Carihi has a number of thriving arts programs, such as musical theatre, drama, fine arts, and band.
The band program specifically features three main bands, a grade nine band, a senior concert band and a jazz band.
In addition, there are a number of smaller bands. There is also a pit band that plays at the Carihi musicals, as well as a wind ensemble. The wind ensemble is a newly created band for students who want a greater musical challenge.
The instruments played in the band are mostly typical of a traditional concert band. This includes flutes, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, the french horn, and percussion. In the jazz band, the instrument selection is slightly different and features one guitar.
Beyond practicing multiple times a week, the Carihi bands often travel to at least one festival per year. Most notably, the Senior Concert Band recently travelled to a festival in Nova Scotia. According to Carihi band director Phil Cassidy, the “purpose of the trip was multi-faceted.”
One of the components was to play in some music festivals. The Carihi Senior Concert Band played in the Atlantic Festival of Music in Halifax, where they achieved sufficient standing to qualify for Nationals in Toronto next year. They also played in smaller concerts across Nova Scotia throughout the trip.
Another component of the Nova Scotia trip was to expose Carihi kids to centuries-old history. They “stayed at Fortress Louisbourg for a night, saw lots of old buildings, stayed in old houses when they billeted out, and visited where Samuel de Champlain set up for the fur trade.”
Through travelling across Nova Scotia and focusing on historical landmarks, the students were able to gain an appreciation of the culture of Nova Scotia.
Finally, there was a social component to the trip. Carihi students got an opportunity to work on playing together and to meet other students from across Canada.
Carihi’s other bands also play in festivals. The grade nine band is currently on a trip to play at festivals in Vancouver and Victoria.
Cassidy expects that the band program will to continue to grow, thanks to a “dynamite” program at Phoenix. In response he is adding another jazz-pop band next year.
In addition, the senior concert band will also be attending Nationals in Toronto next year.
Cassidy mentioned that he loves his job as band director, saying “I have got the best job in the whole world, working with the best people”.