By DEVIN WEEKS
COEUR d’ALENE — Students had to stifle their giggles as Tim Sandford put on a helmet and sunglasses and slowly wheeled his knee walker scooter into the middle of his band room.
With a honk of a squeeze bulb horn and a rhythm set by the egg shaker in his hand, the Lake City High School instrumental music teacher prompted his students to start making some noise.
Wielding shakers, wood tone blocks, drumsticks, maracas, vibraslaps and even a pair of scissors, about 30 alternative percussion and rhythm students on Wednesday performed several routines for their upcoming production of "STOMP."
"It's a unique show," Sandford said. "Totally different."
The students spent fall semester building their version of "STOMP." From the high notes of frying pans and the deep bass of soaking barrels to the snap and crinkle of newspapers, the young musicians are preparing a plate of percussion perfection for their audience to devour.
“It’s a really amazing thing to be a part of,” said junior Emma Benz, who is in her second year of participating in "STOMP."
"You have the opportunity to be creative and not have such a structured thing you have to do," she said. "We make up all the routines. We kind of do whatever we want. You also get a lot of feedback that way, so it ends up being a really cool show."
"STOMP" originated in the United Kingdom in the early ’90s, when a group of musicians got together and turned household and industrial objects into percussion instruments. Combined with a sprinkling of comedy and choreographed to the T, the show was a smash and has been performed around the world.
“It feels really cool," said senior Natalie Magnus, who is enjoying her third year of "STOMP." "It’s exciting. It’s great to hear all the parts come together. You can pick out individual parts, but once they all come together, it’s just a huge cool thing."
The percussion students have worked in big groups, medium groups and finally smaller groups as they have planned and organized their routines.
"From that we create a show for the stage," Sandford said.
The choreography and items used for instruments change with each set. During "Sticks," only wooden poles and drum sticks are used with the movement of the students to create an interesting effect.
Paige Martin, senior, said her favorite routine is "Barrels," which uses drumsticks on the barrels and the barrels themselves as they're lifted and dropped, creating deep notes in unison.
"I really enjoy the different themes in it," Paige said. "We based it off a movie (‘Hatari!’ with John Wayne) and adapted it to the instruments we have. I like how we can all connect with each other. You just feel the energy within it. It’s really cool."
Senior Nina Judd said she’s sad to be in her third and final year of the class, but she’s enjoyed being one of the class leaders and watching her younger peers work toward carrying the torch for next year.
She said the show is all about collaboration, rhythm, choreography, and, most importantly, teamwork.
“You can’t make up a routine with just one person,” she said. "We’re just like a gigantic family. The dynamic is family-friendly and we have a lot of fun doing it."
With the myriad of items used as instruments and the creativity generated by 30 high-schoolers with input from their instructor, this version of "STOMP" is full of surprises.
"We want to bring something to the table that no one’s ever seen before in Coeur d’Alene," Nina said. "No one really knows what to expect with 'STOMP.' You have to expect the unexpected."
The free performances of "STOMP" will be in the LCHS auditorium at 7 p.m. Jan. 17 and 18.
LCHS is located at 6101 Ramsey Road in Coeur d'Alene.