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Sound Circuit

Burnin’ Sensations


Wireless mics offer audience participation.

The band Burnin’ Sensations realizes its name might also indicate an uncomfortable medical condition, but the band’s co-founder, Tim Helgeson, says there’s one advantage.

“At least it’s not a forgettable name,” he says. “We’ve gotten a lot of grief about our name. I’m guilty of thinking that one up.”

His thinking? The band is on fire. And to their fans, they’re hot. The band’s core lineup has been playing together since 2004. They play a variety of rock, country, disco, funk and top 40 music.

“We’re all over,” explains Helgeson. “We play Beatles, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and then we’ll switch over to a slow country tune. We play for whatever the audience is. Some people love or hate disco, but we still do disco, too.”

Band members range in age from 24 to 68, residing in Des Moines, Ames and Boone. Helgeson plays the drums and sings. Other band members include Kate Sherrard, vocals; Stacey Peterson, vocals and guitar; Ben Lehl, lead guitar, vocals; Park Mikels, keyboards, guitar, vocals; Ron Carson, bass guitar; and Justin Stufflebeem, sound engineer and occasional cowbell virtuoso.

Prep Iowa

Favorite venues include Mother’s Pub in Ames, Snus Hill Winery in Madrid and the Latitude 41 in Saylorville, where the “dock gets rocking” and the band members secure their mics so they don’t fall in the water.

Part of the band’s entertainment is to encourage audience participation through their wireless equipment.

“We’ve had a tuba player for ‘Sweet Caroline,’ and we’ll bring a drum set like we’re in a marching band,” he says.

The band’s mission is keep the music fresh and fun.

“You don’t want to spend a long week at work and then see a boring concert, Helgeson says. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We want to have people join in for mutual fun. We don’t want to seem too old and crusty.”

Helgeson says the local band scene is a fellowship among musicians, and there’s a certain expectation to keep on task with other bands.
“We’re all friendly rivals,” he adds. “We compare notes and support one another.”

Helgeson says the band’s longevity is not about making money or pulling in the most fans.

“We make enough money to fix everything we broke. Some venues might not be the highest paying, but it’s the energy of the crowd that makes it memorable,” he says. “We focus on what’s important — making music and having fun.” ♦

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