Band Director Chris Taylor can add a new accolade to his 18 years teaching in the Park City School District. A single educator from every state was selected for the December Issue of School Band and Orchestra, each one featured in an article titled "50 Directors Who Make a Difference," Taylor being the educator from Utah.
From Hawaii to Maine, one teacher from every state received the nod from the leading trade publication, with every recipient nominated by a fellow educator. Taylor has taught band for nearly two decades, splitting his time between more than 200 students attending Park City High School and Treasure Mountain Junior High School.
"Someone from the magazine called and said congratulations, and then they asked me to answer a few questions," Taylor said, recounting the night he found out he won. "I've read the articles for years, I always look through and I know the people. This time it was me and that was humbling, but it is nice to know someone recognizes the thriving music programs we have in Park City."
The award was based on the impact Taylor has had in the classroom, his teaching style and its effect on students. Taylor said his emphasis on teaching was creating opportunities, including trips like the one scheduled for this year where band students will go to Boston to compete.
"The things my kids get to do, when I was their age I didn't even know some of it existed," he said. "The quality of literature, the type of music they play, even just getting to play outside of the school they can take what they are applying share it in a lot of ways.
Even in class, Taylor said he remembered the learning moments of his students, and a former student, now member of a punk rock band, came up to him to recount his memories of sitting in band class.
"This student, he was a drummer and he was always hitting things in the middle of rehearsal," Taylor said. "I just started taking a piece of the drum set away at a time and before you knew it, all that was left was a high hat, and we taught him how to groove using just that."
"He came back and told me that was a really good lesson."
The 9th Annual Sweetheart Gala featuring the PCHS Varsity Jazz Ensemble is set for Friday, Feb. 8, and will be hosted by the PCHS Music Department and the Park City Education Foundation. The event is a big band dinner and dance fundraiser for the Park City High School bands.
Tickets are on sale for the event and prices range from $50 for individual tickets to $600 for a premium dance floor table. To purchase tickets, call 435-615-0235 or visit www.pcef4kids.org. All contributions are tax deductible. PCEF is currently seeking goods and services to be donated to opportunity drawings during the event. To donate, contact Lyn Eckels at 435-655-5457.