Feehan band and instrumental program poised for growth

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Among the many changes Bishop Feehan High School is making to its arts and music programs is the construction of a new band facility, opening this summer. Courtesy photo
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Bishop Feehan High School will soon launch a new era for the school’s award-winning band & instrumental music program with the opening of an entirely new band facility, the addition of a new band director and the advent of middle school music partnerships with Feehan’s local partner schools, all taking place this summer. 

Feehan’s 2019 Daring to Believe strategic plan called for this re-investment in music, emphasizing its importance and the arts in a well-rounded, classical Catholic high school curriculum. 

One highlight of these changes is the addition of John Knasas as Feehan’s new band director. Knasas will be teaming with Feehan Band Instructor Joe Taylor to continue the tradition of instrumental music excellence that Taylor has led for nearly 30 years. Together and under Knasas’ new leadership, they will be adding courses to Feehan’s music offerings, expanding band opportunities for Feehan students and launching a new middle school band initiative in partnership with several Feehan feeder schools. 

Knasas – an Attleboro resident, St. John the Evangelist parishioner, and parent of an incoming Feehan musician – comes to Feehan after 20 years as band director in North Smithfield, R.I. Knasas’ musicians have received consistent superior and platinum ratings at Rhode Island Music Educators Association (RIMEA), Great East, and Music in the Parks festivals. The North Smithfield Middle School band program received the National Band Association Blue Ribbon Program of Excellence award in 2016.  

Additionally, Knasas – himself a working musician with the popular band Brass Attack – has been a conductor of the 2010 RIMEA Junior All State Jazz Band, 2015 RIMEA Junior All State Band and Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Wind Ensemble. 

“We are thrilled to have John join our faculty,” said Feehan Principal Sean Kane. “And we are all in on our commitment to excellence in music education. With the construction of our new innovation and performing arts building and teaming John with Mr. Taylor, we can’t wait to see where our talented students and their leaders take this program.”   

This new leadership and these new programs will all be housed in a brand new band facility, part of Feehan’s 10,000 square-foot Innovation & Arts Center, opening in September. Feehan’s new band facility is a featured highlight of the new building, purpose-built for music and connected directly to the auditorium stage and playing fields.

“Four years ago the Feehan community spoke clearly in our planning process,” said Feehan President Tim Sullivan. “Music education was a clear priority, and the time was right to give our music spaces a major, major facelift for 2023 and beyond. At the time, we didn’t imagine an entirely new building, but – through the generosity of many – today we are poised to write the next exciting chapter in Feehan music history. We can’t wait to watch that unfold.”