Hermiston Wine and Cheese, Pendleton Cotillion, the Cowboy Ball, a wedding or a high school dance: If you've been to any of these events it's likely you've heard Dan Burns or Andy McAnally.

They're not musicians but they do provide entertainment.

While each is different in their approach and background, both find they enjoy what they do - helping other people enjoy themselves.

Dan Burns Productions and McAnally's AMS Entertainment franchise provide the music for a variety of events in the surrounding area.

Dan Burns

Dan got his start with his friend Bill Roesch Jr. when they hit on the idea to provide music and make their DeMolay youth dances a fun event.

Getting involved with the local Masonic organizations through his parents Bruce and Mae Burns, Dan joined the youth version, DeMolay. When he met Bill in that group, that started a partnership that got Dan interested in doing something that, 25 years later, he still enjoys.

"We got a lot of recognition from doing those DeMolay dances and pretty soon, we were doing other DeMolay groups and high school dances and it just kept growing."

Burns admits he never planned on this becoming such a passion.

Calling it his "professional hobby, very professional and serious," he believed it was "never going to be something to raise a family on."

But people kept calling and when the two friends went different ways with college, "I carried on."

He convinced his dad to "buy a few more speakers," and Dan was able to provide the music for dances at the Pendleton armory, now the site of the convention center.

"I did those for 10 years and we had 500 kids a night."

He kept buying more lights and speakers to do more and bigger shows.

Today he estimates he has some 50,000 to 100,000 songs catalogued on his computer.

"I recorded albums and 45s onto cassette. That was pretty labor intensive. Once I realized the benefits of CDs - you don't have the tape hiss or the needle skipping from the vibrations of the dance floor" - it was time to make the change to the compact disc format, Burns said.

"Today, about 50 percent of my music is on CD. But I've got some songs on those cassettes that you can't find anywhere else."

He stays current by purchasing a professional music service that offers the top playlists off radio stations across the country.

He estimates he gets about 150 songs a month.

"There's virtually nothing I don't have."

Burns also can offer a video version, in addition to his lights and sound.

"I buy from another supplier about 70 (music videos) a month, from old and new to country and top 40."

While noting that requests can vary for any particular song, "If I've played it earlier, they usually don't request it," he still keeps his request sheets from his first shows.

It's not just keeping current with song tastes that adds up either.

"I hate to think about it but my equipment easily adds up to over $100,000," Burns said.

"It's an investment. I always buy new. I figure being a DJ, you have to provide the best and the most equipment. That's the show. I'm not a performer."

Due to his college degree and former work as an instructor at Blue Mountain Community College in electronics, he's also been able to build some of his equipment. He's also worked for the railroad at Hinkle.

Today, he's a telecommunications technician for Qwest.

Fortunately, most hardware doesn't require updating, but it does require some muscle.

"You have to be multi-faceted," Burns said.

"There's some physical prowess involved, because the equipment is heavy.

Fortunately, it's getting smaller and better.

"You also have to be public-oriented, personable and comfortable in front of the public. It helps me too that I have some electrical knowledge. You can blow something really easy if you don't know what you're doing."

And then there's the ability to read the crowd.

"You need to know what music is available and be able to find that and then play the right song at the right time," he said.

Playing some slower songs at the beginning of a dance might allow the crowd to warm up.

Getting ready for an event can take from a 30 minutes to five to six hours. Dan does get help from Ryan Nelson, and he has had others over the years do shows, but "it's not lucrative enough to keep people on. I think your show suffers too. There's a lot of personal effort that goes into it. I want each show to be the best. So I shy away from having anyone else do the show."

His biggest events have ranged from the Pendleton Jaycees' 2A state tournament dance in Pendleton to his recent, as well as the upcoming, Imbue Modeling Agency fashion show.

"It's a huge bridal fair with 1,000 people and another 100 vendors taking part. I do the sound, lighting and effects."

But he also enjoys his firsts too: the first DJ to play for the Pendleton High School prom to the first DJ at the Red Lion lounge in Pendleton.

He's busy "virtually every weekend year-round."

He has taken his show on the road as far away as Reno, Nev., for a wedding at the Silver Legacy, to Twin Falls, Idaho.

Most weekends he can be found in the Tri-Cities and he still does quite a few corporate and business events locally.

He can add slide shows to weddings or do any type of presentation for those company functions.

All that makes for a hectic pace he agreed, adding "it's consumed my whole existence.

Andy McAnally

Like Dan Burns, Andy McAnally does a variety of events.

For the past four years, McAnally has provided the music at the Red Lion lounge in Pendleton.

In the summer he's busy with weddings and corporate parties, then when school begins he's doing dances through the fall. The holidays bring more corporate events, then it's more school dances and proms.

"My weekdays are flexible. That's when I do my marketing, booking and training, work on the sound systems and do music research," He said. "All the money comes on the weekends."

He's gone as far as Seattle for a wedding and occasionally to Portland, but primarily works in Umatilla County, Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities.

"About 80 percent of my business comes from referrals."

For McAnally, this is a career.

"It's how I make my living."

He got his start indirectly through his parents.

Mother Cheryl Harle and step-dad Andy Harle owned local radio station KWHT for years and McAnally grew up in a music environment.

Starting in junior high, he would make tapes for dances.

He wanted to continue in some part of the music industry after graduating from Pendleton High School, and talked his dad into co-signing on a loan his senior year in college at Western Oregon University.

"I started doing one event a month."

But it didn't become a full-time business idea until he moved back to Pendleton.

"I was appraising real estate and still doing some shows. It just kind of took off bigger than I expected. So I decided to try to see what it would be like to do this full-time. I knew it was what I really liked to do."

He came across a notice about the AMS Entertainment national franchise in a trade magazine, and opted to buy in.

"It was a proven system that could help me grow faster than if I were to do it on my own. All the tools, from a training program to the marketing materials, were in place.

"I can do three different dances on any one night."

He has three employees: Dakota Russell, who's been with him for two years, Joe Kindle and his wife Maya, a teacher at Highland Hills Elementary.

McAnally is equally passionate about ensuring people have fun.

"I want to find out what they want, what type of music they're interested in, whether they want an interactive show, or something more low key. We can provide a master of ceremonies type approach if they want."

He too has a lot tied up in equipment in trying to provide "different options.

"We've got everything to put on a dance. I try to be real efficient and put together a system that is easy to set up, from the lights to the sound."

He just upgraded his system, aiming for consistency so that "no matter who is working, the client gets the same system that any of the three of us would use."

McAnally also relies heavily on CDs but has recently added a completely computerized software program that allows greater flexibility to input music choices.

"You can't tell a difference in the sound quality. And I think over time, the CD player will be obsolete for what I need.

"Computers give you more flexibility so that you're not spending so much time looking up songs. It's the future."

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