Long Island Vegetable Orchestra serves up Gourd-geous Music

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People may think they're out of their gourd, but the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra artists are serious about making music memorable. People may think they're out of their gourd, but the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra artists are serious about making music memorable.
BETHPAGE -

Some Long Island musicians are getting rave reviews for playing with their food.

The Long Island Vegetable Orchestra is the country's first and only edible ensemble. This orchestra serves up a smorgasbord of sound using carrot flutes, butternut squash trumpets, pumpkin percussions and melon maracas. And they’re anything but garden variety.

Click HERE to hear more about the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra's roots and sound.

Click HERE to listen to the orchestra's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

“I lost track that they were playing squashes and carrots,” said one audience member who called the group amazing. “I just thought it was regular instruments. That's how good they were!”

Dale Stuckenbruck, who plays lead carrot, cooked up the idea 12 years ago. As the music teacher at Garden City's Waldorf School, Stuckenbruck was struggling to get unmotivated students interested in music.

“I tried drumming. I tried music theory. I tried to teach them rhythm. But that was so academic. It really wasn't something personal to them,” says Stuckenbruck.

Then Stuckenbruck discovered the key to capturing their imagination was putting traditional instruments aside and encouraging them to play with their food.

“They loved it immediately,” he says. “That first sound in class they said, ‘What!! No! I want to do this!’”

Half the fun is turning a medley of veggies into the instruments, which are made fresh before performances. The vegetable instruments are later turned into compost after the group plays.

People may think they're out of their gourd, but the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra artists are serious about making music memorable.

“It's inspiring people to sort of let go of, like, the things we think maybe are silly or strange at first glance and sort of inspire people to do something different,” says Jennifer Merkel.

So cue the carrots, strike up the squash and turnip the volume.

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