How the Turn Tables: School DJ’s Cale and Calin and how they prepare for dances and events

How DJs make the crowd dance


While most students are getting ready, going to dinner and hanging out with friends before school dances, seniors Cale Buck and Calin Cornell are spending around 30 hours setting up the stage, sound system, lights, speakers, and playlists for everyone to enjoy the dance. A lot of the work they do before their shows go unrecognized.

     “People don’t realize being a DJ isn’t just hitting shuffle on the playlist and walking away,” Cornell said. 

     To him, being a DJ involves commitment, thinking, and time. 

    “You can’t be lazy,” Cornell said. “You have to have plenty of time to give to it because you’re going to be at the school late no matter what.”

     Picking out music can also be a struggle when trying to figure out what everyone will like.

     “People don’t understand how hard and stressful it is,” Cornell said. 

    These two seniors put a lot of work and effort into making a fun dance for people to enjoy. 

     One of the hardest parts about being a DJ is knowing when to make a transition. “You have to feel out the crowd,” Cornell said “Sometimes the song goes well, sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t go well you gotta know when to switch it fast enough.” He also says,“We come up with our own transitions to do between songs, beat matching or two songs that have a similar intro or rhythm to it.” 

     Aside from all of the hard pieces to DJ-ing, there are fun and rewarding parts too. During the dance, students get to see people enjoying the work and effort of the DJ’s.

     “One of the most rewarding parts is when [they] get to turn off the lights and see everything all put together,” Buck said.

     “The most rewarding and relaxing part for Cornell is “the three hours of calm before you have to clean everything up.” 

     In order to keep yourself going, some inspiration is relevant. Buck had a former teacher, Carter Roser, to influence him. For Cornell, he says his inspiration came from seeing other people have fun doing it and thought he should try himself. 

     “He also enjoys “setting up and organizing things and that’s about 90% of what it is.” 

      Mr. Engel, the director of the school DJ’s, says he inherited his responsibility from a past assistant principal. He thought it would be a good fit for him because he likes music. Engel says we have students DJ instead of paying for one because, “it’s a two for one, students get to transfer their skills from Mr. Welsh into outside of school activities.” 

     Engel believes Cale and Calin will continue to DJ after high school, considering “they are currently doing it at the skate rink at the YMCA.”