The way kids have told it for generations, beans-beans are the musical fruit. But The Long Island Vegetable Orchestra has taken plant-based music-making to much more socially acceptable and melodious levels with carrot flutes, broccoli oboes, squash violins and more produce-based instruments — without taking away any of the fun.
The orchestra, which had its start at the Waldorf School in 2009, performs at festivals, concert halls and independent film openings, but you can see the vegetable instruments in action at the second (and last) weekend of the Long Island Fair this Saturday and Sunday October 3 and 4 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Founder, Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck, and his partner in the creative music journey, music educator, piano technician and inventor of ever more sophisticated vegetable instruments, Dan Battaglia, will be demonstrating how they are made and played. Some of the young musicians will be there too, drilling holes into perfectly innocent root vegetables and turning them into sound instruments.
“I guess it was about nine years ago that we had students at the Waldorf School who had music requirements but weren’t really musicians,” says Dr. Stuckenbruck, a busy concert violinist who performs, records and composes in addition to being musical director at the school. “We wanted to do something they would remember. I saw the Viennese Vegetable Orchestra on YouTube. It looked easy, but of course it wasn’t easy at all, however we went forward with it and made it work.”
The Long Island Vegetable Orchestra evolved from these classroom projects and while it is independent of the school, the performers often include Waldorf students, as well as LIU Post students.
“The personnel changes quite a bit,” says Stuckenbruck. “But not as much as the vegetables.”
For more information on the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra, contact Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516.538.2554. They can be found at the fair on the Village Restoration side, between the ball field and the corn maze.