The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 5, 2013

Musical business is a tribute to late father

JOHNSTOWN — There’s no stopping the music.

DJ Jack Labarko Inc. has been providing musical entertainment to Johnstown and surrounding areas for over 30 years, and it’s a business that Jack and Barbara Labarko started because they both shared a love of music and dancing.

Jack Labarko was employed by Bethlehem Steel Corp., but after the 1977 Johnstown Flood, he found himself laid off. So as a way to support the family, the couple started Jack & Barbara Labarko’s Oldies Show! The Dancing DJ’s.

The show caught on quickly, and the two played dancing hits from the ’50s and often took to the floor to demonstrate the hand jive or the twist.

Both were fans of Elvis Presley, and they eventually incorporated a tribute to him into their oldies show, with Jack Labarko growing out his sideburns and wearing the style of jumpsuits made famous by Elvis.

The business continued to grow into the ’90s, and the couple’s five children got involved, helping set up equipment at shows and learning the business.

But in February 1993, Jack Labarko passed away from lung cancer.

Three of the children – Aaron, Derek and Brent – picked up the torch and have been running the show ever since.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of his passing, and we’ve kept the ball rolling and are following in our father’s footsteps,” Derek Labarko said. “We’ve now taken it to the next level and really have become event producers.”

They put on a show for

50 weddings a year as well as DJ at numerous proms, school formals, private parties and corporate events locally and in surrounding counties and states.

All the sound equipment and lighting have been updated, and the old records were converted to digital form. The extensive music library is updated weekly and covers all genres of music from the ’40s to the most current releases.

They also can provide uplighting for weddings, custom monogram and image projection and photo slideshows.

“We try to keep up with the trends and we’re always working to improve ourselves and get our name out there,” said Aaron Labarko, who also performs as an Elvis tribute artist.

All three men work part-time jobs, but the goal is to generate enough revenue to focus on the DJ business full time.

“It’s been very profitable for us, and we’ve seen our business increase by 30 percent each year,” Derek Labarko said.

The Labarkos would like to get to the point where they do 80 weddings a year and are in a position to hire staff and expand services into more areas.

“More or less this is a tribute to our father so nobody will forget the name ‘Jack Labarko,’ and it’s a way to keep his memory alive,” said Brent Labarko.

For more information,

call 421-8703 or visit www.labarkodjs.com and

on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DJJackLabarko.

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