The Voice of Wakefield High School


BOBBY McFARLAND, Music Department

Q:  What do you do here at Wakefield High School?

A:  This is my first year as the band and orchestra director here. So, I’m in charge of the concert band, marching band, orchestra, color guard, percussion orchestra ensemble, pep band and things of that nature.

Q:  What did you do before teaching at Wakefield?

A:  Before I was here I taught for the past ten years in Johnston County, taught a little bit of elementary school for them. This is my 11th year of teaching. 

Q:  What do you like about teaching band?

A:  The opportunity to give kids an outlet to be creative and learn to express themselves. When they come in they don’t necessarily know how to best express themselves, so I enjoy teaching them how to use music as an outlet to express how they’re feeling or thinking internally. 

Q: What made you want to teach band?

A:  My high school band director. Just seeing the impact that he had on the lives of the students in our program at the time. The opportunity that it gave us to not only have the creative outlet like I said, but to do things that some kids will never get the chance to do. I wanted to be able to do that same thing for other students that was done for me.

Q:  What are you most excited for now that we’re in person?

A:  Just getting back to normal and doing many of the activities that we used to do, that band kids have grown accustomed to doing. It develops a sense of normality and community most people have been missing for a while.

Q:  What is your favorite type of music to listen to?

A:  I grew up playing in church, so that kind of drove the way my brain thought. Being African American, there’s a strong African American spiritual jazz influence. Jazz was my favorite music growing up. I love Ella Fitzgerald, she’s my favorite singer. So, I’d say jazz. 

Q:  Any advice for students overall?

A:  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. In fact, embrace those mistakes and learn from them. I learned as an adult that no one has all the answers, so the key is to put hard work in to get to where you want to be.

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