Local Folks: Loree Gurr

Loree Gurr
Loree Gurr

By day, Loree Gurr is an insurance professional at Cam Anderson State Farm; she has been there for the past 18 years. By night, some might be surprised to know, she’s a KJ/DJ.

Gurr began in 2009 as a KJ — karaoke jockey — working mainly at Rascal’s on Confederate Point Road or other similar pubs. She frequented the place on weekends, showing off her singing talent. Teresa D’Arpe operated the music system there and asked Gurr if she wanted to help behind the scenes. “I fell right into it, like a natural,” Gurr said. Back then, she was just learning the trade from D’Arpe and considered it a hobby.

From 9 p.m. until 1 a.m., Gurr felt like she became someone else, talking to the crowd from the mic and regulating the computer. It was a drastic change from her daytime office life. And she loved it. When 9 a.m. rolled around, “I had to change my mind, change my attitude, change my everything,” she said, so that she could continue to do her insurance job well.

Not long after learning the basics, Gurr teamed up with a DJ friend who had a system. They travelled around town, working together for a time. In 2012, Gurr bought the computer system from her partner, he passed away, and she struck out on her own. At first, what money she made she’d reinvest in upgrading her equipment. Since then, Gurr’s been making a name for herself as a KJ/DJ—no longer disc jockey, she pointed out, but digital jockey nowadays.

On her own, Gurr did the pub scene for quite a while but gradually segued into a variety of private parties. Today, she mainly gets requests for weddings. “It’s like watching Hallmark live. There are bubbles popping on everybody’s heads. Everybody’s happy. And everybody loves each other at weddings,” she said. She gets to sit behind her computer screen and play the personalized music list that’s been specifically requested by the newlyweds at pre-party interviews. Since Gurr does outdoor as well as indoor events, she’s been rained on a couple of times.

Her most heartwarming gig was a barn style wedding held at The Oaks Ranch in Green Cove Springs for a couple who had been married to each other, divorced, and were re-marrying each other. This time around though, they got to make none of the decisions. “I’m payin’ for this shindig, and we’re gonna do it my way,” the stepfather of the bride had told Gurr. Together, he and Gurr staged first dances that had every guest holding napkins to their faces to blot tears as they sat beneath the hay bales.

One of Gurr’s most interesting gigs was working a party in the dark of night in the middle of the woods at the Florida/Georgia border at the start of hunting season. She was called on last minute to fill in for a no-show DJ who had stood up a group of adults at hunting camp. They were willing to pay double, so she couldn’t say no. She arrived at the venue to see trucks doing wheelies in a pasture. There was a pig on a grill and beer on ice. With the hunters helping her unload her vehicle, Gurr broke out both her systems—the DJ equipment and the KJ equipment because it’s all about the music. She said, “It was so much fun! Music makes people happy.”

Gurr added, “Music is my getaway. Music is my decompression. It’s what I live for.”

By Mary Wanser
Resident Community News

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