Jazz Musician New Band Director



Paavo Carey

BAR HARBOR — A veteran jazz performer, conductor and public school music teacher is the new music director at Mount Desert Island High School.

Paavo Carey succeeds Dan Granholm, who resigned this spring after 14 years in the job.

Mr. Carey, whose father, Cecil Young, was a noted jazz pianist, grew up in New York City, where he began playing the trombone professionally at the age of 14. After mastering the saxophone, flute and clarinet, he toured with a number of acts including Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente’s Orchestra and The Fifth Dimension. In 1990, he began his teaching career in New York while continuing to perform.

He has been music director at Skowhegan Area High School since 2004.

“Paavo emerged from a strong applicant pool as our consensus candidate after two rounds of interviews with seven candidates,” MDI High Principal Matthew Garrity-Janger said in announcing Mr. Carey’s hiring.

The interview committee included teachers, administrators, students and community members.

Mr. Carey first visited MDI High in April, when he brought the Skowhegan school’s highly rated jazz ensemble here for the All-State Jazz Festival.

“I was very impressed with the level of collaboration and support provided by the Music Boosters and the (MDI) community,” he said. “There were very positive vibes with tons of helping hands to make the festival run smoothly. The school also has very nice facilities, and the music program has a wonderful reputation.”

Mr. Carey graduated from New York’s High School of Music and Arts and the Mannes College of Music, which he described as a “European-style conservatory.” He earned a master’s degree in music education from Lehman College in New York.

“One of the reasons I’m a teacher is that my experience in music programs was so positive,” he said. “I try to provide that experience for my students and look inside them for their essential dignity. When you treat them with respect, you get such a great response.”

Mr. Carey and his wife, Mary, have two sons: Cecil, 16, and Wyatt, 13.

New staff

Other faculty and staff changes at MDI High this year include the hiring of Davonne Pappas as head librarian and Megan Lane as a guidance counselor.

Ms. Pappas, a certified librarian, has been an ed tech and library assistant at the school. Ms. Lane, a former intern at MDI High, was a guidance counselor at Bucksport High School last year.

Kylie Bragdon has been hired as a math teacher, and Matt Lawson, who taught part-time at MDI High last year, is returning as a full-time social studies teacher.

For more education news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]