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Discovering music in everything

Ever wonder what the background noise of everyday life sounds like in the hands and feet of talented musicians and dancers? Turn off your iPod, silence your cellphone and head to Shea's Performing Arts Center this weekend for a performance that will keep your ears and eyes wanting more. The show "Stomp" will satisfy your senses with electrifying moves and infectious music with the use of unconventional "instruments" that create upbeat rhythms. By the end of the show, you will discover that everything around you has a heartbeat.

"Stomp" was first created in the United Kingdom by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. The tour group began traveling and performing in numerous countries between 1991 and 1992 in cities like Hong Kong, Barcelona, Dublin and Sydney. U.S. tours began in 1995. In total, the group has performed in more than 350 cities in 36 countries.

Some of the diverse props you'll see used as instruments are brooms, garbage lids, sand, athlete's chalk, drumsticks, bananas, tractor tires, boxes of matches and more. The upcoming shows contain new surprises, with "Paint Cans" and "Donuts" among the new numbers.

Carlos Thomas of upstate New York, a "Stomp" performer of 13 years, enjoys the improvisation aspect of the performance.

"We always change it up every night because we have the freedom to play and act as we want," Thomas said.

No two performances are exactly the same.

Thomas says he loves playing with all the props but highlights a favorite -- making music with his own body.

"You don't need traditional instruments to make music," he explains.

Imagine trash can lids thrashing together with the sound of feet and brooms stomping in unison and humor mixed together. That's some of what people experience at the show. Who knew the simple rustling of a newspaper or brooms moving along the floor could be transformed into such mesmerizing rhythm?

Thomas first became interested in joining the group at a young age because of his passion for music. He explains "Stomp's" appeal. "It makes you open your ears a little bit more to the sounds that you hear in everyday life," he said. "I see people walking around and discovering everything has music in it and that life has its own rhythm. It's interesting how we can get that point across without speaking words because there's no speaking in the show. Most people are shocked that it has comedy in it and that we can do what we do with our props."

Thomas encourages people of all ages to see the show. "There is something for everyone to enjoy." He adds that teens will be inspired to "open their ears, learn to be quiet and listen more."

Curious to see how the group can transform any old street item into an instrument? The show runs Friday through Sunday at Shea's Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000, online at or at Shea's box office.

Leanora Karnath is a senior at Buffalo Seminary.