Band-A-Rama strikes chord with students

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 30, 2015

 Senior Claire Lovins, senior Rachel Ruble and junior Samantha Brown represent Eisenhower’s drum line.

Senior Claire Lovins, senior Rachel Ruble and junior Samantha Brown represent Eisenhower’s drum line.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Marching bands from Utica Community Schools’ four major high schools will get into position and play during their annual Band-A-Rama fundraiser Oct. 4 outside Stevenson High School.

According to Chris Traskal, director of bands at Eisenhower High School, the four high schools will start the evening by playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” together. Then each school band will perform its own halftime presentation.

He said the event brings in a large audience of people from across the UCS district who come to watch hundreds of band members play.

“We play them for one another as kind of a community event,” he said.

According to Traskal, the Stevenson marching band will play heroic music under the theme “Heart of a Hero.” The Utica High School band will play music with astronomy, sci-fi and space themes as part of its “2015: A Band Odyssey” show, and the Henry Ford II High School band will perform a series of songs with a “Sounds Like Summer” theme, he said.

Traskal said the Eisenhower High School band plans to play several songs in its “Cityscape” show. He said featured songs will include Starship’s “We Built This City”; “Cell Block Tango,” from the musical “Chicago”; “Conga,” by the Miami Sound Machine and Gloria Estefan; and “Empire State of Mind,” by Jay Z, featuring Alicia Keys.

“An important part of music is seeing that other kids are doing great things,” Traskal explained. “It’s really awesome for my students to see them and kind of get them out of their bubble.”

Band-A-Rama admission proceeds will go to the Louis Gonda Memorial Music Scholarship Fund, which helps pay for UCS band students’ music education goals. Traskal said the fundraiser brings in thousands of dollars every year.

Bronte Spondike, senior drum major at Eisenhower, said her band members are practicing hard right now and focusing to make sure their music is together. She said it’s really fun to see the other bands and how their performances have come along.

She called “Empire State of Mind” her favorite song to perform from her show.

“It’s such an intense moment for the band, and it really brings the audience together,” she said.

Band-A-Rama will start at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Runkel Field, outside Stevenson High School, 39701 Dodge Park Road in Sterling Heights. Admission, which includes door tickets, costs $5 for adults and high school students. Students from lower grades may attend for free. Learn more by visiting or by calling (586) 797-1000.