The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021

VW’s Decker remembers ‘Stinkin’ Garbage’

VW independent/submitted information

A cool October evening. Eggerss Stadium. Halftime. The Cougar Pride Marching Band. Trash cans. And 22 hobos, ready to take the field. 

Van Wert High School music instructor Tina Decker recently looked back on one of the highlights of her career at VWHS.

VWHS band percussionists who performed “Stinkin’ Garbage” include (front row, from the left) Amanda (Schumm) Cline, Jena (Martin) Wierwille; (back row) Nick Baird, Mandy Kirkendall, Kelly (Matthews) Avalos, Kim (McGrath) Wolford, Lisa (Ries) Riffe-Ries, Ryan Fortney, and Ella (Manken) Stoller. VWHS photo

“Stinkin’ Garbage”, written by Ed Argenziano and intended to be played on — you guessed it — garbage cans, was the percussion section feature played on October 6, 2000. At that time, it was tradition for the percussion section to perform some sort of feature at one of the home halftimes during the season. 

Decker, Van Wert City Schools’ percussion teacher, chose “Stinkin’ Garbage” as the 2000 feature after seeing it performed during a convention. 

“I could envision the whole thing with my students, which is really hard to do sometimes,” Decker explained. “I knew we had the talent and commitment. We had so many students at that time, and that’s what made it so amazing.” 

The group, consisting of four seniors, two juniors, eight sophomores, and eight freshmen, practiced an hour and a half two evenings a week for six weeks to prepare for the performance. 

The first performance was greeted with a standing ovation from both the home and away crowds. It was such a hit with fans, the group took it on the road and played it at the following away game where the host team’s crowd also offered a standing ovation. 

After a total of five performances, including the state send-off for the 2000 VWHS football team, the annual marching band concert, and a home basketball game, the gang retired its trash cans for good. 

“The rehearsals and performance of Stinkin’ Garbage still remain as a highlight in my teaching career,” Decker said. “When I reminisce about that moment in time and the students involved, I smile every time!”

POSTED: 10/16/20 at 6:29 am. FILED UNDER: Youth