New Performance Group Brings Fresh Pop and Rock

Contemporary and Pop Performance Ensemble is a new music elective class that focuses on rock and pop music. Music teacher Kyle Traska instructs this advanced, audition-based class with four members who practice, compose and rehearse various songs. This elective focuses on the commercial setting, which includes gigs and recordings. 

Traska developed Pop Performance as a rock/pop band that would perform contemporary music at sporting events, Homecoming and district events and pump up the crowd.  

“The class itself is a brain-child based off of my experiences as a young musician, a young promoter, a young band entrepreneur trying to give students the same experiences that I had,” Traska said.

Traska wanted an outlet for students that was different from band, choir or orchestra and more focused on guitar and studio music.

“It’s about trial and error. When I was in high school, I had bands, and we would promote, and we would gig, and it was all about finding out how you talk to adults,” Traska said. “How do you create something that people will recognize as your band?”

The class is composed of sophomore and drummer Sky Jaan, guitarists junior Cody Maier and senior Trevor Howden and bass player and senior Jeffrey Wang. Jaan only joined the group recently but is already creating lasting memories with his peers.

“My favorite moment so far was when we were playing ‘Everlong’ by Foo Fighters in class, and we got to the chorus, and there was a moment where everything aligned,” Jaan said. “We were all playing on time, and everything was really good. I got this boost of adrenaline, and it was really fun.”

The atmosphere among the four members is lighthearted, full of  jokes and music, according to Jaan. They create new music by having one person start with a tune and others adding on and creating new layers. 

There’s nothing quite like getting together with a couple of friends and just being able to play songs together and contribute to one giant artistic piece.”

— Trevor Howden

“My favorite part about being in pop performance is finally getting some experience and just playing with other musicians in person because anyone can just pick up an instrument and play in their bedroom, but there’s nothing quite like getting together with a couple of friends and just being able to play songs together and contribute to one giant artistic piece,” Howden said.