Not your normal percussion group: Scrap Arts to perform Nov. 16 at SJU

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October 28, 2019

By Taylor Notsch ‘21

Scrap Arts performing

Clinking, clanking and clattering sounds fill the air.

The beating of metal, rapping of drum-like surfaces and hum of hollow objects emerge from what looks like trash and useless materials.

Mix in some intricate choreography and acrobatic skills and you’re at the Scrap Arts Music: Children of Metropolis performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, Saint John’s University as part of the Fine Arts Series at the College of Saint Benedict and SJU.

There will also be a special one-hour matinee performance of Scrap Arts Music at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater.

This innovative take on percussion proves that one person’s scrap is another’s treasure. For Scrap Arts Music’s Artistic Director Greg Kozak, this couldn’t be more true. Kozak welds and sculpts thrown away materials into original instruments featured on stage.

“In order to play my instruments,” said Kozak in a video on the company’s website, “you have to sort of happily walk away from your established instrument set and walk over to my pile of stuff and start investigating.

“And then be prepared to run around with it, carry it, jump on top of it, ride it.”

Clearly, Scrap Arts Music isn’t the average percussion ensemble.

The athletic cast of musicians fly across the stage, constantly spinning and twisting their instruments and rearranging their formations.

A major theme for Scrap Arts Music is visuals. In addition to the musical allure, providing a visually pleasing performance is a factor that sets this group apart. Children of Metropolis is set in another world, retro-futuristic land and is inspired by the ending of Fritz Lang’s iconic 1927 cult classic film, “Metropolis.”

Children of Metropolis builds upon Scrap Arts distinctive art form and features high-energy choreography and a smattering of humor which gives the production broad international reach and all-age appeal.

According to its website, “every Scrap Arts Music production starts with giving consideration to the visual possibility of performance.”

The production isn’t just musicians striking drums. It’s bigger, better and much more involved.

“This quintet has the total package,” said reviewer Clive O’Connell at The Age, Melbourne. “Even for the percussively jaded, this group is a knock-out.”

The Canadian group has performed in 16 countries across five continents, as well as the closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

In addition to its performance, Scrap Arts Music will be in residency from Nov. 11-16 at CSB and SJU. The group will work with welding and mechanical arts students from area high schools along with other activities.

Kozak leads the group’s outreach activities that include master classes, workshops (including Found Sound, “Rhythm and Movement,” “Instrument Design” and “Teacher Workshops”) and educational matinees.

The group’s educational goals for students include exposure to original, rhythmically-rich percussion ensemble music; recognition of new ways to recycle scrap materials; a willingness to accept new ideas of music and instrumentation; an appreciation of musical structure in terms of elements of rhythm, pitch and melody; understanding the inter-relationship of music with science, visual arts, dance and theater; and alternative ideas about what constitutes a musical instrument.

Tickets for the evening Scrap Arts Music: Children of Metropolis performance are $32 for adults, $29 for seniors, $25 for CSB/SJU faculty and staff, $15 for youth and students and $10 for CSB/SJU students.

Tickets for the matinee Scrap Arts Music performance are $26 for adults, $23 for seniors, $19 for CSB/SJU faculty and staff, $15 for youth and students and $10 for CSB/SJU students.

For tickets, call the Benedicta Arts Center Box Office at 320-363-5777 or order online.

Scrap Arts Music: Children of Metropolis is sponsored by the Mahowald Family and the Norie and Bob Mahowald Charitable Fund, and Gearbox Functional Creative.

The activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

This performance is also funded in part by a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Fund of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.