Freshen Up The Holiday Tunes – Redux

Thursday, December 10th, 2009 at 4:35 PM by Jason Spencer   

Last Friday, I posted how many companies are downsizing the holiday parties this year.  Because this budget cut often comes with a price, your holiday entertainment (DJ, band or otherwise) may come from and iPod.  I offered a list of twenty songs that I feel should become part of the mix, along with the traditional tunes we’ve all become accustomed to over the years.

The list I gave you contains twenty tracks that I suggest for freshening up your holiday library, all for downloading around $20 at or iTunes.

Today, I caught wind that iTunes has released the iTunes Holiday Sampler, and currently it’s a FREE iTunes LP download (Released December 8, 2009).  Now you have twenty more tracks that you can add into the list that I gave you last week (technically 19, iTunes and I both agreed on Lady Antebellum’s version of Baby It’s Cold Outside).

I’m not going to list them all here, you can do that at the iTunes store.  However, having browsed through the list (and downloaded it myself), here are some of my favorites:

  1. We Wish You A Merry Christmas by Weezer
  2. Twelve Days of Chrismas by Mexicani Marimba Band
  3. O Holy Night by Music Soulchild
  4. It Snowed by Meaghan Smith
  5. Greensleeves by Vince Guarald
  6. Carol of the Bells / Jingle Bells by Barry Manilow
  7. Auld Lang Syne by The Lonesome Travelers

I especially like my #7 pick here.  The Lonesome Travelers put a very interesting twist on the traditional New Year’s Eve traditional song, so much that I didn’t even recognize the song at first.  Regardless, it’s a great addition.

The additional kick of the iTunes LP (and added support for Apple TV) makes it a great addition for anyone using this album at home, or wanting to learn the lyrics word for word.  I’m a fan of the iTunes LP album format.

Have a song that didn’t make either of these two lists?  Let me know in the comments, or feel free to give Spencer Weddings and Entertainment a call at (408) 426-8117.

And remember, here are still some dates left for December, and of course you wouldn’t be the first company to save some money throwing a party after the new year.

Until next time, Mele Kalikimaka and Feliz Navidad.

Jason Spencer
Owner & Entertainment Director
Spencer Weddings and Entertainment

Freshen Up The Holiday Tunes

Friday, December 4th, 2009 at 7:50 PM by Jason Spencer   

This holiday season many companies are downsizing their corporate parties.  Some are making them employees only (no spouse/significant other), opting for appetizer platters instead of full meals, holding them in their own office buildings, disguising them as a “holiday lunch” during work hours, or in some cases, they will do away with the party all together.

Chritstmas Tree In SnowMany of my catering friends, like Gunther’s in Campbell or Bird of Paradise in Carmel, tell me that the biggest trend they see are companies that save by ordering trays and platters that can be delivered and dropped off to any location.  From a catering standpoint, this can significantly reduce the cost of your food.

If you are holding your party in-house, you have probably opted to forgo the DJ/entertainment this year.  However, when it comes to the holiday music, not everyone wants to hear Dean Martin sing “White Christmas” all night long, year after year.

While I love the classics, they do become stale when you perform twenty or more holiday parties.  Here are some of my suggestions to freshen up (or rekindle) your holiday library for around $20 at or iTunes (remember to be caution of overloading on “Christmas” themed song):

  1. My Favorite Things by Rod Stewart
  2. White Christmas by Michael Buble
  3. City of Silver Dreams by Sugarland
  4. Wish You Well by A Fine Frenzy<
  5. Summertime Anthem by Jonas Brothers
  6. Feliz Navidad by El Vez
  7. Nuttin’ For Christmas by Sugarland
  8. Silent Night by Taylor Swift
  9. Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Lady Antebellum
  10. Someday at Christmas by Jack Johnson
  11. Same Old Lang Syn by Dan Fogelberg
  12. Winter Wonderland by Toby Keith
  13. Mele Kalikimaka by Chris Isaak
  14. Little Drummer Boy by Sean Kingston
  15. A Holly Jolly Christmas by Matt Brouwer
  16. Up On The Housetop by Jackson 5
  17. The Nutcracker Suite by Brian Setzer Orchestra
  18. Christmas Song (Live) by Dave Matthews Band
  19. Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson
  20. It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Harry Connick Jr.

Feel free to add these tracks into your current collection (just put them in iTunes with the others you already might have), put it on shuffle, and let it go.

Globe LightsOf course, if you are still looking for entertainment at your personal or company holiday party, feel free to give Spencer Weddings and Entertainment a call at (408) 426-8117 and check for date availability.  There are still some dates left for December, and of course you wouldn’t be the first company to save some money throwing a party after the new year.

Until next time, Mele Kalikimaka and Feliz Navidad.

Jason Spencer
Owner & Entertainment Director
Spencer Weddings and Entertainment

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What’s Your Backup Plan?

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 at 3:54 AM by Jason Spencer   

My wife and I live in a great NY Style loft located in Santa Clara.  High 30ft ceilings, lots of natural light through our windows, and one bathroom.  What?  Yes, I said one bathroom.  In all fairness, these are live-work lofts, and certainly not designed for families.  In nearly five years, we’ve never run into any problems.  That was until last Thursday night when the extremely hard water finally corroded the lever that turns the water on and off in our shower.  Snapped right off when I turned on the water.  After the shock subsided, I grabbed some screwdrivers and other tools to turn the lever back down to the off position.  Then the real question set in – “How do I fix this?”

Shower NozzelFortunately, we have a good friend who has an entire family of plumbers (two brothers and a dad).  Unfortunately, the timing of getting them out for repair is at least a week.  Not wanting to sponge bath many days in a row, my mind went into temporary fix mode.  We didn’t always live in a loft, so we had a garden hose in storage.  Add the spray nozzle (with an ironic “shower” setting) and an adapter from our fish tank cleaning tool that connects the host to the sink, and suddenly we have a temporary working shower.  Surprisingly, it even has more water pressure than the original shower – an added bonus.

That got me thinking – what are your vendor’s backup plans for your wedding day? Did you even remember to ask them the “what if” question when you met with them during the decision phase?  When I’m discussing my services, I break this into two parts.  The Guarantee and the Backup Equipment.

I’ll start with the Backup Equipment.  The answer should be “yes” – if it’s anything other than an affirmative response, run for the door.  Ideally your DJ will have a complete extra sound system in his or her vehicle.  By complete, that means extra cables, mixer board, laptop, CD player, or whatever components make up their system.  If a DJ says he brings extra speakers, see if they are self-powered.  If not, make sure they bring an extra power amp.

The Guarantee should be written into the contract itself.  (You did get a written contract, right?)  This is a provision that says you are entitled to your money back if you are not provided the services for which you paid.  Often times this is described as a Limited Liability clause.  This basically says that if your DJ doesn’t do what’s agreed upon in the contract, you will get some portion of your money back.  Your contract should also state the name of the performer(s) at your event, and not just “Assigned DJ” or similar.

My guarantee also states that if, for any reason, I cannot perform the functions set forth in the contract, I’ll give you your money back and find you a comparable replacement — which is paid for by me.  Now, this typically will mean that I’m in shacked up in the hospital (or worse) and cannot, under any circumstance, make your event.  It DOES NOT mean that I have the flu – that’s why they make DayQuil.

You only get one shot to make your day memorable and special.  Make sure it’s a positive memory.  Have your backup plan, and have it in writing.

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Brides and Grooms Agree On High Quality Fun

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 at 1:33 PM by Jason Spencer   

SANTA CLARA, California — October 29, 2009 — WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, has just announced that Spencer Weddings and Entertainment is officially WeddingWire Rated 2009! WeddingWire created the annual Rated program to honor wedding professionals, like Spencer Weddings and Entertainment, for their excellence and to help brides and grooms easily find the right wedding professionals to match their needs.

wwRated_2009-badge“We are excited to unveil WeddingWire Rated 2009, now in its third year. With hundreds of thousands of reviews, WeddingWire has made it easy for engaged couples to find the nation’s very best wedding professionals,” according to Sonny Ganguly, WeddingWire’s Chief Marketing Officer. “WeddingWire Rated is an excellent way for businesses to showcase their continued success in the wedding industry.”

Spencer Weddings and Entertainment is a WeddingWire Featured Vendor with a perfect 5.0 rating, making owner Jason Spencer eligible to hold the Rated title on the WeddingWire Network.

Each review has been written by former clients and includes detailed ratings and insightful descriptions of their experiences with my services. These reviews not only enhance credibility, but also help differentiate my business within the WeddingWire Network.

Spencer Weddings and Entertainment and Jason Spencer would like to thank my past brides and grooms for taking the time to review our services on WeddingWire.

If you are a past client of Spencer Weddings and Entertainment and have yet to provide your feedback, please visit and review our services today.

Spencer Weddings and Entertainment ignited the San Francisco Bay Area wedding entertainment community when owner Jason Spencer announced his Entertainment Direction services in January 2009. Jason has performed nearly 700 events since starting his career in 1995, including services for San Jose Sharks Hockey, San Jose Stealth Lacrosse, The Howard Stern Show, American Heart Association, and countless happy brides and grooms.

For more information:
Please visit, or call Jason Spencer direct at (408) 426-8117.

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Oh, The Places I’ve Been…

Friday, October 9th, 2009 at 6:20 PM by Jason Spencer   

During a meeting with a potential client, I was asked if I had worked at Clos LaChance Winery before in San Martin, CA.  Smiling, I proceeded to inform them that I was actually the third entertainer to walk through the door when they opened the facility to the public back in May 2002.  Kristin Murphy, now VP of Business Units, and I hit it off so well, she invited me back a month later to perform for their open house.

Oh, The Places You'll GoHowever, that got me thinking.  Despite having been performing since 1995, nearly all of my 700+ events were with my former employer, the well respected Sound In Motion, LLC.  Now a solo operation since the beginning of 2009, I have been cautious where and how I market myself.  Part of the reason for this is continued education with some of the nations top wedding entertainers, and rather than market just another DJ option, I wanted to make sure that I could successfully showcase myself as an Entertainment Director to the greater San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas.  LEARN MORE Entertainment Direction

October is also when the traditional wedding season begins to unwind here, and I’m just now beginning to reach out with my fine-tuned system.  Not all venues or vendors realize I’m on my own, especially since I’ve been working with new faces at facilities like Ruby Hill Golf Club and University Club San Francisco for the first time this year.

Below is a list of venues where I have performed, broken down over the last few years.  While full-time at Sound In Motion, I would perform approximately 65-75 events per year, of all kinds.  (Note that I now try to limit that to 35-40 events, mostly weddings and charity, allowing more focus on planning your perfect wedding reception.)

Venues I’ve Performed at Since 2005

  • Silver Creek Valley Country Club – 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Cinnabar Hills – 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Clos LaChance – 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Seascape Beach Resort – 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Nestldown – 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Chaminade – 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Testarossa Vineyards – 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Kennolyn Hilltop Hacienda – 2008, 2006, 2005
  • Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club – 2008, 2006, 2005
  • Ralston Hall Mansion – 2008, 2007
  • Thomas Fogarty Winery – 2008, 2006
  • Hotel Valencia – 2008, 2007, 2006
  • Silicon Valley Capital Club – 2008, 2007, 2006
  • Sheraton, Palo Alto – 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Peachwoods at Pasatiempo – 2009, 2006, 2005
  • La Playa Hotel Carmel-by-the-Sea – 2008, 2007
  • Corinthian Event Center – 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Crown Plaza Cabana – 2008, 2006
  • Seascape Golf Club – 2008, 2007
  • Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa – 2008
  • Carmel Valley Ranch – 2008, 2005
  • Hilton Scotts Valley – 2008, 2007
  • Marriott, Monterey Bay – 2008, 2007
  • Marriott, Santa Clara – 2007, 2006
  • The Mountain Winery – 2007, 2006
  • Stanford Park Hotel – 2008
  • Wente Vineyards – 2008
  • Chateau La Joye – 2007
  • Naval Post-Graduate School – 2008
  • Sharon Heights Country Club – 2006
  • Cordevalle – 2006
  • Rancho Soquel – 2008
  • Garden Court Hotel – 2006
  • The Ranch Golf Club – 2006
  • Eagle Ridge Golf Club – 2005
  • Asilomar Conference Grounds – 2008, 2007
  • Sesnon House at Cabrillo College – 2008
  • Presido Golf Club – 2007
  • City Beach, Fremont – 2008
  • Leal Vineyards – 2005
  • Los Gatos Opera House – 2006, 2005
  • Hidden Valley Music Institute – 2007
  • Hayes Mansion – 2006
  • Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay – 2008, 2006
  • Guglielmo Winery – 2007
  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – 2007
  • Quail Hollow, The LoFranco Residence – 2007
  • Hollins House at Pasatiempo – 2006
  • Quail Lodge Resort – 2006
  • Sand Rock Farm – 2006
  • La Selva Beach Clubhouse – 2006
  • Brookdale Lodge – 2007
  • Hotel De Anza – 2007
  • Tres Agaves, San Francisco – 2007
  • Ruby Hills Golf Club – 2009
  • University Club San Francisco – 2009
  • Lattitude’s at Lovers Point – 2007
  • Adobe Lodge at Santa Clara University – 2007
  • Holman Ranch – 2007
  • Willow Heights Mansion – 2007, 2006
  • Berkeley Faculty Club – 2007
  • Villa Montalvo – 2008
  • Hotel St. Claire – 2007, 2006
  • Agenda Lounge – 2005
  • Monterey Peninsula Country Club – 2007
  • Treasure Island – 2006
  • Hotel Los Gatos – 2007
  • Rancho Canada – 2007
  • HP Pavilion – 2008, 2007, 2006
  • Elks Lodge, Palo Alto – 2008 (Final Performance before they demolished)

Why 2005?

Well, this is where the data export from the most recent system starts.  In short, it was the easiest way to post this data.  Just because a venue is not on this list, does not mean I don’t have experience there.  I will always arrange a site visit at least one month prior to any event for unfamiliar locations.