One man's trash, another man's music

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Nov. 8, 2012 at 5:08 a.m.

Vocal Trash is a music group based in Fort Worth. Steve Linder, in blue shirt, and Kelsey Rae, in red, founded the band in 2000.

Vocal Trash is a music group based in Fort Worth. Steve Linder, in blue shirt, and Kelsey Rae, in red, founded the band in 2000.

Cardboard, plastics and glass have always been the least of my priorities when it comes to taking out the trash.

For Seattle native, Kelsey Rae, recycling these materials has always been a big part of her life.

"It's not about being a Democrat or Republican," Rae said. "It's about our future."

The Seahawk transplant moved to Fort Worth about 12 years ago to choreograph moves for Vocal Trash - a sustainable music group that uses recycled goods to make instruments.

"People are definitely friendlier here," Rae said. "Things are already on the move in Seattle as far as green awareness goes."

The six-member band comes to Victoria on Tuesday to play at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts.

The musicians drilled holes and constructed their big-band instruments out of recycled water cooler jugs, galvanized trash can lids and plastic blue barrels.

Vocal Trash will play three shows; two for middle-school students from area schools during the day and another for the public later that evening.

Their set includes a wide variety of songs ranging from tracks by the Black-Eyed Peas to Big Band-era music.

The group's mission is to educate the youth about the significance of recycling for the environment.

"We like to focus on K through eighth grade," Rae said. "That's the age group that's going to change the world."

Nearly two years ago, I left Texas and moved to Saint Paul, Minn., in the dead of winter. My first week there, I found two eco-friendly roommates off Craigslist.

Part of my orientation into the crafty, sustainable household was learning how to compost our uneaten food.

Worms were never my forte, but disposing our compost-friendly fruit and vegetables significantly reduced the amount of trash we were producing.

We're lucky to have a citywide residential recycling program in Victoria. Back home in the suburbs of Houston, recycling is a myth from a land far, far away.

During my conversation with Rae, she suggested making a green effort in small ways before moving onto larger initiatives.

This month, I plan to take one of her tips in action.

Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups a year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website.

Half a century from now, the foam Whataburger cup I used this morning, will be still be intact.

About 70 percent of the restaurant food I consume comes from a fast-food establishment.

My challenge this month is to bring, carry and clean a lidded cup for my fast-food beverages to fill.

"If we can all change one thing, it'll be a huge movement," Rae said. "If you can't recycle it, make it something else."



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