Christopher M. Traskal, Director of Instrumental Music at Eisenhower High School in Shelby Township MI, has been an active educator and performer in the Metropolitan Detroit area for almost 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Central Michigan University (CMU), and a Masters in Teaching from Marygrove College. Mr. Traskal has worked in the Utica Community School District (UCS) for all his 18 years of teaching, having been hired in August of 2001. In addition to Eisenhower, he has served 3 years as the Assistant Director of Bands at Henry Ford 2 HS, 2 years as an Elementary Band Director, and 5 years as Director of Music (Band and Choir) at Eppler Jr. High School. In his time at Eppler, the size of the music program tripled in size to include almost half of all the student population, and both the Jazz Ensemble 1 and Concert Band consistently received 1st Divisions at MSBOA State level Festivals. He was recognized as Eppler’s “Teacher of the Year” following the 2011 school year for his contributions to students and the school community.
In August of 2011, Mr. Traskal was appointed the Director of Instrumental Music at Eisenhower High School where he instructs the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Marching Eagles, and Jazz Ensemble. Since then all the Eisenhower Bands have received consistent First Divisions at MSBOA District and State Festivals. In June of 2012 he was given the award “Outstanding First Year Teacher” at Eisenhower High School. For 2018-19 the Eisenhower Wind Ensemble is honored to have been selected to play at the Michigan Music Conference (MMC), performing Friday, January 25, 2019 at 3:00pm. This is the second time the Eisenhower Wind Ensemble will be in Grand Rapids, having been a part of the 2015 Opening Night Collage Concert, thus becoming first group in the history of UCS to ever perform at the MMC. The Jazz Ensemble has also earned awards for “Best Band Class AA (2017)” and “Outstanding Rhythm Section (2016)” at the CMU/Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Jazz Festival, as well as having performed at the prestigious Detroit Jazz Festival. Outside of Eisenhower, Mr. Traskal has sat on the Executive Board of MSBOA District 16 since 2006, currently sits on the MSBOA State Board as Jazz Activities Chairperson, works as an active clinician with many school groups and students, serves as an adjudicator for MSBOA Solo/ Ensemble and Jazz Festivals, is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity, and in July of 2014 was honored with membership into the American School Band Director’s Association (ASBDA).
Mr. Traskal also maintains a regular calendar as a professional saxophonist, performing a wide variety of Jazz, Classical, and Rock/Pop shows throughout the year. While a student at CMU he proudly won the Patricia Nixon Memorial Scholarship solo competition and the Robert Hayes Jazz award, the first student to earn both awards. Currently, as the lead alto player of the Dearborn based Henry Ford Big Band, he has performed three times at the prestigious Jazz a’ Juan Jazz Festival located on the French Rivera, including 2 nationally televised featured concerts. This is in addition to previous performances at the Montreux (Switzerland) Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival (Netherlands), Umbria (Italy) Jazz Festival, and the Detroit International Jazz Festival. Mr. Traskal has performed with the Michigan Philharmonic, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, The Assembly Saxophone Quartet, Ed Nucelli’s “Plural Circle” Big Band, National Ska artist “Mustard Plug”, and played on stage with international jazz musicians Clark Terry, Wycliffe Gordon, Wes Anderson, Curtis Fuller, Allen Vizzutti, and Gary Simoleon.
Christopher M. Traskal, Director of Bands
Eisenhower High School
6500 25 Mile Rd.
Shelby Township, MI 48316
Fax: (586) 797-1301