Bittersweet Goodbyes

Celebrating Kerry Taylor’s years of service, dedication
The Chap Band marches down Colorado Boulevard at the beginning of the parade in California Jan. 1. The band marched to a medley of “Deep in The Heart of Texas” and “Miles and Miles of Texas.”

Chaparral band director Kerry Taylor is retiring at the end of the year, ending his 35 year tenure. He served as band director during that time, growing the band from just 77 people when he took over in 1989, to 260 in 2024.

Taylor is leaving after a spectacular year, ending in first place at BOA North Texas Regionals, Class 4A North Texas Regional Champions, sweeping all areas, first Division UIL Regionals Marching Contest, and had 41 students make all-district band. The Chaps got the opportunity to play in the 2024 Rose Bowl Parade as well.

Taylor and the entire team alongside him have created an outstanding program by continuing to grow the music department year by year at unprecedented levels. 

“We’ve had a full orchestra competing every year,” Taylor said. “We’ve moved the jazz band class into the school day because there’s that much demand.”

In Taylor’s time at the school, the band has participated in three Rose Bowls since 2004, and in two since 2017. The path to getting to the Rose Bowl is long, having to apply 40 months prior and only getting word back 20 months before. They competed along with many other schools from the Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma region. 

Taylor was the president of the Bandmasters association, and in his time there he implemented new rules concerning choir sections. Prior to his initiatives, men had to be in tenor or bass while women had to be alto or soprano. Thanks to Taylor, these were changed internationally. These new rules opened the door for students around the world to unlock their full potential. 

Taylor has brought the Chaps great honors by receiving the Sudler flag of honor and the Sudler shield from the John Philip Sousa Foundation, an international foundation that is dedicated to the promotion of band music. The Sudler flag of honor was earned in 1999 to award excellence in concert band. The award is only given out to two high schools in the nation each year being one of the highest honors achievable at the highschool level. 

The Sudler shield on the other hand, while still only awarded to two high schools, is awarded based on excellence in marching band.

“They usually award that based on a couple of entertaining and high quality performances through multiple years,” Taylor said. “So it’s not like you apply one year and you have to win it then. There has to be a track record to support that to win.” 

Taylor has seen the band grow and change. He’s seen them earn the highest honors, but that’s not what he will miss most. 

“The number one thing I’m gonna miss is standing in front of a group of kids with instruments in their hands and sharing and making music with them,” Taylor said.

Leaving at the end of the year, Taylor set the Chaparral band up for the future by raising the popularity of the band and the student body participation as well. He has done more than anyone else for the music program in the past 35 years and has shaped it for the years to come.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All THE FEATHERDUSTER Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.