Saturday, December 15, 2007

Trash to take over Santa Cruz on New Year's

Join us? If you are thinking about doing something New Year's, why not do it with us.

Last Night DIY Parade and Street Party
Sunset, Dec 31st
Lot behind Saturn Cafe

"The parade is not merely a celebration, but a celebration of the power that we all have when we gather together to make something happen. Not just a street party, but a party to reclaim our streets." Trash Orchestra returns to the event that gave it life in 2005! Last Night DIY Website.

Last Night DIY Website:

About Last Night
Last Night is a decentralized, collective, spontaneous, open, public New Year's Eve celebration. DIY stands for do-it-yourself. Let's do our own parade. A Last Night celebration. A last night of waiting for governments, institutions, or anyone else to entertain us, satisfy us, bring us security, freedom, or joy. We reject the commodification of revelry and asking permission to live our lives. Let's usher in the new year with dancing in the streets. Bring your willingness to lead, your desire for real community, and your rebellious joy. Leave your undercover cop (and for that matter, your internalized policeman) at home.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Trash Against University Expansion

Trash Orchestra played at a march against UC Santa Cruz expansion plans. Here's an excerpt from a great article about it:

Tree Sitters Thrwart Police, Reclaim Space

With great excitement, around 400 people filled the streets, turning cars around and stopping buses in their place. The sitters, who had been in the redwoods for about eight hours at that point, could hear the clanging and banging of Trash Orchestra as the crowd grew closer. The cops, surrounded by plastic orange fencing, formed a perimeter around the trees. They were armed with pepper spray, tasers and tear-gas guns.

“We need to get food, water and blankets up to our friends” went out the call. And within minutes, tons of supplies appeared. Students went to their houses or took snacks out of dining halls, bringing back as much food as they could carry. People found water wherever they could, and in some cases donated their personal water bottles. Blankets and sleeping bags appeared and people took the sweaters off their own backs to send up into the trees. Now they just had to get the supplies past the police line.

Supporters encircled the area, looking for the best way to get to the trees. People started pushing in closer and cops responded with pepper spray and batons. Our friends were cold and hungry, and we were not about to back down and allow the cops to starve them out.

The police continued to pepper spray the crowd, and began to strike out with batons and violently tackle and arrest people who ran forward in attempts to send up supplies. At least one person was de-arrested by people in the crowd. A total of five people were arrested in this confrontation, and many more were hurt as pepper spray filled their lungs and their eyes. But this time protesters weren’t the only ones taking a beating. One cop was accidentally pepper-sprayed in the face by another cop, and another cop was punched in the face. The protesters didn’t fall back as the police pushed in, they fought back.

The protesters managed to push the police line back, surrounding the central cluster of redwood trees. As the first bit of food – a small plastic bag of trail mix – was sent up the line, everyone cheered victoriously. Supporters rushed to tie food, water and sleeping bags to the lines as fast as they could. People donated bags and backpacks to carry the supplies up in.

With excitement and momentum, the crowd continued to push the police line back. Finally, overwhelmed with the number of people who were steadfastly determined to hold their ground, the police retreated to a nearby corner. A third platform soon appeared out of nowhere and was hoisted into the trees to the tune of a cheering crowd. Eventually the police had entirely vacated the area, and we began filling it with food, laughter and music.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gault Halloween / Día De Los Muertos Parade

Trash Orchestra marched at the head of the 59th annual Gault Elementary Halloween Parade. It starts at 9am on a Saturday morning and, thanks to Trash Orchestra, woke up several whole neighborhoods.

We didn't get a ribbon in the parade, though as the only marching band, we figured we should get an award for noisiest or Best Marching Band, but alas, we had to ground score our ribbon. We're not sure what ESBA stands for maybe East Side Business Association? (On second thought maybe we didn't need a ribbon.)

We hope to return next year. We loved marching with the kids and loved the covetous looks on their faces that said, "Whoa, loud."

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Distraction While You Rob a Bank


We're still willing to help out with all the shit you're doing. We think you're awesome. We think your uncompromising stand against authority, against tyranny is inspiring. We want to help.

Invite us to wade through teargas with you, or break through police lines, to create a disraction while you rob a bank to redistribute the wealth in the name of the Cause. Invite us to help tear down the walls of oppression -- understand that it is totally okay if you mean this literally.

Trash Orchestra is a marching percussion band – a bone-shaking recycled orchestra. We make percussion on tuned cans, hubcaps and barrels, drums, pieces of sheet metal, and homemade oddities.

If you are far from the West Coast, more advance notice is better and maybe some help getting and staying there. But we are game to consider anything.

We'd love to do what we can to support your efforts.

Photos, audio, rants, etc at


Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

UCSC Reclaim the Streets

Our next performance is this Friday. This is a march and street party to raise awareness of and resistance to the UCSC Long-Range Development Plan, including campus plans to log up to 150 acres of upper campus forest, a new entrance and road through the upper campus, and meadows and woods plowed under to make room for parking lots and athletic fields.

We'll meet 4pm at the field behind Merill College at UCSC. It will be a long march through several of the colleges. Wear good shoes and comfy clothes. If you can't make this Bataan Death March, you can meet us at Porter Quad with your instrument where we will end up in an ear-shattering performance.


What if it rains? We get wet! What if no one shows up but us? We go and get beers!

See you there!

Santa Cruz
Trash Orchestra

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Trash Orchestra Parades to Mime Troupe's Making a Killing

Article and photographs by ~Bradley
Indybay Santa Cruz

On September 23rd, the Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra led a noisy parade to the San Francisco Mime Troupe performance of Making a Killing, Building a New Iraq. In the style of a cacerolazo, parade-goers beat on makeshift drums and tambourines while marching as a metallic cacophony from Laurel Street up Pacific Avenue and across the river to San Lorenzo Park. The parade lacked a clear message and was appreciated by many people walking and photographing on Pacific Avenue. A focus of the Trash Orchestra parade was to attract people the SFMT's performance, while other folks joined the parade to outreach about Sleep Crimes in Santa Cruz.

For a review of the San Francisco Mime Troupe's Making a Killing, Building a New Iraq and a look at how questionable government contracting reaches all the way from Afghanistan to Santa Cruz, in the form of city contractor Camp Dresser Mckee, read:

"Making a Killing in Iraq" comes to Santa Cruz - in more ways than one


Shake a Leg






A Killing

Trash on Water

San Francisco Mime Troupe

San Lorenzo Park

Translator and Photographer

San Francisco Mime Troupe

Friday, September 14, 2007

West Oakland Night of the Band Fags

Motha fucka! What a rockin fun time we had at the big radical marching band hoohaw in Oakland. Thanks a ton to the Loyd Family Players, Brass Liberation Orchestra, and March Fourth. We danced our asses off, blew our eardrums out, and schmoozed the night away.

We went up there on a Trash Orchestra field trip. We were talking for hours and hours about shit we saw, shit we heard, shit we learned, people we met.

We loved the all-drum bone rattling sound of the Loyd Family. Loved the dynamic and many-flavored rotating band leader action of BLO. Dug the fancy pants showmanship of March Forth and were envious of their drum carriers crafted from recycled bicycle parts.

We won't be content until we've slept with each and every one of the members of all those bands.

The Loyd Family Players

Brass Liberation Orchestra

March Fourth

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Modesto: Downtown is Ours!

Reportback from Modesto Anarcho! who said:

Anarchist Cafe' last night was a large success. There was lots of free food, all of which was free - either gotten from places that throw away lots of food, or businesses that were going to throw good food out. Lots of literature and zines were taken by a variety of people. Various distros (Modesto Anarcho Distro and Wingnut's Liberation Project) had some good conversations with people. Someone from KQRP-LP (106.1 - local indymedia station) was on hand to video the event, and recordings from the Cafe (largely the band playing) will be shown on the local cable access program (channel 14) and on 106.1. Stay tuned.

The Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra was off the hook. They played a pretty long "set" and they even got some good feedback and response from the crowd, several of which joined in to play on the "instruments". Probably the highlight of the set was when the band started marching around the downtown playing music.

Problems with police were nil. While we hate to fall back on "our rights" and the language of the state to justify our actions - we were totally within our "legal rights" to be in the downtown (as long as things were 'peaceful', we didn't sell anything, and we didn't block traffic). The police did come out, including the police chief, but since this was a "free speech" event, we didn't need a permit even though they said we should get one.

The event last night got alot of people together, talking about anarchist projects, having fun, and also just creating a space where people could connect and act with each other where we felt like we had some power. The event was also good because so many "normal" people were stopping by, eating free food, picking up zines, watching the band, etc. While the size of the "audience" for the cafe was hard to pinpoint, we'd say probably about 30-50 throughout the night, at any given time.

Thanks! Until next time, Modesto Anarcho Crew

Monday, August 27, 2007

An Open Invitation and an Offer

Dear Friends,

We love the work you do to fight oppression and this bullshit system of exploitation. We want to support you and what you're doing. Are you interested in having Trash Orchestra perform at your event, protest, or festival?

If you are working to shut down the war machine, environmental destruction, the world free trade efforts, racist and classist mofos, corporate swine and their media lapdogs, repressive laws, the fascist police state, and capitalism itself -- if you are working to support indigenous rights, the freedom of women and children (and men, for that matter), civil liberties and free speech, poor people and homeless folk -- if you are engaged in anarchist and anti-authoritarian struggles -- we want to help!

Trash Orchestra is a marching percussion band – a bone-shaking recycled orchestra. We make percussion on tuned cans, hubcaps and barrels, drums, pieces of sheet metal, and homemade oddities.

We appear invited and uninvited at protests and celebrations, furors and fracases, anywhere there's a need to make a ruckus, to shout out and help right injustice, suffering, and oppression, to make a big noise to celebrate our victories and our losses. Trash Orchestra is intrinsically a radical project.

Please consider inviting us to your event. If you are far from the West Coast, more advance notice is better and maybe some help getting and staying there. But we are game to consider anything.

We'd love to do what we can to support your efforts.

Photos, audio, rants, etc at


Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Kick-ass Idiosyncratic Drummer Wanted

Trash Orchestra is looking for a beginning to intermediate drummer willing to learn and grow with us. Plus points for tenacity, self-motivation, passion, courage, righteous anger about the state of the world, and experience with non-hierarchical projects.

We are an improvisational marching percussion band – a bone-shaking recycled orchestra. We make percussion on tuned cans, hubcaps and barrels, drums, pieces of sheet metal, and homemade oddities. We are amateurs in the best sense -- from the root of the word, amo -- people who make music for the love of it and as a form of resistance.

Influences: Stomp, Tom Waits, Infernal Noise Brigade, ¡TchKunG!, Rhythms of Resistance, samba, Loyd Family Players, Brass Liberation Orchestra, James Brown, drumlines, Gotan Project, Rage Against the Machine, Gamelan Pacifica, Street Drum Corps, taiko, the military drum bands of our youth, and a dozen other radical marching bands engaged in active resistance.

Vision: We want to see Trash Orchestra grow to dozens of regular players. We'd like to see invites from far and wide pouring in to make noise and celebration in places across the globe. We see everyone in the band becoming virtuosos of their own handmade musical creations. We are ambitious in our plans to conquer the world and make it a better place full of music and dancing and resistance.

We have weekly 2 to 3 hour practices and great gigs coming in. Since this is a labor of love, the orchestra is unpaid, and gig money goes into a communal pot for travel and education.

If you are a drummer with a variety of rhythmic influences and interests and are full of rebellious insolence, we'd like you to play with us. Please send us your interest, your influences, the instruments you play, and your experience level.

Come play with us. Email

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Arm the Homeless

On Thursday, we did an impromptu performance to support Homeless Resistance in Santa Cruz.

Indymedia reported it thusly:

Trash Orchestra to steel the hearts of the homeless
Thursday Aug 16th, 2007 9:46 AM

Portentous possibility perhaps of playful performance/practice at protest of the predicament of provincial pariahs.

The famous Trash Orchestra has promised to tune up and turn us on at City Hall (809 Center St.) 6-9 PM Thursday August 16. In response, HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) will follow the Orchestra's percussive performance with a showing of the 1994 video "Sitting in Santa Cruz"- by Paul Brindel --on the smallest battery-run TV ever--. Bring blankets and opera glasses.
And we shot back:
Kudos to all who chose to stay another night at the City Hall campout to protest the Sleeping Ban. I got your message and it warmed my hard little heart. I think this creates a lovely double-bind. It forces the city to do something about something they'd prefer to just ignore. But the more they ignore it, the more it can build. Yet, the more they react, the more impetus and momentum they give the lawsuit and resistance. Oh, the hard life of the petty heartless bureaucrat.
And we gained a few loyal followers from this humanitarian mission. Now there are a few homeless folk who when they see us around town raise their fist in the air and chant "Things Break Down!"

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Booted from the River Street Garage

Booted from the River Street Garage
(see Santa Cruz' ridiculous 15-Minute Parking Lot Panic Law)

No doubt, being civic-minded and committed to fighting oppressive laws, you already know about the 15-Minute Parking Lot Panic law. (If not, see here, and the text of this ridiculous law here.) We (and a saxophone player on the 2nd floor) were kicked out of the River Street garage (one of our favorite empty practice locations) and threated with trespassing tickets by a zealous and nervous young officer.

Naturally, the law was created not to oppress privileged middle-class folk like ourselves, but to push the poor and the homeless further to the fringes (hopefully right off the edge where they might helpfully just disappear). But the city feels occasionally obligated to enforce their silly laws more or less uniformly lest they be accused of selective enforcement and have the law struck down.

You can ask yourself, what the fuck is wrong with this town? But we all bear responsibility every time we sit quietly by when someone make the choice of security over freedom (usually for our alleged benefit).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Alternate 101 Cover Story: Hobo Core

Hobo Core
The Trash Orchestra makes melodies - and political statements - from your junk
By Sarah Klein
April 12, 2007

Above: Trash Orchestra performs on Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz.
Rico Thunder (left) with Ryan Geiss, inventor of the Wrenchstrument.

Name: The Canstrument.
Made of: Rusted, dented, surplus-sized aluminum food cans, each tuned to a different note.
Sounds like: "Something between a xylophone and a steel drum."
Name: The Wrenchstrument.
Made of: Trashed or secondhand wrenches of a variety of sizes, which are struck with a metal or wooden implement. The differing sizes and shapes created two different octaves.
Sounds like: Somewhere between a cowbell and a keyboard.
Name: Untitled (we suggest "The Brastrument"), created by Whitney Wilde.
Made of: Two aluminum bowls, cut and shaped into a wearable bra top, attached with twine.
Sounds like: Thin, tinny percussion, depending on which area of the bowl is struck.
Name: The Big Blue Barrel.
Made of: A salvaged plastic industrial container, turned upside down and fitted with a strap so it serves as a portable bass drum.
Sounds like: "Since it doesn't have a drum skin, musically this acts more like a bell than a drum."
Name: Recycle Bin.
Made of: A rectangular recycling bin from Morgan Hill.
Sounds like: All-purpose drum, used in conjunction with the Big Blue Barrel.
Rico Thunder is preparing to tune his instrument. Brows furrowed in concentration, he pushes his curly brown hair out of his eyes, shielding the blinding sun that casts down on him. As he stands on the top level of a parking garage in Santa Cruz, he lifts his musical accoutrement, inspecting its sonic nooks and crannies as they wink in the sunlight.

A fellow musician hands him the makeshift tuning device: a rusty, bludgeoned hammer - clearly on its last leg.

Thunder positions his instrument, wielding the hammer.





The head of the hammer flies off, bouncing on the ground and leaving a trail of rust flakes on the concrete, narrowly missing a fellow musician's foot. Thunder shrugs and hoists up his instrument: a crumpled, battered aluminum pan.

He gives the signal, and immediately his compatriots, a handful of men and women of varying ages, break into "song" - a pulsing, amorphous wall of sound emanating from a rag-tag collection a recycling bins, hubcaps, decrepit tools, bent wire, and salvaged industrial scrap.

Just another day in the aural adventures of the Trash Orchestra.

Founded in 2005, Trash Orchestra is a cacophonic, organic, artistic and anarchistic experiment in noise, music, recycling and community.

The premise is simple: salvaging pieces of trash, and turning them into musical instruments. But the meaning behind the group is steeped in social awareness and activism - with a healthy dose of good ol' fashioned fun.

Most members have little or no musical experience, and are of diverse ages and backgrounds: students, engineers, self-employed business people, and artists. They're united by a few basic ideas: the desire to create noise and art, the notion of challenging what constitutes public space, and questioning what exactly is "trash" and why our culture creates so much of it.

Delving into philosophies ranging from anarchism to freeganism, Trash Orchestra quietly raises political, social and ecological issues - while making one hell of a noisy, catchy, delightfully chaotic din.

A junk collective

Trash Orchestra first began as a part of the Last Night Parade in Santa Cruz on New Year's Eve 2005, genially thrown together in a non-organized, non-structured manner. Though the collective has grown since its humble beginnings, the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-thrift-store-pants mentality has remained. A fluid group, there are a few basic parameters, but nothing is set in stone - and they like it that way.

The Orchestra practices (mostly) every Sunday in Santa Cruz at various locations, often walking down to Pacific Avenue to engage in a public performances where bystanders are encouraged to participate. The only requirement to join (aside from the optional tetanus shot) is a thirst for creativity and a love of music and experimentation.

One of the group's fundamental principles is that no one person is in charge. Thunder, 40, is a carpenter and artist, and one of the co-founders of the group. He stresses that Trash Orchestra is a collective in every sense of the word.

"It's an explicitly radical, non-authoritarian group," he says. "It's a bunch of people who got together and made it happen."

Thunder says it's also been difficult for many people to grasp the concept of no central leader.

"It's really challenging for folks who are in hierarchal organizations," he says. "We all lead this, but instead of just window dressing that's actually true. That's one of the most interesting things about it."

In a typical Trash Orchestra outing, the tempo, pace and volume is controlled by a rotating "conductor" of sorts, who blows a whistle to signal changes.

"The whistle blower modulates the chaos," Thunder says.

And though each member has a favorite instrument (see page 18) they're constantly switching what they play.

The group is comprised of about eight or so core members, supplemented by a rotating cast of over a dozen members who drop in on practices whenever they can.

Core member Whitney Wilde joined last year not for musical or activist reasons, but for physical benefit. After a serious car crash, Wilde severely fractured her arm and hand, and joined the group as part of her ongoing physical therapy.

"Who knew that banging on trash could be so fun, or so satisfying?" she says.

After the accident, Wilde experienced a coordination disconnection between her limbs; due to her injuries, she can no longer pat her head and rub her tummy at the same time. Her ongoing participation in Trash Orchestra helps her relearn coordination between limbs.

Wilde, a bubbling blonde 52-year-old who drives a '69 bubble-gum pink Carmen Ghia named Rosie, has a background in music, but that's not why Trash Orchestra appeals to her.

"I play other instruments: guitar, and I'm trying to learn ukulele. I used to be able to read music, but not anymore. And that's part of the joy of this, that you can't write it down, because it's never the same twice.

"The beat is the heartbeat of the group, and everything else is what fills it in and gives it the character."

Additionally, during public perform-ances, bystanders are encouraged to join along and given trash shakers - soda cans or bottles filled with beans or pebbles. Because of the ever-rotating cast and "guest stars," and the fluid nature of the music, it's impossible to compose and write down a Trash Orchestra "song."

"But that's not the goal of the group," Wilde says. "We have some pieces, but it's never the same thing twice. The pieces are themes."
One such signature piece is called "Train."

"Pshhhoooooooooooooo," Wilde hisses, demonstrating how members use their voices to mimic the hydraulics of a train.

The freight-train hopping lifestyle is another element that influences the group, which Thunder refers to as "hobo core."

Says Thunder, "The people who make this happen are just an interesting group of folks. One time we asked everyone, 'How many people have ridden a freight train?' and nearly everyone had."

"We're not a bunch of artsy musicians: a lot of it is about actively resisting the way things are, and trying to make change in the world."

Waste not

One of Thunder's Trash Orchestra mottos:

"We go where the noise is needed, but not always wanted by those who hold power."

Thunder has described the group's philosophy as "rebellious insolence," and actively encourages questioning what constitutes a public space.

"There's a need for people to create, to resist oppression and obnoxious laws," Thunder says.

Although the group hasn't received any trouble from city officials, Thunder worries that the city is placing too many restrictions on street performers.

However, Trink Praxel, principal analyst of Santa Cruz's Park and Recreation Department, says permits are not required of performers unless they need more than 20 minutes to set up, exceed a spatial limit (4 feet by 6 feet) or use an amplifier.

"We want to encourage people to make the downtown area really lively," Praxel says, "but this is both a commercial and residential area. We want to make sure it's not too loud or going to late, and that it's possible for people to get by, making sure not to disrupt the flow of traffic."

But first and foremost, Trash Orchestra is about … trash. The group's philosophy is similar to dumpster diving and "freeganism," the practice of scavenging and recycling refuse for alternative means, to reduce impact on the environment lessen the damaged caused by ever-increasing mass consumption.

"We live in this culture of massive waste," says core member Ryan Geiss, 28, a graphics programmer. "On my cubicle I have this big picture of a landfill with 'Consume' written on it. It's to remind people that all these shiny new things they're buying will eventually turn into trash."

"Trash Orchestra is a rebellion against buying things new, against doing things the ordinary way, against just sitting there and watching television. Instead, we're out there making things and doing things with people."

Though Geiss was actively involved in the tech industry - his work has included audio analysis, so he's familiar with musical patterns and frequency spectrums - he's taking and e-break, and looks to Trash Orchestra as a sort of Luddite antidote to technology.

"I'm going to stay away from computers for awhile," Geiss says. "I'm kind of burned out, and I just want to be a human being for awhile. That's what I like about Trash: it's so earthy, and you really use your hands to make things and play them. It's very interactive."

The group has regular building sessions where they tweak existing instruments, making them more musically flexible or far-reaching, and create new ones from the ground up. All materials are salvaged or obtained secondhand. Many started out as simplistic, and grew in musical capability over time, such as Geiss' wrenchstrument which can now produce two full octaves.

Wilde, an avid thrift store hunter, is also constantly creating new instruments.

"I'm also working on something kind of like a xylophone," Wilde says. "It's on platform of styrofoam, and the tubes on top are cut-up pieces of old lawn chairs."

And after being inspired by another local group, she now wants to learn how to play the saw - she's already got a rusty old one on hand.

Garbage growth

Though Trash Orchestra has a relaxed ethic, the members are very serious about progressing to the next level.

Wilde says the group recently had a meeting where they decided certain members who were interested would enroll in taiko (Japanese drumming) and samba classes.

"We're going to get some drumming from other cultures and bring that in as well," Wilde says. "We're working on developing various rhythmic patterns that serve as the backbone. Everything else is layers on top of that, and those layers will never stay the same twice."

During one of the Trash Orchestra's Sunday outings, the Orchestra is assembling in their "pit" - the top level of the River Street parking garage.

Thunder's car is parked nearby, a modified convertible: he literally sawed off the top of the vehicle. Serving as the unofficial Trashmobile, the backseat is brimming with junk - or, rather, musical instruments waiting to be discovered.

One of the members lifts up a decrepit bucket, so banged up, so dented and rusty that it barely resembles its original incarnation.

"I love that bucket," Thunder says, with genuine affection in his voice. "That is such a great bucket."

"This sounds really good too," says Geiss, the renounced computer whiz, as he offers up a dented motherboard.

"Hey, hand me the funky metal thing," someone asks.

After a few minutes of preparation, the group is ready to head down to Pacific Avenue for a public performance. Collectively, they hoist their junk and break into a march, their footsteps echoing through the parking garage, mirroring the beat of the bass drum recycling bins.

As they form a line and stroll down the ramp and through the alleyways of downtown Santa Cruz, it's like freegans meets Reservoir Dogs.

They play while marching, working their way through the crosswalk and finally settling next to a giant metal fish sculpture at Pacific and Cooper, just across from the Cinema 9 movie theater.

Melding instantly with the lazy, strolling feel of downtown Santa Cruz, Trash Orchestra is a hit.

Several bystanders of varying age break into spontaneous dance. Little girls in pink dance along, swirling sparkling butterfly creations obtained from street vendors; couples stop to stand and watch, arm-in-arm.

A father parks his stroller directly in front of the group and reaches in to unbuckle his toddler, who is wriggling with delight. Wilde walks over and hands them one of the Trash shakers; for a good 15 minutes father and son sit, sharing the shaker and clapping along.

A few homeless men approach the group, but instead of being shooed away, they're handed drumsticks and chopsticks and are encouraged to join in. One of them rattles up a staccato beat on the fish sculpture, blending in with the families watching and children dancing.

Off to the side, a clean-cut looking gentleman in a button down shirt is using two pennies to drum up rhythms on a metal trashcan.

Undoubtedly, its contents hold musical treasures aplenty, but no one stops to salvage - they're all too caught up in the beat of the moment.

To listen to samples of the Trash Orchestra online, visit

Sarah Klein
Sarah Klein is editor-in-chief of Alternate 101. Send comments to