Wakefield’s band, orchestra adapt to new challenges as they prepare for thrilling final concert


Staff Photo by Gaby Sciaudone

This May, Wakefield’s band and orchestra have been working hard to produce their final concert of the year. The concert will feature full-orchestra pieces, making the band and orchestra more unified than ever before.

Gaby Sciaudone, Sports Editor

On May 16, Wakefield High School’s (WHS) orchestra and band will perform their final concert of the school year. The two groups plan to excite the audience with songs from movies, full-orchestra pieces and an appearance from Wakefield Elementary School’s fifth graders. 

Bobby McFarland directs both the band and orchestra at WHS. Over the course of the two years he has held this role, McFarland has seen significant growth in the band and orchestra students. Due to this, he did not hesitate to present the groups with some challenging music.

“What most people overlook is hard work, [and] the perseverance in spite of the challenges they might face,” McFarland said. “I think that’s the greatest characteristic that the students have: perseverance.”

The concert will include: “Captain America March,” “Tonight” and “Mambo” from “West Side Story,” music from “Les Miserables,” “The Dark Knight Rises” from “Batman” as well as several non-movie pieces. The majority of these songs will be performed by the band and orchestra combined, which makes balancing the volumes of their instruments more difficult. 

Sophomore Talia Barbieri plays the alto saxophone and this is her second year in the band. While she is incredibly excited about the upcoming concert, Barbieri also recognizes the struggles that can arise when it comes to the full-orchestra pieces. 

“Generally, when you’re putting together a band and an orchestra, there’s a lot less band instruments than we have in our class. Usually there’s only two or three of each instrument, but we’ve got [around] five or six,” Barbieri said.  “Our orchestra’s on the smaller side, so balancing sound is going to be really important to figure out.”

McFarland also recognizes these challenges and works with his students daily to ensure that they can accomplish the task. 

We have some really fun songs that we’re doing, and a lot of movie music which is just great to play.

— Sellick

“Figuring out how to balance and adjust to instruments that don’t function the same way as them requires them to listen differently,” McFarland said. 

One of the main groups that will face the problem of not being able to be heard amongst the many instruments are the violinists. Leila Kipnes, a sophomore at Wakefield who plays first violin, knows how important it is to develop skills that will allow the violinists, and the orchestra as a whole, to play louder than they have ever before. 

“[We have prepared by] focusing on the musicianship and how to improve our sound,” Kipnes said.

Another violinist in the orchestra, senior Pippa Sellick, is aware of the necessary preparations. However, with this being her last performance as a Wolverine, she is nothing but excited for the concert. 

“We have some really fun songs that we’re doing, and a lot of movie music which is just great to play,” Sellick said. “It is harder, but I think the result will be even cooler.”

Ultimately, this concert will serve as a way for Wakefield’s band and orchestra to display the hard work they have put in this year that often gets overlooked. The concert will take place on May 16, 2023, in the WHS auditorium and admission is completely free. 

“My hope is that I’ll see a lot of excited faces and people engaged in the music,” McFarland said. “That’s something that, in band and orchestra, we miss out on a lot of times because they don’t have that natural connection.”