Thirty-five years of Sound Experience
By David J. Griffin
Winchester native Jimi Castle was always drawn to music – both as a fan of rock-and-roll and as a musician. In 1978 he decided to use his talent to run his own music business. It was in a building on Lexington Avenue in Winchester that he opened his own music shop, the Sound Experience. The store sold records, cassettes, sound equipment, posters, and other music-related items.
The enterprise became highly successful, and over the years, it began to expand until it eventually evolved into a mobile entertainment system. Castle’s slogan explains the nature of the business, Party Atmosphere: Any Place, Anywhere, Any time. For over thirty-five years, Castle has entertained audiences all over Kentucky, and if you watch him ply his trade, it is obvious how much he loves his job. Apparently, he has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
Castle graduated from George Rogers Clark High School (GRC) in 1970 and received his BS degree from Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in 1975. Castle’s wife, Shelly, also graduated from EKU that same year. They were married shortly thereafter and both took teaching positions in Davies County. A year later, they moved to Winchester in order to teach in Clark County. Jimi taught for a total of 26 years at GRC, and Shelly was employed as an elementary teacher at Becknerville Elementary from 1977 until 2011.
When asked what he loved most about teaching Biology at GRC, Castle replied, “Teaching kept me young, and I loved my relationship with the students.” He was extremely popular with the students and was voted Teacher of the Year several times. “I also loved the lifelong friends that I made while teaching. Many of my fellow educators are still some of my best friends today,” he added.
When Castle first began his mobile music service, he usually played for young audiences at sock-hops, school dances, and individual parties. As his music library increased, he began marketing his service to more and different audiences. The result was that he became busier than ever and began to provide music entertainment for groups of all kinds and of any age.
Presently, Castle offers a variety of packages designed for special occasions. They include: weddings, birthday parties (he has played for a one-year-old child as well as an 85 year-old man), theme parties, class reunions, and individual parties. He has the ability to play a vast assortment of theme shows from the 1930s through the 1980s – even disco. Castle always confers with his patrons about the style of music they prefer and then designs the sound to fit the requests.
In addition to the music, Castle also provides special effects for his contracts. His light show is composed of LED designs that can be set to a specific pattern of lights that react to the music being played.
Once, while Castle was playing for a corporate party in Lexington, a gentleman came up and requested a specific song. When Castle looked up to see who was making the request, he was shocked to see the face of Bruce Springsteen. “I had recently purchased Springsteen’s boxed set of hits so I asked him to autograph the container. He was a real gentleman and personalized the disc set.” Of course, he also had a photo of himself and his wife taken