Jessica and Aaron’s ThorpeWood wedding
On June 16th I was the first of our crew to play an event at ThorpeWood, a beautiful wilderness hideaway in the Catoctin Mountains of Frederick County, Maryland. Since I’d been getting to know Jessica and Aaron, the location made sense once I arrived, as their enthusiasm for nature matched the gorgeous woodland setting.
Once I was off of Route 40, I wound my way up a narrow mountain road surrounded by deep forest occasionally broken with hiking trails, my ears popping with increased elevation. To be as close to Frederick proper, it feels quite remote. The ceremony location itself was in a secluded glen that required golf carts to reach, so I busied myself with setting up my gear in the lodge.
Julie of ThorpeWood greeted me and offered to help lug some gear. She feigned offense when I wouldn’t task her with the heaviest pieces. Her good cheer was one of the many elements that made ThorpeWood charming. I also had a large owl over my DJ setup, presumably to prevent meddling from any small, mischievous mammals.
The lodge was decorated with family memorabilia and heartwarming candid photos of Jessica and Aaron in the outdoors. The only thing that detracted from the photos was disappointment that the four legged friends in a few of the shots didn’t actually attend the wedding. They could have hung out by the hearth and jumped in the family photo.
I shared entertainment duties with a bagpiper who greeted arriving guests, a lively Celtic band and a young pianist who set the mood for cocktails and the early portion of dinner. Once I took over, I meshed some of my own selections with the couple’s picks, a combination that yielded songs from Louis Armstrong, Keb’ Mo’, Esperanza Spalding, Maktub, 4hero and Charlie Byrd to name a few.
The family style dinner featured delicious seasonal and fresh veggie dishes prepared by Canapés Catering. I was glad that I had a chance to enjoy it myself.
Jessica and Aaron turned their first dance into a cheeky bit of fun. They put their well-practiced waltz skills on display with Norah Jones‘ “Come Away With Me” before jumping into a wild merengue that they found on a mix by DJ Luiska. We set this up ahead of time and I created a custom edit that made the timing just right for them to pull it off.
Spirits were high when it was time to party so I set things off with a sequence of Chuck Brown’s “Bustin’ Loose”, Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and Katrina & The Waves‘ “Walking on Sunshine” that got the room moving.
A few other high points included Santana’s “Smooth”, Sugarhill Gang’s “Rappers’ Delight” and “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” by The Brian Setzer Orchestra.
A break in the dancing for announcements presented a quandry that turned into a gift. It allowed me to shift into some slower music for partner dancing that was greatly appreciated by the elders in the room. Even the younger folks got into it, proving that class and tenderness are ageless virtues. A few of those selections included Mel Tormé’s rendition of “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and “It Had To Be You” by Steve Tyrell. I transitioned out of this set by mixing Peggy Lee’s “Fever” with its reconstructed boogaloo version, the Amphibious remix of “Fievre!” by La Lupe.
Last song of the night was DJ’s choice so I wrapped up Jessica and Aaron’s ThorpeWood wedding with Sam Cooke’s “Save The Last Dance For Me” and it struck the perfect note.