When School of Music senior Collin McLaughlin decided to audition for the campus percussion group Groove four years ago, he didn’t quite know what he was in for. He walked into the audition room with no drumming experience and was promptly handed a broom.
“They had this crazy music in front of me and they were like, ‘Play this,'” he said.
Ultimately, McLaughlin made the cut, but he said he’s still not entirely sure how he persuaded the group to accept him.
LSA senior Erin Mittendorf had a similar experience at her audition.
“People told me I got in because I moonwalked at the mass meeting,” she said.
Cory Hafer, president of Groove, said the criteria for getting into the group is hard to pin down. He added that while he’s looking for future Groove members to be good musicians, he also wants them to bring charisma to the table.
“We want it (the show) to be very visually appealing, so we’re looking for intense performers,” he said.
Hafer said the idea of performing with gusto was a little hectic to him at first because he came from a classical percussion background. But he soon found that he and the group were “a match made in heaven.”
Although the idea of banging on trash cans might seem amateur to some, Groove has an annual show at the Michigan Theatre that rivals professionals.
At their first show four years ago, the group played instruments that they attached to the scaffolding. Now, the instruments in the scaffolding have morphed into “Mount Doom,” a structure that is made of stop signs, sinks and pvc pipes and is twenty feet off the stage at its highest point.
Engineering junior Nathan Zukoff said Mount Doom is not something you would see at most concerts.
“It is a three tier musical instrument of amazingness,” he said.
Hafer said his goal is to make Groove’s performances as creative and seamless as possible, but of course mishaps are unavoidable.
During a dress rehearsal last year, one performer sitting on top of a trash can fell through the lid. Although the tone of the song she was practicing was serious, her fellow performers couldn’t even help her because they were too busy laughing.
Even though 13 of the group’s 35 members are graduating this year, they won’t be putting down their drum sticks, you’ll be able to see them banging on trash cans as part of a similar group called Juice.