Farrell Fridal is a grade 10 student in the Rock Band class at Maple Ridge Secondary School. (Miranda Fatur/THE NEWS)

Students rock out at Maple Ridge secondary

MRSS Rock Band students put on their first performance at lunchtime on Dec. 7.

Rock n’ roll music could be heard from the hallways of Maple Ridge secondary on Friday, as the students from the Rock Band class hosted their very first public performance.

Approximately 20 students are part of a new elective that was implemented in September at MRSS called “Rock Band,” where students hone their musical skills, form bands, and perform.

Rock Band teacher Brian Weingartner launched the class in September, and said he saw the need for the class when he began teaching at MRSS last January.

“There was a lot of students hanging out, jamming, and I could tell there’s a lot of people into rock music so it was to give a different outlet for musical creativity and allow students who aren’t into the classic band or choirs to still have a creative musical outlet.”

Weingartner called himself the “facilitator” of the class, as students select their own groups and line-ups. Throughout the year, students figure out how to work with one another in a band setting.

“It’s part of the process. Working on communication, teamwork, figuring out what works and what doesn’t to solidify a band and start a group,” added Weingartner.

Grade 11 percussionist Holly Cousins said the class allows for a “really cool experience to perform and make music in front of a lot of people.”

“I’ve learned not just musical skills, but skills in general like connecting with people and learning how to work together.”

Mario Cruz, grade 11, plays the electric guitar in Rock Band and said he signed up as soon as he heard about the class.

“For me, I’m not the best at sports, I’m not the best at a lot of things, but music seems to fit really well, so that’s definitely what I enjoy. And hearing everyone sing, especially to that last song, it was great.”

Cousins and Cruz are both part of a band called “Exit Sign,” and they played the finale song – a rendition of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” which had the student audience clapping, swaying, and singing along.

The performance demonstrated the initial skills Weingartner taught: forming a band and learning technical aspects.

During the second term in January, Weingartner said the students will focus on audio production, demo recording, self-promotion, and show planning.

“Hopefully they’ll be set to continue with their own bands outside of school.”

Weingartner said despite where his students go after graduation, he hopes they will have a strong foundation to start a band at any point in their lives.

“I think a lot of them will find they have the means to take the skills they learn here and keep it going outside of school and beyond school. Whatever they do in life, they can form a band and have a creative outlet.”

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Mario Cruz plays the electric guitar in the Rock Band class. (Miranda Fatur/THE NEWS)

Brian Weingartner is the band teacher at Maple Ridge Secondary School. (Miranda Fatur/THE NEWS)

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