Loudon students make their own kind
School band uses garbage cans as
By Robert Wilson knoxnews.com
LOUDON - A passel of Loudon County kids have developed a
can-do attitude about music, with emphasis on the "can" part.
And, even if their music would be almost certain to give a symphony
conductor bad dreams, they are having fun, and that's what counts.
So say members of the Fort Loudoun Middle School Trashcan Band, 21
youngsters with rhythm in their souls and enough energy to make TVA want
to hide in a closet.
Under the direction of 6th-grade teacher Scott Hinds, the band is in its
third year of doing exactly what its name implies, using trash cans as
Though admittedly a little heavy on percussion - like 100 percent - the
band can coax a variety of sounds from their instruments, depending on
where the player hits the can or the lid.
When the band does its pre-performance warm-up, it sounds sort of like
you're in an aluminum outbuilding during a Texas hailstorm.
"My ears have calluses," Hinds says.
But, when it comes together, everybody working in sync and on the same
beat, it takes on a primal feel and can momentarily make you forget that
these are metal trash cans being assaulted with sticks of wood.
The Fort Loudoun Middle School Trashcan Band has been asked to perform
at halftime of the Lady Vols' game against Duke on Feb. 16, which will
be televised on ESPN2.
The trash-can band program is supported by a 21st Century Community
Learning Centers grant, which basically buys trash cans and drumsticks,
They don't need a sound system; they are plenty loud without one.
The Trashcan Band is an extra-curricular activity at Fort Loudoun that
has become so popular that Hinds had 50 kids audition this school year
for the 21 spots with the band. Kids stay after school to beat the
dickens out of a trash can, along with their like-minded friends.
Some, like 7th-grader Joe Burch, 12, are into music beyond trash cans.
He plays drums with a rock band ("and some country") and clarinet in the
Joe, along with Alissa Bradshaw, 13; Zach Garner, 13; and Dakota Green,
14, all 8th-graders, said the activity provides a release after a tough
"You get rid of, like, anger and stuff," Alissa said. "If you're angry,
you can go beat on something."
It's somewhat more structured than that, but all agree the Trashcan Band
can put a cork in their aggressions, at least for a while.
And they are unanimous in one other thing. They think Hinds is the
He's "one of the family," Zach says.
"He's like a big kid," Alissa says.
Hinds, who is in the early stages of his teaching career, is a showman,
playing rockabilly slap bass with the Maryville-based band Pistol Creek:
Catch of the Day. He is moderately famous for his exaggerated, energetic
movement and for occasionally standing on his doghouse bass as he plays.
Hinds says the band members come up with about half their rhythms on
their own, and he provides the other half.
The routines have intricate timings, and the kids even add some
choreographed moves where they hit each other's cans - trash cans, that
is - and pop their sticks together. Some use the trash-can lids as
All in all, it's an exercise in teamwork, problem-solving and
discipline, and the kids really get a bang out of it, you might say.