Goessel basketball fans were treated to a first time public performance of the Goessel Trash Band on Thursday at halftime of the sub-state basketball game at the Goessel High School gymnasium. Six students pounded out complex patterns and rhythmic sets on barrels, trash cans and buckets, much to the delight of listeners, who gave the group a standing ovation when the performance was finished.
The group, led by senior Jeff Hall, practiced together for little more than a month, except for Goessel Junior High eighth-grader Luke Unruh, who learned his part in two hours and joined the group the day of their halftime performance.
“Shane Goerzen is a key member of the group. He is a real leader of this,” Goessel Band Director Rob Tierney said. “But he is on the basketball team and we really hesitated to try to play without him. The big story here is how Luke Unruh was able to step in and just do a phenomenal job learning all he had to do in two hours and performing admirably with us.”
Tierney said the creation of the trash band was entirely the idea of several percussion students in the high school band.
“Their idea kind of fit in with my plans of getting all band students involved in a small group of some kind,” Tierney said. “I really wanted to have a more classical type of percussion group that we could take to contests, but the kids really wanted to do this.”
Kansas State High School Activities Association rules do not allow “novelty” bands to compete in league, district, regional, or state music contests, but several schools in the state offer the unique trash, or stomp-type, bands for their students.
Tierney contacted a fellow band director from Haven for information on getting a trash band started, and this friend, Brad Shores, followed up with a visit to Goessel High School and the donation of two blue, 50-gallon barrel “trash” drums on wheels, to get their band going.
“Brad spent the day with them, got them going on some routines, gave them some YouTube videos to watch, and our kids took it from there,” Tierney said.
Haven High School fields a 40-member “trash band” known as the Haven Trash-Cats, and performs at many school and community functions.
The Goessel Trash Band performed two weeks ago for USD 411 students and faculty at a pep-rally, but the halftime performance Thursday was their first in front of a large crowd.
“I hope they are able to play some more places,” Tierney said. “We have had a lot of requests since Thursday night and we will probably need to work a little bit more on some flashier moves and routines.”
Members of the current Goessel Trash Band are Jeff Hall, Shane Goerzen, Isabelle Houben, Heath Goertzen, Lawton Makovec, Aaron Woelk, and Luke Unruh.
Tierney said big thanks were due for Goessel High School maintenance worker Londell Duerksen, who made several more “drums-on-wheels” for the group.
“I have to give real high props to Londell,” Tierney said. “All I had to do was visit with him about what we were trying to do, and in 24 hours he fabricated these trash cans on wheels that work just great. He really is the one who made this whole thing happen.”
In addition to blue barrels and large steel trash cans, band members also use various sized white plastic buckets and different types of mallets and sticks to create a variety of sounds for their performance. Choreographed movements, moving buckets, and flying drumsticks enhanced the show.