East Coast hospitality sought by West Coast students

Two-night billets required for 33 B.C. student band members


Published on March 10, 2017

Student band members from Carihi Secondary School in British Columbia will be performing in Yarmouth April 30 and May 1. The organizer is hoping Yarmouth County residents will open their homes to billet the musicians.

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YARMOUTH - A teacher from the West Coast is looking for some East Coast hospitality for his 33 musical students.

Phillip Cassidy graduated from Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School (YCMHS) in 1983 and now resides in Campbell River, British Columbia, teaching band, history and military history.

He’ll be visiting Yarmouth with members of the Carihi senior band and jazz band to perform at Beacon United Church on April 30 and Maple Grove Education Centre the following morning. Billets are required for the Grades 9-12 students.

This is the second trip “home” for Cassidy with band members.

In 1997 he brought a school band from B.C. and performed with the YCMHS band in the gym, along with his former band teacher, John Hood.

The trip was an experience for his students.

“B.C. does not have a lot in the way of ‘old stuff,’” he said.

“My students think it’s bizarre that I grew up in a house older than Canada, so this trip has three purposes: to perform at the Atlantic Festival of Music; to provide students the opportunity to mingle and meet other music students from across the country and to see living history.”

On the second night of the trip the group will be staying at Fortress Louisbourg.

Cassidy says this time it’s more difficult to arrange for billets in Yarmouth.

 “I think part of this is due to the job action and teachers not being able to respond because technically the trip and billeting with their students is an extracurricular,” he said.

Another complication is that he doesn’t have a connection with the local music teachers (yet, he adds).

Over half of the students are taking French immersion. Some of them have expressed an interest in staying with Acadian families and experiencing that aspect of French culture.

Included in the itinerary is a stop at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. A concert with the Northeast Kings Education Centre Band, as well as visits to Grand Pré, the Habitation, Annapolis Royal and Captain Phil Watson and the Bluenose ll are planned.

While in Yarmouth, Cassidy plans to take the students to the lighthouse and to John’s Cove for the “requisite dip in the Atlantic.”

“We’re also looking forward to stops at the Yarmouth County Museum, the Firefighters’ Museum of Nova Scotia and, of course, the Sweeney Fisheries Museum, which I had the pleasure of working at while in university, and just generally walking around this beautiful town.”

On the final night in Nova Scotia the group will take in a ghost tour of Citadel Hill.

“It’s a very tightly packed itinerary to be sure,” said Cassidy.

 Students have been fundraising all year for the trip and Cassidy says any hospitality extended will be returned “B.C. style” in the future.

Student band members from Carihi Secondary School in British Columbia will be performing in Yarmouth April 30 and May 1. The organizer is hoping Yarmouth County residents will open their homes to billet the musicians.
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Can you billet these students?

Residents interested in taking in several students can contact Nancy Hood at 902-742-3226 or email Cassidy at 

Folks who are willing to host will need to complete a criminal records check as well.