Since he was very young, Roger Shi has always enjoyed playing the guitar.
“I like it and I think its fun,” says the Grade 11 student at Carihi Secondary School. “I played when I was young. I had to put it away in middle school and pay more attention to studying.”
The Grade 11 student, who moved to Campbell River in 2021 from China, saw the opportunity coming here as a chance to play again.
Shi found himself in September in Teacher Joe Shields’ introductory guitar class. Meeting drummer Lontayao and Bassist Katelyn Legace, they started jam sessions and arranging music. At a talent show, Shields’ heard a cover from the band of artist Childish Gambino’s hit “Red Bone”.
This gave Shields inspiration. Stumbling upon the CBC Youtube Music Class, he felt this band had the sound and feel to put together a video for an entry in the online contest. Arranging a recording with a fellow teacher, Shields assisted on production of a video and recording of a cover of Tanika Charles song “Tell me Something”.
“I brought it forth to them, to represent our school. They made all the arrangements,” Shields said. “Katelyn figured out which bass parts she needed to work on; AJ figured out when to play the drums. Roger made all the arrangements on what to play for his guitar.”
“They sound great and it’s a great representation of our school I couldn’t be more proud.”
Rounding out the group of five is a pair of siblings: Grade 12 guitarist Griffin Lelliott and his Grade 9 sister, Grace. Grace was recommended when their original vocalist was absent from recording.
“I was the last student picked,” said Grace, whose mother is a music teacher. “Music has always been in my family. So it was kind of last minute, but I stepped up and did my part.”
The contest, hosted by CBC in partnership with MusicWorks, is a salute to music education across the country.Entries had to feature a cover from a list selected by the television network from a Canadian artist. Unfortunately, for the Carihi quintet, they weren’t picked for the final 10 on Dec. 7th. Shields, however, was very proud of the dedication they took in putting themselves out there.
“They represented the school very well,” said Shields. “For them to know that potentially millions of people could hear their music, and see their energy, couldn’t tell you how proud I am of them.”
As for Shi, he says the experience will allow him to continue his passion for music.
“I think it’s pretty cool, ” Shi says. “That we were able to do this for the whole school. It’s awesome.”