LEWISTON, Maine — Steve “DJ SteveC” Cornish stood behind a laptop computer, controlling a pair of amplifiers, a playlist of romantic tunes and the warble of a Mariah Carey ballad.
About 15 feet away, folks sipped soft drinks and beer as they sat beneath a pair of tents. To Cornish’s left, kids tossed a football. Farther away, the wedding party posed for photos.
Then, Cornish hushed the music as he grabbed the mic.
“In five minutes, walk-around music by the Great Stephan,” he said. “Walk-around magic by the Great Stephan in five minutes.”
And he left.
When he reappeared several minutes later, Cornish was a new man. The loose shirt and the casual pants were gone. They were replaced with a white bow tie, a stiff white shirt and a black tuxedo with tails.
Here was the Great Stephan.
He strolled up to a table surrounded by wedding guests and started. He changed the colors on the backs of playing cards, guessed the cards drawn by 10 different guests and changed a $1 bill to a $10 bill.
“Watch carefully,” he said, blowing on a $1 bill lent to him by a guest. “See it getting bigger?”
A moment later, the bill had a “10” in the corner.
“It’s what we call, ‘Inflation,'” he said as the table erupted with laughter.
The reaction is what keeps Cornish — a self-described “wedding DJ magician” — on his feet for the long hours.
“On the magic, what I try to do is make it mind blowing so they can’t explain it,” he said. The rest — from his wedding singing to his wedding deejaying — is about trying to offer a complete package.
One gets the impression that if he could bake, he would offer wedding cakes, too.
“I like running the show,” said the 40-year-old Lewiston native. “I like being that person, the entertainer.”
He started entertaining as a kid, dabbling in magic tricks for his friends and family. It took hold when he was 20, while attending spring break in Daytona Beach, Fla., with some buddies.
Though he was surrounded by parties and bikinis, he became fascinated by a magic shop he found one afternoon. He wandered in and spent three hours there. When he left, he had $120 in magic tricks.
“I got back to the room, locked myself in the bathroom and practiced all night long while they went out,” he said.
The next day, he performed for his friends.
When he returned to Maine, he bought more tricks and started doing free shows for friends.
Pretty soon, he was getting paid for his work, which grew to include both the close-up work with cards and coins and big illusions meant for the stage and large gatherings.
Meanwhile, he took work at Bath Iron Works. He’s still there, specializing in insulating the pipes that run through Navy destroyers.
“I like my job,” Cornish said. “But entertaining is different.”
He charges anywhere from $135 for a short half-hour show to $3,000 for the big illusions. He performs most weekends and lots of weeknights, driven by a never-miss-an-opportunity-to-perform obsession.
He makes sure he has all the magic props people want, from cards to saws to rabbits.
“I didn’t want people to go elsewhere when they call me and say, ‘Do you do doves and rabbits?” he said. “I never want to say, ‘nope I don’t do that,’ and someone else gets the work.”
He added the DJ work when he saw the possibility of more revenue and even more control.
“I like being the master of ceremonies,” said Cornish, who sang with a local band when he was younger. “I like music. And I really like running the show.”
It’s the show he now offers, drumming up business through his company, Magical DJ Productions and his website, mainedjsteve.com.
“I put myself out there everywhere,” he said. “And I’m taking any opportunity that comes along.”
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