Lucas R. Meade | Director of Bands
Mr. Meade is excited to be in his seventh year teaching at West Johnston High School and ninth year of teaching overall. Mr. Meade graduated with a Bachelors of Music Education in 2015 and with a Masters of Music Education in 2017, both from Texas Tech University. Before working at West, Mr. Meade taught at Frenship High School in Wolfforth, TX as an assistant band and jazz director. While at West, Mr. Meade leads the West Johnston Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Marching Band, as well as conducts the West Johnston Musical Pit and facilitates the Winter Programs. He also serves as the Fine Arts Chair for the West Johnston Fine Arts Department. Outside of West, he serves as Jazz Delegate on the North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA) Board, the Region Jazz Clinic Chair for the NCMEA Jazz Central Region, as well as the Marching Band Chair for the South Eastern District Band Association (SEDBA).
Since arriving at West, the marching band has shown annual growth in scores and student participation, as well as performed in the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2018) and the DisneyWorld Orlando Parade (2021). The concert ensembles now perform at least five concerts a year, including at Concert Evaluation Festivals and/or Music Performance Assessment. The award-winning West Johnston Jazz Ensemble has performed at the North Carolina Music Educators Association Conference (2021), the Crescent City Music Festival (2023) and gotten consistent Superior rankings at Central Region Jazz Music Performance Assessment and other Jazz festivals around the state. Under "Lord" Meade's baton, the West Johnston Musical Pit has been selected the last two years as a finalist for Best Student Pit Orchestra for Triangle Rising Stars (2022, 2023). ALL of this is thanks to his unbelievable students, who are a joy to work with and his reason to come to work every day.
When not living the dream at West, Mr. Meade enjoys watching San Antonio Spurs games, playing/watching/podcasting/public announcing Ultimate Frisbee and running with their dog Mickey. He, his gorgeous wife Annabel and their new baby boy Matthias (and the aforementioned cattle dog) currently reside in Garner, North Carolina.
Jessica Leighton | Assistant Band Director
Ms. Leighton earned her Bachelors of Music Education at East Carolina University, Class of 2020. Her first year of teaching was at Toisnot Middle School in Wilson, NC. While at ECU, Ms. Leighton performed as a tuba player in many ensembles and taught lessons and camps across the Eastern part of North Carolina. She currently performs as an E-flat Bass player in the award-winning Triangle Brass Band. Outside of band, which consumes most of her time, Ms. Leighton enjoys playing video games and making crafts, like t-shirts, stickers, and wood-burned signs. She currently lives in central NC with her wonderful fiancé, Vanessa, and their two cats, Willow and Coda.
Johnny Talamantes | Color Guard Director
As a graduate of West Johnston himself, Mr. Talamantes is pleased to join us for his ninth year on staff as the West Color Guard Director. Mr. Talamantes has performed throughout the country in a variety of elite groups including Madison Scouts, Carolina Visual Productions, and First Flight. He has taught color guard and visual movement throughout the country including Michigan, Texas, South Carolina and Georgia.
Lucas Vargas | Percussion Director
Lucas Vargas-Casera is a highly skilled percussion instructor and sound designer with a passion for musical excellence. With 8 years of experience in percussion education, performance, and show design, Lucas is dedicated to fostering student growth and leading successful programs.
As the Percussion Director at Green Level High School and West Johnston High School in North Carolina, Lucas has played a pivotal role in establishing and developing percussion programs. Through his innovative show designs and comprehensive curriculum, he has led marching band and indoor percussion ensembles to successful performances and accolades. Lucas's expertise extends beyond the school setting. As a percussion instructor for Carolina Gold, he provided instruction to the DCA Champions, cultivating a collaborative and engaging learning environment. Lucas's musical experience as a tenor drummer was showcased in his role as a charter member of the Alchemy Independent Percussion Ensemble.
Additionally, Lucas's passion for sound design and production has led him to collaborate with local artists, providing recording and beat-making services at Lux Studios. His skills in sound design have also benefited notable groups such as EVA Independent, the WGI World Champions, as well as Green Level High School and West Johnston High School. Lucas brings not only his musical expertise but also strong leadership, collaborative problem-solving, family environment and multitasking abilities to his students.
Chloe Brown | Color Guard Instructor
Chloe Brown is a West Johnston 2022 graduate who is now pursuing a bachelor's degree at Campbell University in Environmental Science. She is now in her second year as a color guard technician here at West. After her graduation, Chloe was given the opportunity to be a member of the color guard with Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corp, a world class organization dedicated to teaching members how to become a better teacher for their own programs. While directing the West Johnston JV Guard in the winter guard season, Chloe also performed in First Flight World Guard. She is now in her second year as a color guard technician and first marching band season as a full time staff member.
Ari Moore | Percussion Instructor (Front Ens.)
Ari Moore is currently a Music Education Major at UNC-Pembroke. Mr. Moore is on his third year on staff at West Johnston High School.
"Hello, my name is Ari Moore. I am a freelance musician and teacher, this is my fifth year teaching. I’ve been doing music since I was two years old, started in the church, and then when I started school started taking private lessons on piano. I did band when I was in high school, which led me to do independent groups, such as alchemy independent, and George Mason University and going to UNCP for music industry. I am very excited to be working with West Johnson, high school, bands, and ensemble's once again."
Robert Redfield | Percussion Instructor (Battery)
Robert Redfield graduated from Appalachian State University in May of 2021 with a BS in Psychology specializing in Education Studies. Robert is currently a freelance percussion instructor in the NC area, working with West Johnston High School, Green Level High School, and Enloe Magnet High School. Robert has also served as a battery staff member for Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle corps during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Robert’s marching experience includes Alchemy Independent, Carolina Gold, and the Appalachian State University Marching Mountaineers. Serving as quad section leader for a majority of his seasons. Outside of teaching Robert can be found streaming music and movies, practicing drums, or playing guitar with his band “Galloway”.
Using knowledge from his degree, Robert hopes to create a learning environment that students can benefit from on the field, and in the classroom.
Rasheed McFadden | Color Guard Instructor
Rasheed is on his second year on staff at West Johnston High School.
Sydney Beasley | Visual Instructor
"I graduated from West Johnston in 2019, and this will be my first year on the team as a staff member! I've been playing saxophone for more than ten years, and bassoon for almost five. I currently play alto saxophone for Eva Independent Winds. I also marched West's productions of Cloudscapes, Red White & Blues, Built on Ashes, as well as winter productions of What Dreams May Come, Misdirection, and Johnston County Alliance Winds' Into the Woodwinds. I currently live in Raleigh, NC, with my girlfriend Bree, and our two cats Leela and Peebo, and in our free time we love to hang out on the couch drinking coffee and watching reality tv!"
Adrien Re | Woodwind and Jazz Instructor
Adrien Re is a Grammy nominated composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, audio engineer, music producer and educator. His professional playing credits include The Temptations, Rosemary Clooney, Mel Torme, Burt Bacharach, Johnny Mathis, Carol Burnett and Chevy Chase. His groups have opened concerts for Boney James, Spyro Gyra, The Neville Brothers and Tower of Power. He is also a prolific and versatile music production professional having been an audio engineer and producer of over 15 internationally released albums for other artists as well as his own albums: “Gotta Love the Lovin,” “Groove Research” and “Adrien Re’s Jazz Band Big.” His production works extends to commercial and jingle production having produced jingles for Wegman’s, Bank of Clarke County, ITIMIZIT.com, Ford and Jeep-Chrysler-Dodge.
He is a graduate of The College of New Jersey, Florida Atlantic University, Ball State University and Berklee College of Music. He current resides in North Carolina where he teaches at both Wake Technical Community College and Campbell University.
Dr. Re has been working the West Johnston Band Program since he moved to N.C. in 2019 and assists with Woodwind Instruction and helps Mr. Meade with the West Johnston Jazz Ensemble.