Let’s go dancin’
THIS is the fourth of a 12-part series looking at Jamaicans who have excelled in the Tri-state (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) area's entertainment and leisure industry.
FOR the next week, Vernon Spencer Jnr will juggle his time as a software engineer with promoting a show that has become popular with Jamaicans in New Jersey.
That show, Let's Go Dancin', takes place May 31 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in the city of Clark.
It is the fourth straight year the 'oldies' party will be held in the Garden State, spearheaded by Spencer and his uncle, disc jockey/show promoter Michael Barnett.
Spencer, who is in his early 40s, told the Jamaica Observer that Let's Go Dancin' grows with each staging. He expects the trend to continue this year.
"Most of the people attending are Jamaican by birth or heritage. They will travel from Jamaica, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and surrounding cities in New Jersey," said Spencer. "Many, if not all of these patrons have given up on the club scene, but they still want to go out every once in a while to listen, enjoy and dance to vintage music."
Let's Go Dancin' is the Kingston-born Spencer's first big gig as a promoter. The inaugural show had singer Boris Gardiner performing. It did well enough for Spencer and Barnett to return the following year.
Next week's show, Spencer noted, has educational value.
"This year, I am channelling the hearts of the crowd to support a worthy cause. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Global Literacy Program to assist with the expenses of packaging and sending books to Jamaica, with the final destination being the Tom Redcam Library in Kingston," he said. "Future events will continue with similar fundraising initiatives."
Spencer grew up in the Portmore community of Garveymeade, listening to the 'classics' of John Holt and the Paragons, the Wailers and Delroy Wilson. He migrated with his family to the United States in 1985, settling in New Jersey.
The success of Let's Go Dancin' has inspired Spencer to get more involved in events planning. In 2012 and 2013, he organised the Garveymeade reunion dance in New York City.
-- Howard Campbell