Long-time music teacher is going out on a high note

By Tanner Harding | May 15, 2017
Photo by: Tanner Harding Jim Farmer prepares to say goodbye to ORRJHS.

Mattapoisett — After 30 years, Jim Farmer is hanging up his conductor’s baton.

The longtime Old Rochester Regional Junior High School music teacher is retiring at the end of the school year.

“I’ll miss everything,” he said. “Well I won’t miss the paperwork. But definitely the kids, the music, the staff, the faculty. I’ve had a great, great time here.”

Prior to coming to Old Rochester, Farmer taught at Whitman-Hanson High School and then Stoughton. He then decided to take a year off from teaching to explore some other avenues.

“I was interested in the music business, but you have to travel to Boston for all that and I didn’t want to do that,” he said.

Instead, he worked odd jobs here and there and looked forward to getting back to teaching.

“The year off made me realize how much I wanted to teach,” Farmer said.

When he originally landed at Old Rochester, after using a map to look up where Mattapoisett was, he taught at both the high school and the junior high. At the time he was teaching band, jazz band and music classes at both schools, as well as music theory at the high school.

“It was a lot,” Farmer said.

When the high school switched to block scheduling, Farmer had to pick where he wanted to teach. He chose the junior high.

“I had done high school for many years [before ORR],” he said. “I liked getting kids ready for high school instead.”

Farmer currently teachers a seventh grade band class, an eight grade band class, two eighth grade general music classes and one seventh grade general music class.

He also likes trying to get kids involved outside of the classroom and doing things like competitions and concerts.

“I just like getting them to play elsewhere,” he said, citing having students play Christmas carols in the hallway in December. “They love it. The teachers love it.”

Perhaps one of the things he’s most proud of is his jazz band, which has performed in a variety of competitions over the years.

“They’ve always done well in competition,” Farmer said. “They’ve received gold and silver medals…But if I know they’ve worked hard and did their best, that’s what it’s all about.”

However, after many years as a teacher, Farmer said he knows it’s time to call it quits. He plans to take a trip with his wife to celebrate retirement, but will continue to conduct the Mattapoisett Summer Band.

“I’ll still be involved in the community,” he said. “I live in Hanson but I’ll still come down. I love the community, and I’ll peek my head in to say hi to the kids.”

For someone who had never heard of Mattapoisett before coming to ORR, Farmer has truly come to cherish the tri-town.

“The support the three towns give to the arts is incredible,” he said. “Especially with the budget issues, the support we’ve gotten is just incredible to see. It means a lot.”

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