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NNSL Photo/Graphic

Sebastien LeTourneau, Tara Chang and Rochelle Hugg of Street Noise practise with the poles in the St. Patrick high school music room. Errant poles sometimes land on the performers' toes, but so far that's only happened in rehearsal. - Jennifer Geens/NNSL photo

Thump, bonk, clang

Jennifer Geens
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (June 18/04) - Street Noise has to hide their instruments in a cubbyhole in the St. Patrick high school music room so they don't get thrown out. People might mistake them for garbage.

"Or throw garbage in them," said teacher Rochelle Hugg.

Not every band plays empty water jugs, garbage bins, lids, poles and brooms. But five St. Pat's students and one teacher are rapidly becoming virtuosos on these unlikely percussion instruments.

Street Noise is the brainchild of Chad Malouin. Malouin graduated last year, but is upgrading courses. Malouin saw the Australian group Stomp when he was 11 years old and always wanted to do something like it.

"I thought I might as well do it now," he said.

He formed the group in January by actively recruiting students who had drumming experience. Street Noise began with 12 members, but Malouin whittled the group down to six members (Malouin, Hugg, Sebastien LeTourneau, Tara Chang, Catherine Babin-Lavoie and Cassandra Greening.)

Home Hardware, Birchwood Gallery and Fiddles and Stix helped out with instruments.

"We really appreciate everything they've done for us," said Malouin.

Street Noise members incur more injuries than your regular band. "Assistant captain" LeTourneau said playing the poles can be particularly dangerous if you slam one at the floor and hit your own foot instead.

But Malouin said it's more of a rehearsal problem. It hasn't happened on stage. Yet.

No more bleeding hands

It took a number of tries to find the right gripping system for the garbage can lids. The first handle left hands bleeding after 20 minutes of use.

Now a combination of an elasticized loop and metal finger grips give them a more ergonomic grip with their hands flat against the lid.

Malouin said he and LeTourneau excel at the water jugs and have a drumming duet they're working on for their next performances.

Street Noise has performed at St. Pat's Fine Arts Night, at Caribou Capers and during the play Peter Pan. Next week they'll be playing at the Solstice Festival.

They'll be performing at the One Act Play Festival at NACC in early July. They also earned a spot in the Folk on the Rocks line-up, and will have a workshop beforehand with Allakomi, a group of African drummers.

LeTourneau said the best thing about being in the band is playing in front of people.

"People really get into it," he said.