Trash Talkers deliver, delight & impress

Jake Boker, 6, and Ella Healey, 9, were invited to join the Trash Talkers on stage outside Porter Library, then rewarded them with official Trash Talkers garb.

The 13 young men who performed at Westlake Porter Public Library on May 20 proved beyond a doubt that banging on trash cans attracts people of all ages, male or female, and results in smiling faces, tapping feet and clapping hands.

Of course, the St. Edward High School students who are members of the school’s Trash Talkers team have taken their banging skills to an entirely new level and their remarkable reputation drew the attention of the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council. In keeping with its commitment to present all facets of art to the community, the WWAC made arrangements for the Trash Talkers’ Westlake performance.

Upon arrival, the team and its coordinators facilitated moving the program, planned for indoors, to the library’s green area that borders Center Ridge Road. The Trash Talkers took no time in moving dozens of chairs to the lawn to accommodate their audience, which soon broadened to include cars driving by.

John Goers, St. Edward’s facility director and the Trash Talkers coordinator, introduced the members and gave a brief history of the team before turning the emceeing over to Andy Schumann, a St. Ed’s junior. Soon 11 large trash cans and 5 large plastic drums were attacked by heavy-duty drum sticks with authority and rhythmic beat. Tops, sides, handles, any possible surfaces, were systematically used to beat out the desired sounds by performers who left no doubt about the work they invest in preparation.

When Schumann extended an invitation for two volunteers to join them in one of their pieces, numerous responses came from very young to those with gray hair. Upon completing the daunting task of selection, Schumann announced anyone wishing to try their “instruments” would be welcome to do so after the performance.

After very brief instruction, the chosen two, Jake Boker, 6, and Ella Healey, 9, manned the drumsticks alongside the Trash Talkers. Jake and Ella were pronounced qualified by the team and to their delight, as well as to those watching, they were ceremoniously clothed in a Trash Talkers T-shirt and hat.

With seasoned showmanship, nothing was spared in the team’s finale. Audience members lingered to try the “instruments” and speak with the outgoing performers, as well as Goers, and Dominic Tancredi, the team‘s percussion instructor. Both Goers and Tancredi, who are justifiably proud of the team, are St. Edward graduates.

In addition to Schumann, the students who performed were: seniors Connor Higgins and Brian Patton; juniors Will Beatrez, Jack Gaughan, Connor Gluck, Michael McLoughlin and Joe Unger; sophomores Nick Greenewalt, Connor Ling, Aidan McIntyre and Stephen Schimpf; and freshman Kevin Ng.

Goers said the Trash Talkers were founded in 2002 and gave their first performance in January 2003. The first group had 8 members. Presently, the average number of members is 25, who make up two teams. The Gold team does public performances and the Green team does in-school performances while in training.

Trash Talkers have made over 300 performances in front of more than 100,000 people. Their accolades include being voted Best Unit in the Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2011 and 2014.

The May 20 program is another reason for the WWAC to take a bow for its gift of art programing for the community.

Louise Seeholzer

Publicist for Westlake-Westshore Arts Council

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 9:00 AM, 05.28.2014