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ScrapArtsMusic to play FermiLab Arts and Lecture series

ScrapArtsMusic will perform Fermilab March 23.  |  File Photo

ScrapArtsMusic will perform at Fermilab on March 23. | File Photo

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◆ 8 p.m. March 23

◆ Ramsey Auditorium at Fermilab, Kirk Road and Pine Street, Batavia

◆ $15-$30

◆ (630) 942-4000;

Updated: April 24, 2013 6:12AM

Growing up in Vancouver, Gregory Kozak remembers making music on everything from the hubcaps in his father’s garage to the oven racks in the kitchen.

Kozak, 59, along with designer Justine Murdy, co-created ScrapArtsMusic, a high-energy percussion ensemble that uses instruments crafted from industrial scraps such as plumbing equipment, bicycle parts and construction materials. They will perform an 8 p.m. show March 23 at Fermilab in Batavia. The show is presented by the College of DuPage’s McAninch Arts Center in partnership with Fermilab Arts and Lecture Series.

Other band members include Spencer Cole, Christa Mercey, Greg Samek and Malcolm Shoolbraid.

“About 15 years ago, I decided I wanted to make an orchestra of invented musical instruments out of recyclable materials — things that I could get for free in and around my neighborhood in Vancouver,” Kozak said. “I did that because I wanted to be green and do my thing for the environment, but I also had zero dollars to work with. It was a personal artistic exploration ... I wanted to see what came out of it.”

The band makes its own costumes and a lighting director tours with them, as lighting is a big part of the show, he said.

“We try to create an environment — not just the orchestra, but the environment that people come into. They experience this world of transforming objects.

“We access everything we can find,” he said. “I spend a lot of time in scrapyards and industrial machine shops looking for things.” The most unusual thing he’s used onstage? Submarine ballasts, he said.

ScrapArtsMusic has toured all over the world, and performed most famously at the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The time will fly by for audiences, he said.

“Especially at Fermilab, where they’re dealing with God particles, we’ve managed to suspend time,” he said. “They’ll get a big blast of energy out of, and see and hear things they never have before.”

Annie Alleman is a local free-lance writer.

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