Easton, Md. – For multi-op DJ owners, it’s always a challenge keeping a stock of talented entertainers. They either venture out on their own, or they’re young college-age kids who graduate into different careers.
The latter is true for Patrick Eckrich, Steve Moody’s 19-year-old DJ phenom who was recently awarded the company’s DJ of the Year Award, for receiving the most 5 Star Reviews on WeddingWire and The Knot, combined with thank-you letters and referrals from clients.
“In his initial season of 2015, he won our Rookie of the Year Award,” says Moody, who owns the Entertainment Connection in Maryland’s Eastern Shore area. “This year he also won a small cash bonus as he had the best ratio of weddings to reviews. There is no doubt in my mind he is just going to head for the stars. All of the workers at the venues tell me privately how amazing he is when he works with them. He is the kind of employee that everyone dreams of having on their team.”
But if you had asked Eckrich a few years ago that he’d be a DJ, working weddings, he would have told you, “No way!”
Says Eckrich: “But once Steve asked me to come on board, I fell in love with it immediately. I like the positive energy that comes out of working with everybody in the wedding industry. When you show up, right from the get-go, everybody is so happy and positive. Obviously it’s the bride and groom’s big stressful day, and Steve, obviously, has a lot of positive energy, and always does. I love that—going in there and having fun and making sure everyone has a great time. When people come up to you and tell you they had an awesome time, that makes you feel pretty good about what you did.”
Two years ago, Eckrich was in high school, and lived three doors down from Moody’s family. They went to the same church together.
“I got to know him, and he came around and asked if I’d like to come on board as a DJ assistant,” says Eckrich. “I thought that’d be great. And then when I saw what he actually does, and how happy he made people feel, I definitely wanted to do that.”
“When people come up to you and tell you they had an awesome time, that makes you feel pretty good about what you did.”
– Patrick Eckrich
So Eckrich started as an assistant, loading in and tearing down, and also helped with music for intros, for cocktail hour and dinner. “And then when we got to the dancefloor part,” he recalls, “I picked up on how to read a crowd and program the night, keep them on the floor, and more importantly, stick to the timeline and coordinate with everybody.”
Eckrich says there was a learning curve, but he picked up on it pretty easily. “I think that’s why I love this job so much,” he says.
When Eckrich graduated from assistant—he did more than 200 gigs—to lead MC, there were jitters. “Any time you get up to the major leagues you feel nervous,” he says. “You always remember your first wedding, they say—and, for me, thank God it was smooth. The night went well and I got a good review from the bride. I couldn’t wait to do it again. It was so much fun.”
Now, 40 weddings later, he feels like a pro. Sure, there was that one event where the ceremony portion was far from where the reception was going to be. Usually, that’s not a big deal, but the power source was more than 100 yards away. “If I knew that in advance, I bring a battery box,” he says, noting that he ran 100 yards of extension cord to get power. “That caught me off guard.”
But otherwise, it’s been smooth with packed dancefloors and positive reviews. “I look at the crowd and see what they’re responding to,” he says. “I’ll ask the bride what kind of music she’s into, and that’ll give you some guidance. But be it a rock-n-roll crowd, oldies, current pop, whatever, whatever they fill the poor with, I play more of that! If they fill the floor for slower songs, I program more slower songs throughout the night.”
And for his company’s DJ of the Year Award? I was really surprised,” he says. “I honestly didn’t know I had that many reviews. I’m super-fortunate and blessed to know I’m doing a good job at what I’m doing.”
Alas, DJing, at least full-time, won’t be in the cards for Eckrich. He’s currently an intern with the Maryland State Police, with an ultimate career goal of being a Maryland state trooper. Next year, when he turns 21, he’ll be old enough to go into the academy.
“I’ve always known since I was little that I wanted to be a cop,” he says. “I have a lot of family members in law enforcement and in the military – it’s another job where I can help people.”
And are there similarities between being a state trooper and DJing? “Absolutely,” he says. “You can have a very positive effect on someone’s life. I’m a big believer in loving what you do. Both jobs are fun. You don’t want to do a job that you don’t like, because if you do, then you won’t do a good job at it.”