BERKELEY HEGHTS, NJ - If students from Thomas P. Hughes Elementary School in Berkeley Heights came home last Thursday, November 12 and immediately went to the recycling bin to take out soda bottles to play with, there was good reason. Bash the Trash, a unique and exciting Cultural Arts program, presented an exciting assembly to the entire school igniting the children's imaginations and peaking their interest in environmental issues.  

Bash the Trash is a show that built upon a STEAM theme: science, technology, engineering, art and math.  The show is a synthesis of these concepts, relying heavily on the inspiration of music to engineer instruments from recycled materials. Bash the Trash, 'combines science, music and environmental awareness through performances, educational programs and social initiatives. They focus on how the arts and sciences work together.' 

The students learned about the science of sound, in particular the role of vibration in producing sound, all while being entertained by highly trained musicians. The fourth and fifth graders learned about the floating islands of trash in the oceans called gyre. Featured special session artists were Hughes music teachers Justin Derman and David Grego who sat in to jam with the performers during the show.

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Bash the Trash Environmental Arts, LLC is comprised of two artists, Rohin Khemani (a Canadian-born percussionist and composer based in New York City) and Benjamin Bryden (Scottish-born saxophonist and composer). Both performers are graduates of the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. The show is the brainchild of John Bertles, a workshop leader with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Touring Workshops for Teachers.

The Cultural Arts Committee at Thomas P. Hughes Elementary School presents a series of enrichment programs and assemblies throughout the year designed to widen Hughes students' perception of themselves and the world around them. The hope is to encourage creative, compassionate and critical thinkers by exposing students to the arts and sciences through innovative programming. The programs and assemblies are made possible through fundraising by the PTO and the generosity of families within the school. 

More information on Bash the Trash can be found at