John Max McFarland is an active composer/arranger in WGI, DCI, and BOA. He is currently the Program Coordinator for Legends Drum & Bugle Corps (Kalamazoo, MI), a position he has held since the 2016 season. From 2013 to 2015 he was the percussion composer/arranger for Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps (Milwaukee, WI). In 2018, John was the Percussion Caption Head for the Erie Thunderbirds Drum & Bugle Corps (Erie, PA).
In WGI, John has composed and arranged for many ensembles ranging from Scholastic A all the way up to Independent World Class. Many notable clients include Eastside Fury (2012-2014), Notre Dame Indoor Percussion Ensemble (PIA Finalists 2012, 2013), Ferndale Independent Percussion (PIA Silver Medalist 2015), Farmington United Percussion (PIA Silver Medalist 2017), and Decatur Central Indoor Percussion (PSCA Gold Medalist 2018). John is also the owner and founder of Six to Five Productions, LLC, a marching arts music publishing company where many of his original shows for marching band, winter percussion, and concert percussion can be purchased.
John received his degrees in Composition (B.M.) and Percussion Performance (M.M.) from Western Michigan University. He studied percussion under Judy Moonert. John has performed as the Principal Percussionist and Principal Timpanist for the University Concert and Symphonic Bands, as well as the University Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Kalamazoo Symphony and Battlecreek Symphony as a substitute percussionist. John was a marching member of the Kiwanis Kavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps, as well as the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps.
John studied composition under Curtis Curtis-Smith, Dr. Richard Adams, and Dr. Robert Ricci. His compositions and arrangements have received international recognition with performances all over the United States, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. His most recent piece, “5 Songs in the Age of Stupidity” for 2 percussion and mezzo-soprano, received 1st prize in the Ironworks percussion duo composition contest.
John resides in Parma Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, OH, with his wife, Sydney; son, Camden; daughter, Cadence; 2 cats, Zoe and Minkah; 2 greyhounds, Jason and Lola; and Italian greyhound, Sophia.