Bandmaster bows out after 29 years of all that jazz

BANDMASTER Jeff Taylor, born in Cape Town, started playing the trumpet at the age of nine with his dad, who was a bandmaster in the Salvation Army band.

He started working at the Grey Junior School in 1987 as a brass and percussion teacher and was appointed head of music in 1988.

What has been your biggest challenge as bandmaster?

Boys not practising enough but I am still expected to maintain a high standard regardless.

Which is your favourite instrument and why?

I wouldn’t like to single out any instrument because every instrument is important - but I love the sexy sax. Every instrument is important in a band. I always say that, as much as you need every position on a rugby field, so you require every instrument in the band so that the correct balance is achieved.

I am fortunate that I can play every instrument in the band, so nobody can tell me that they are playing the correct note when they have definitely played incorrectly.

What has been your biggest highlight?

There are many highlights.

Every concert of performance for me is a highlight, but I reckon being voted as the most entertaining band at the Tygerberg International Festival in 2002 and 2006 stands out.

What are your plans after retirement?

I have no plans yet.

There have been enquiries about me teaching at a school for a few days a week but I would also love to get involved in conducting bands around the Eastern Cape and doing contract work.

I have this almighty passion for music and would hate to see it being wasted sitting on my behind every day.

What is your message to the boys you will be leaving behind?

You guys are so fortunate to have the opportunity to play music. Grab it with both hands and don’t ever let go. It is something that you can use until the day you die.

“I have been truly blessed to have been given the ability to teach other people to not only make music but also to appreciate it.”