North Carolina
Bandmasters
Association


Richard "Red" Dobson
2002 Hall of Fame Inductee

Red Dobson - Music Director
by Robert G. Miller

Off-key radios plagued Red Dobson for 12 years.

Now he keeps his ears tuned for off-key students.

But to him it's a pleasure to hear those off-key notes and know that someday those students will be talented musicians.

The red-haired gentleman - John Richard Dobson - stands out as one of Willmington's greatest musicians and music instructors.

To hundreds of grammar and junior high school students scattered over New Hanover county, he possesses what they strive daily to attain.

Not only is this student-loving man one of the greatest musicians to be produced in Wilimington - but he has done more than any other one person to help junior high students progress in the music world.

Red was born, 42 years ago, in nearby Teachey, located in Duplin County. At the age of four his family moved to Wilmington where Red began and completed his grammar and high school days.

After graduation from New Hanover High in 1926, he went to Furman University and later transferred to Shenandoah Conservatory in West Virginia. Then it was a venture into the radio world for the boy who had been playing instruments practically all his life.

After 12 years of repairing the radios and listening to the grinding tunes and static, Red just quit and began in 1943 as junior high band director in New Hanover County.

With the exception of the 1946-47 school term he has retained this position. That year Red went to the Durham schools in a similar capacity and took several music courses at Duke University and also the University of North Carolina.

Then, with that burning desire in his heart to return to the seacoast, Red packed his baggage and once again assumed his duties with the public school system here.

The musician was the first person to officially organize a junior high school band here. Last year the band band was the largest in its history and obtained a rating of "excellent" in the North Carolina Band Festival held in Greensboro. This year Red has even bigger plans for the future maestros.

In addition to teaching the students how to play every instrument from the cymbals to the harp, Red also is director of the Wilmington Civic Orchestra. While in Durham he played with the Duke and Carolina bands.

With all of these duties it doesn't seem possible that Red has much time for his hobbies. However, his hobbies, vocation and profession are all combined in one.

Music is his "long suit."