You’re walking out of Mason Hall as you make your way toward Hatcher. You hear rattles and rhythms pounding from the heart of the Diag. These rattles and rhythms express a cohesive unity — a unity of drumming, cheering and meticulous beats. No, it’s not the Michigan Drum Line, and no, you’re not making it up in your head. It’s the eccentric musical group rocking out on trash cans and a step ladder: It’s Groove, and it’s the sound you’ve been waiting to hear all semester.
A night filled with alternative methods of music and entertainment, Groove will be taking over Michigan Theater tomorrow for their concert “Drumpalooza.”
More than a group of creative minds, Groove is designed to bring new talent to the campus’s music scene. They believe their personality is built on extremes, ranging from simple and accessible to complex and striking.
The best way to describe the work of the 32 Groovers would to be a mix of The Blue Man Group and Stomp, however, the group sets out to make an independent name for themselves.
“Groove pushes the limit of what people consider to be music and instruments … Any of the groups we compare ourselves to are going in different directions than us,” said College of Engineering sophomore and Groove’s Music Director Bryan Schildcrout.
Although drumming is their core, the group seeks to find talent outside of percussion. Whether it be dancing or playing the trumpet, Groove is all about seeing “what unique quality you can bring to us.”
Groove still celebrates their focus in percussion, meanwhile forming a mosaic of unique and talented students. But that doesn't stop the group from recruiting drummers.“There are members in our group who have never touched a drum before,” Schildcrout said. So as hard-working and music-sharing Groovers do, they teach their new members how to drum.
Before Groove, College of Engineering freshman and new Groover Ryan “Bruce” Mersol-Barg only played a solo drum set. But joining a group with coordination and trust, Mersol-Barg learned what it means to give and take and to become aware of all the features that happen during a performance.
“There are a lot of things you have to learn … Learning to play with other percussionists is challenging in some regards. It’s definitely something different, and some of the songs can get complex. You have to trust people to be on time and make sure that you're with them. It’s all very coordinated … it’s fun, but it’s a challenge,” Mersol-Barg said.
Additionally, with so many ideas, skills and talents, Groove has to find organization through all the craze.
“The best part of Groove is the creativity,” said LSA senior and Groove President Hannah Buck. “But the hardest part is harnessing that creativity.” This harnessing translates to ensuring that members come to scheduled rehearsals and giving deadlines for newly written music pieces.
A myriad of artistry, Groovers build their own sets, share their expertise and write their own songs and choreography –– they’re also known to be “innovators.”
“You are not just a player in this grand scheme you’re joining,” Mersol-Barg said. “You’re in it. And you’re in every part of it.” The same could be said for the audience’s attention, soaking in all the talent the group puts forth.
Creative, explosive and most definitely engaging, the audience can relate to the performance because of their relatability and accessibility. I walked into their rehearsal space to see shopping carts, pots, pans, buckets and trash cans –– these everyday objects are used as the foundation to produce power-house, raging beats. And that’s what makes Groove’s sound so special.
“People would expect to come to our show and just see just 10 trashcans, but that’s not at all what our shows are,” Buck said. “Groove is more than drumming on trash cans and more than drumming.” Their past shows’ lineups have included wild piano pieces, improv, dance numbers, blacklight shows, funny skits and overall incredible instrumentation.
Regardless of what instrument or ordinary object Groove is rockin’ out with, through their willingness to spread musical talent and to use of all kinds of materials, they prove to their viewers that anyone can make music and anyone can be a performer.
“Groove takes down the barrier between audience and performer,” Schildcrout said. “I think our music is something that people see and say ‘We could be doing that.’”
Filled with heart-pounding beats and intricate musical scores, Groovers continue to be risk-taking, passionate and fluorescent performers; and most importantly, they’re a tight-knit group of friends who yearn to share their love for art.