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Beat the Monday blues with Drums, Please! on Peace Plaza

August 17, 2018
From left, volunteers and brainstorming friends Michelle Partogi, Nick Samson, Eric Anderson and Mike Mahrer build the ScreamBooth in Rose Anderson's garage.

Mayo Clinic can’t cure your case of the Mondays, but Rochester’s first Angry Hour just might have the fix you need when Drums, Please! takes over Peace Plaza on Aug. 20.

The event is the brainchild of Rose Anderson, a Rochester resident of eight years. While searching for a fun community project to fill her summer, she and several friends brainstormed a list of their favorite activities, which included everything from marching bands to barbecue picnics to fire circuses. In Drums, Please! she’s bringing all that together.

“It was really about free-flowing ideas,” Anderson said of developing the concept. “The fun challenge of this project was how to take these really off-the-wall ideas and make them real, something people can experience.”

The fun starts at 4 p.m. when Hog Thai Catering, Francisco’s Cuban Cafe and Triple T Barbecue fire up the grills. Old Abe Coffee Co. will also be there serving kombucha and coffee. While the barbecue picnic will take a little while to get cooking, hang around for the drums and pipes, which start at 5 p.m. with a performance by the Rochester Caledonia Pipe Band.

Following the drums, Drums will share Peace Plaza from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. with the high energy of Zumba on the Plaza, which Anderson says has graciously agreed to share the space.

If you’re not doing Zumba and you’ve eaten all the barbecue you can hold, you can participate in Angry Hour lawn games, including a Scream Booth and the world premiere of PunchPuggle.

Inspired by a similar game that Anderson’s husband, Eric, saw while visiting children’s museums around the country, the ScreamBooth is outfitted with a decibel meter and LED lights to help people measure the volume of their screams. It will also play different sounds on that decibel scale, including whispers, tractor engines or even the sound of the Mayo One helicopter.

“Stepping into the scream booth and screaming as loud as you can, it’s not something people normally do, but there is something really cathartic about letting it all out,” Anderson said. “The point is kind of to let your hair down a little bit.”

Fair warning: there will be a screaming contest, with chances to win passes donated by event sponsors Air Insanity.

As for PunchPuggle, Anderson says the game was invented by herself and some friends while brainstorming how they could take lawn games to the next level. She said the game is “hard to describe, you kind of have to come and see it.” In a nutshell, it involves oversized boxing gloves, bubbles and two handpainted pugs.

She and her team of volunteers have been building the game, along with their ScreamBooth, in her garage for weeks.

But the circus won’t fully come to town until 7 p.m., when Loud Mouth Brass take the Peace Plaza stage for a special performance alongside the Fandazzi Fire Circus for a flame-filled show that includes fire-breathing, fire-eating and Rochester’s best brass.

Funded by a start-up grant from Rochester Downtown Alliance, Drums, Please! is Anderson’s way of tapping into the creative energy she says she’s seen in Rochester.

“I think what I’ve appreciated about moving to Rochester (from Boston) is there’s so much potential here. The city community is supportive of doing creative things ... These sorts of things are accessible and possible if you take up the opportunity.”

Putting Drums, Please! together has been a lot of work, Anderson said, but it’s the fun kind and she’s had lots of help from her team of volunteers, which includes her husband and network of friends Nick Samson, Mike Mahrer, Kiley Boutelle and Michelle Partogi. The group has been informally referring to themselves as the G.R.O.C.A.R.T. or Greater Rochester and Olmsted County Arts Response Team.

“It’s kind of an unorganization,” Anderson said. “We’re not affiliated with any official organization...our goal here is to create this experience. It’s really being part of that conversation and that energy that’s growing around Rochester.”

The final verdict? If you go to Drums, Please! and don’t blow off some steam, you’re probably doing it wrong.

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