dance to it, she (Darlene) usually rejects it,” he said.

The couple takes on gigs all over Florida, mostly in places around the South County area.

They’ll be at the New Year’s Eve dance in Kings Point Borini Theater, and plan to DJ every Wednesday evening in 2011 at the Sun City Center Dance Club. They’re also set to DJ for a Valentine wedding.

It won’t be their first Valentine’s Day wedding. Their own wedding was a Valentine’s Day surprise almost four years ago.

“Only about 30 of the 250 people there knew (in advance) we were actually getting married that night,” Darlene said. “Our children and grandchildren and some friends who helped us set up knew, but everybody else just thought Larry was going to propose some time during the night on stage.”

The red and white theme of Valentine’s Day was everywhere. They had told people to come as brides, and all kinds of brides were represented.

“I wanted to be sure all my line dance classes were there,” she said. “One woman came as a pregnant bride, and then there were the seven brides (from the biblical acount).”

Everyone paid for tickets to what they thought was a Valentine’s Day dance.

Then at intermission, Darlene disappeared and changed from her Valentine’s Day clothes into her bridal gown and her daughter rolled out a red carpet. “People still thought it was so Larry could propose,” she said.

But instead of a proposal, the couple said “I do,” as the Rev. Harry Benter read their vows.

After the wedding, they went right back to work as DJs for the party.

They’ve dressed as hippies and zombies and a lot of other things and keep their costumes ready for any occasion.

“We’re constantly adding costumes and props,” Darlene said.

The couple recently won the costume contest at a German Fasching party.

“We’re not shy,” Larry said. “Even if we’re on vacation and there’s a chance to get up on a stage, we usually do it.”

When they’re not working as dance teachers or disc jockeys or setting up for parties, they visit their (combined) 7 children and travel to various parts of the globe.

They also like trying new things, like zip lining 500-feet in the air in the Dominican Republic. (And they have a photograph to back that up!)

The couple lives in the Kings Point community of Sun City Center and may be reached at (813) 633-7173.