Serving the community since 1922

WHS Music Director Greg "Sparky" Sparks brings multicultural music to Wasco.

Greg "Sparky" Sparks is a dedicated educator who brings enthusiasm and passion to his role as the music director at Wasco High School. Energetic with a vibrant personality, he takes great pride in instilling a deep appreciation for music and love for the art form in his students.

He is originally from Maryland and moved here in 2003. He decided to make a move that bettered his family, finding his way to Wasco. "There is not a better community I could have moved to. This is such an incredible community with such incredible family-oriented people that I really enjoy here. For me, now it's about teaching kids. I love this community and have never thought about teaching anywhere else."

Sparks has a long history as a teacher. "Since 14 working with little kids, but with a teaching credential since 1995."

He started learning music at a very young age to treat a medical condition. "When I was five years old, I was diagnosed with ADHD. In those years, in 1972, there wasn't a good outlook for kids with ADHD.

"After an interview with a psychologist, my mother was told that if we didn't get me on a program, I would probably turn out to be a drug addict or an alcoholic.

"That night after the interview, my mom took me to a local drum corps and made me join. She made sure I was involved with something. That was the first time I was ever good at anything naturally. I've been playing the drums since I was five. My mom saved my life."

Sparks played in the drum corps until he entered high school. There, he was in a very competitive marching band. He didn't want to go to college, so he worked two years at many different jobs, trying to figure out who he was. At around age 20, he realized the only time he was happy was when he was working with high school drum lines. That was when he decided to pursue a teaching certificate at West Virginia University.

Sparks teaches choir, steel band, beginning band, music appreciation, beginning steel drums and band. He said being a music director means everything to him. "If I taught any other subject, I don't know if I would still be a teacher."

He said what he loves most about being a music director is just enjoying music. "It's incredible to start my day with steel drums. It's incredible to see the kids succeed. For me, that is one of the biggest things. I'm very hard on the kids when I don't think they are maximizing their potential. And I fuss at them because they all have the potential to be great, and my mother showed me never to accept mediocrity."

He hopes that students take away from his class a love of music for the rest of their lives no matter how it's done, "whether in church, choir, singing in the shower or just randomly dancing to music. I want music to be a big part of their lives in whatever capacity. Music makes us human."

 

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