STEVENSVILLE — The dance floor inside Santaniello’s Restaurant was filled with blue, green and red lights Thursday night.

That’s because dozens of attendees were there for a silent party organized by the FOCUS Network, an employee resource group from Whirlpool Corp.

The silent party format is a combination of wearing headphones and choosing the music throughout the night. At Thursday’s silent party, three disc jockeys competed for the crowd’s attention by playing random hip-hop, R&B and Top 100 songs that were looped to participants’ ears.

A dial on the side of the headphones allowed dancers to choose their station.

“It allows you to dance to the tune of your own beat. That’s kind of the whole idea behind it,” said Clifford Pulley III, who is the community chair for FOCUS and a sourcing specialist at Whirlpool. “I like it because of the environment, the vibrant feel of it. You also have the ownership to listen and choose you’re own music.”

The headphone colors added another element to the party. Each headphone set emitted blue, green or red depending on the channel that was selected.

Dancers could choose the channel based on the color the DJs’ headphones. One of the three DJs who led the evening’s festivities goes by the name of DJ Pound4Pound.

The Chicago native was introduced to silent parties in 2017 and has been doing them ever since as they have gained in popularity.

“I kind of just go through a variety of music. It’s a lot of energy and good vibes,” he said in reference to silent parties. “Right now we’re really pushing the Chicago artists, but it’s about the crowd.”

The Whirlpool resource group – formerly known as the Whirlpool African American Network that was formed in 1998 – held a similar silent party in August and enjoyed a large turnout. They chose to incorporate the party into a Black History Month celebratory event. 

Lexus Ramsey, FOCUS communications chair and associate brand manager for Whirlpool, said they were glad to get not only workers at the appliance maker, but from the community as well.

“It was really great for socializing,” Ramsey said. “There has been a lot of curiosity behind the party. It’s piquing a lot of excitement.”

Rosanna Santaniello, co-owner of Santaniello’s, said she had never heard of the party when they agreed to host the first one in August.

“I didn’t know what to think at first,” she said. “We don’t have anything like this in the area, so it’s really neat they’re bringing it here.”

Pulley said the silent party trend has bec0me popular at music festivals. He said he first learned about it from his fraternity at Western Michigan University.

“When they held it, I thought we had to do something like this in the St. Joe/Benton Harbor area,” Pulley said.

The silent party wasn’t silent for long.

The three DJs hit some of the crowd favorites and from recent hits like “In My Feelings” by Drake to throwbacks like “Crank That” by Soulja Boy.

Ramsey said he liked the idea of the party because of the sociable aspect.

“It’s just the uniqueness of the concept,” he said. “If you go to a club or a party you have a bunch of loud music. If you want a drink or talk to someone you have to yell over the music. With this, you’re able to listen to the music and be sociable.”

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