City native among Macy's marchers
Taylor leads University of Louisiana Lafayette band
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
This year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City is something special for Hartselle native Brian Taylor.
His 280-member University of Louisiana Lafayette (ULL) "Pride of Acadiana" marching band will be one of the units featured in the nationally televised annual event. A day earlier he and 100 members of his band were guest performers on NBC's Today Show.
"There's been so much work to do in preparation for the trip I haven't had time to get excited," Taylor said in a telephone interview last Friday. "But that doesn't speak for the band members. They've been ready to go since we received notice of our acceptance in April 2004.
"This is definitely going to be a highlight of my conducting career," he added, "but I'll try to stay focused on the mission and not get too emotional until it's all over. Then, I'll sit back and savor the experience."
The invitation is the first of its type for a Louisiana band.
"Ours is the first college band from Louisiana to be invited to New York to march in the Macy's Parade," Taylor pointed out. "We take great pride in that especially after the challenges we had to face to get where we are. We had to deal with two hurricanes, one to the east and the other to the west. We lost a lot of rehearsal time because of that."
Taylor said he never dreamed he'd someday be where he is as a band conductor.
"I owe a lot of people there for their support and encouragement," he pointed out. "My band directors at Hartselle High School, Howard Baxter and Joe Walters, had a big influence in getting my career started.
Taylor is in his fifth year as LUL's band director. The band has grown from 146 to 280 members during his tenure.
He graduated from Hartselle High in 1986 as an honor student and drum major for the band. He also played the baritone horn. He attended college at Jacksonville State on an academic scholarship where he played in the band and earned a B.S. degree in music. He later earned a masters degree in conducting from the University of Southern Mississippi and is nearing completion of the doctoral program there.
His father and stepmother are Steve and Rhonda Taylor of Arab. He is the son of the late Charlotte Graham.