For the group Vocal Trash, musical entertainment comes with an environmental message, teaching parents and their kids about recycling as they perform a mixture of pop, rock, swing and classic oldies using both traditional instruments and trash cans and lids, barrels, buckets, car parts, brooms, bottles and other recycled items. The Texas-based seven-member troupe began as The City to City Band 10 years ago, and when they incorporated the industrial percussion items into one a cappella number, they got such a good response that they decided to built an entire show around the concept, adding more visual elements including dance and choreography.

"When we first put the idea together it was conceived strictly as a vehicle to present a unique, positive and entertaining show to the masses. In other words, it was a career move — a way to sustain a living," says founder Steve Linder. "It wasn't until countless fans approached us about the awareness factor and educational possibilities that we realized the potential of what we had and it totally lined up our positive message. Ultimately, this made us aware and more conscious of the environment and recycling endeavors. So Vocal Trash made good stewards of us. We're now 'Musical Environmentalists.' What we are is bigger than who we are."

Vocal Trash has performed at venues as diverse as Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden in New York and a flatbed truck at a rodeo in Montana — "coast to coast as well as overseas at various festivals, fairs, theaters and an assortment of musical venues," says Linder. "During our off season, we hit the schools for recycling and up-cycling education."

Also audible on a CD and DVD available at vocaltrash.net, Vocal Trash will perform at the Carolina State Fair in Columbia, S.C., through Oct. 23 and at the Hideaway Clubhouse in Hideaway, Texas, on Oct. 29, with a New Year's Eve gig booked in Pasco, Wash. Their goals are twofold, says Linder. "One is to continue to entertain people in a positive and up-lifting manor, and secondly, to push awareness, on a global scale, about the importance of environmental issues and recycling. Going green can be fun and creative as well as life altering. How cool is that?"

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