The original idea behind the Stearns County Pachanga Society (SCPS) was to combine the participatory musical spirit of Cuban Cabildos, Brazilian Samba clubs, and Spanish Charangas, with danceable rhythms from all over the globe and a certain psychedelic rock-n-roll ethos. It would be a loosely organized musical society in which a small core of stage members would meet weekly at a local venue to lay down songs and Afro-Caribbean/Latin- /Rock rhythms with the help of a much larger group of playing members (people who play the percussion instruments that the group distributes to the public or those who bring their own from home).

The biggest group of members would be those who come to just dance and revel in the spirit of "pachanga", which, in Spanish means something like 'get down, get loose, party, whoop it up and have a good time together'. Amazingly and happily, except for the fact that the "small" core of four or five stage members has grown to eight or nine, that original ideological seed has sprouted and flourished exactly as hoped and it bears its deliciously rhythmic fruit at the group's "meetings".

The public embraced the SCPS immediately and after only five months the "meetings" were forced to change from a venue with a capacity of 125-150 to one that can hold 250-300 and has a significantly larger dance floor. The St. Cloud Times has called the Pachanga Society the "hottest gig in town", and KVSC-FM's Minnesota Music expert John Drake chose the group as 2002's "Rookie of the Year" on the Minnesota music scene.

After ending 2002 with a very successful two night run at "Papa Charlie's" at Lutsen Mountains Ski Resort and a prominent New Years Eve gig in St. Cloud, the SCPS has begun to bring its music and spirit to a much wider audience. Regular gigs at Pizza Lucé in Duluth, and performances at Earth Day at St. Cloud State University, the St. Mary's Cathedral Block Party and shows at Madeleine Island and the Millstream Arts Festival show that people of all sorts have a great time when they pachanga. And central Minnesotans confirmed this again early in 2004 when they voted the SCPS 2nd best local band in the St. Cloud Times. In September of 2004, the Pachanga Society was nominated for a Minnesota Music Award in the "Latin" category by the Minnesota Music Academy. The SCPS closed out the year with an uplifting performance at St. Cloud's historic Paramount Theater, where they shared the stage with noted Cuban classical-jazz pianist Ignacio "Nachito" Herrera.

The Diverse Appeal of the Stearns County Pachanga Society

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the music of the SCPS is that its appeal cuts through both generational and cultural barriers. A cross section of a typical crowd will find people ranging from their 20s to their 70s, and in terms of culture you'll find college students/professors from Minnesota and around the world, long-term local residents, members of the local Latino community, and a sizable number of local musicians. The participatory nature of the Pachanga experience is a key part of the energy or synergy that is created between the audience and the players on the stage. A large number (20-50) of people regularly bring their own percussion instruments from home or play those provided by the group. More often than not, if you're not playing along with the music coming from the stage, you're out there dancing and contributing to the energy that way. Whatever the case, nearly everyone (regardless of age, sex, color, creed, nationality, sexual orientation, and/or musical tastes) who experiences a Pachanga Society meeting comes away with a smile and a desire to shake their hips, move their feet, whoop it up, and have a good time!

The Music of the Stearns County Pachanga Society

The core of the SCPS is formed of members of the Surahoolies/Hoolies. The Surahoolies spent over a decade creating music that Jim Meyer of the City Pages and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune described as "a massive groove: a mind altering world music/rock phenomenon." The group's decision to downsize from a septet to a quartet and greatly decrease the number of performances per year left space and time to pursue other musical projects. Even though there is virtually no overlap between the songs played by the (Sura)Hoolies and the SCPS, the musical cohesion built up over more than a decade of playing together shines through on every song, jam, and percussion break. However, what really makes the group special is that every member contributes something unique and interesting to the overall sound.

Regular Members

Mike "Dr." Hasbrouck (vocals, rhythm guitar) - Ph.D. in Latin American literature, tenured professor of Spanish at St. Cloud State University and the group's musical neophyte. Since the Pachanga Society is his "Brainchild" Mike must be its "Brainfather".

Mark "Hazzy" Hasbrouck (lead guitar, vocals) - Whether it's as the main creative force behind the long-running (1989-present) and much loved and praised Surahoolies, or as solo artist "Hazzy", Mark is generally regarded as a musical genius and an awesome guitar player. While it is the rhythm section that makes the throngs shake their booty, it is Mark's innovative and powerful leads that blow everyone's minds. Although he dwarfs Mike both physically and musically, through an accident of birth he must forever remain his little brother.

Brian "Heying" Heying (drums, percussion, vocals) - Brian is one of Minnesota's most rhythmically diverse drummers. His explorations of rhythms from around the globe are the primary motivator in all the shaking hips and dancing feet that generally populate Pachanga Society meetings.

Lalo "el Inca" Quillo (zampoña/panflute, quena/wooden flute, vocals) - While growing up in the shadow of Macchu Picchu near Cuzco, Perú, Lalo could never have dreamed that one day his haunting and beautiful melodies would be the main force in making the Stearns County Pachanga Society a truly sublime and unique musical experience.

Jim "Feia" Feia (keyboards) - Jimbo's keyboard is part of the glue that holds the music together.

Jim "Jimbo" Bjorklun (bass, vocals) - Don't let Jim's quiet demeanor fool you! Perhaps more than anything else, it is his rhythmically propulsive bass playing that causes hips to gyrate and sway so sensuously at Pachanga Society meetings.

Stacy "Bossy" Bauer (percussion, vocals) - In addition to her considerable percussive and vocal talents, Stacy embodies the spirit of "pachanga" better than anyone we know anywhere.

Andy "Andy Novak" Furcht (percussion) - As a true student, practitioner and teacher of global rhythms, Andy brings a spirit of diversity and authenticity to the multicultural sounds of the Stearns County Pachanga Society. Along with Wolfe and Heying, Andy was a cornerstone of the Surahoolies’ legendary rhythm section.

Martin "Marty" Wolfe (percussion) - As a co-true student and practitioner of global rhythms, Marty also brings a spirit of diversity and authenticity to the multicultural sounds of the Stearns County Pachanga Society. Along with Furcht and Heying, Marty was a cornerstone of the Surahoolies’ powerhouse rhythm section.