Junk Rock makes striking impression on fairgoers
August 28, 2013 11:00 AM
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Even when the band was out of sight, everyone at the Indiana County Fair seemed to know where Junk Rock had been.

Right over there, in front of the Ferris wheel.

Down through the midway, jamming past the apple dumplings.

Grooving past the grandstand with their eye-catching green clothing and funky beats.

And for certain, everyone could hear where the West Chester-based percussion group was at the moment.

Amid the medley of sounds — the lilting music of the carousel band organ, the top 40 pop blasting from the mechanical bull tent, the barkers calling out from brightly lit booths — the vibrant rhythm of the ensemble’s drums rose above the crowd.

Wherever the trio stopped to perform, a crowd of all ages gathered.

Some, at first, would smile curiously. A few would begin tapping their toes or bobbing their heads in time with the beat.

Others looked on with interest at Junk Rock’s instruments — some painted with bold colors, others made from metal that gleamed beneath the candy-colored carnival lights — all made from reused items such as garbage cans, buckets and 55-gallon drums.

But it wouldn’t be long before the musicians with a message drummed up some audience participation.

“It’s time to get serious!” Brent Behrenshausen called to the crowd. “Get funky! Clap your hands!”

Behrenshausen, 28, serves as musical director for the upbeat percussionists. He and band mates Aaron Taylor, 21, and Nic D’Orsaneo, 29, make nearly all of Junk Rock’s instruments, re-purposing unwanted items into whatever is needed to make a fresh sound.

“It’s just energetic drum rock,” he said. “Our instruments are usually any type of junk we like.”

Besides the trash cans, Junk Rock’s inspired, up-cycled items can range from plastic tubes to old pots to milk cans.

“We do like to have a recycled aspect of what we do,” he said. “That’s why we wear green.”

Around 9 p.m., Behrenshausen — green from the fuzzy bomber hat on his head to his toes in Kelly green Converse All Stars — was enticing the crowd to limbo and lead dance moves outside of the grandstand.

Positioned behind an industrial cart holding drums and even a xylophone, the animated entertainers had clearly captured the crowd’s attention.

“We just got here, and they’re awesome,” said Bryan Finchum, an east Texas man working in Indiana.

He said he’s never seen anything like them.

Jackie Hughes, of Indiana, stood beside him as her son, 4-year-old Kyle, got down, stomping his feet and pumping his arms.

“I just think they’re very good. It’s very entertaining,” Finchum said.

So did Christine Trusdell, of Latrobe, who stood in front of the expo building and watched a friend dance.

“We were at the building and we heard them so we came running out to see them,” she said. “They have a nice beat.”

It’s a beat that began several years ago when members, West Chester University alum or students, decided to make something unique — namely, music — from unwanted items.

The trio now not only aims to share good music but increase awareness of opportunities for recycling and re-purposing.

Performing as part of Windish Music and Productions, a company that features a variety of acts, the trio has become a fixture at Hershey Park, playing for thousands each day.

Members say they’ve been well-received at the fair, where they’ll be playing today as well, from 5 to 9 p.m. This is Junk Rock’s first time performing in the area. Previously, they’ve traveled to northern Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh area for shows, Behrenshausen said.

Aside from getting the word out about recycling, Behrenshausen and crew have another message for fairgoers: “We get the crowds rocking with our awesome drum beats,” he said. “We’re all about putting on an entertaining show and letting people participate with us.”

PHOTO:  Junk Rock, a percussion ensemble that plays drums made from recycled materials, performed Tuesday at the Indiana County Fair. Members, from left, are Aaron Taylor, Nic D’Orsaneo and Brent Behrenshausen, all of West Chester. (Kayla Grube/Gazette photo)

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