PORTSIDE

Madison Conductor Instructs Local Young Women’s Choirs


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When musicians set out to pursue their passions, not all of them end up performing. Some of them go into producing, writing, or conducting.

This is true for Beverly Taylor, the guest conductor at Bay Port’s fall music festival. Beverly Taylor is a graduate of University of Delaware & Boston University School for the Arts.

She is also the director and professor of choral activities at UW-Madison, which she started in 1995. At Madison, she conducts two choirs called Concert Choir and 200-voice Choral Union.

Taylor also is a former associate director of choral activities at Harvard, where she directed the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus and Radcliffe Choral Society for 17 years.

Taylor is frequent guest conductor and lecturer at festivals throughout the United States, and this fall, Bay Port had this honor.

On Oct. 19, Bay Port hosted the annual Music Festival, an event where many different choirs perform. This year’s event included Green Bay Girls Choir, De Pere High School Combined Women’s Choir, Ashwaubenon High School, Grafton High School, and Green Bay Preble High School.

Each school had 40 minutes in the PAC to work under the direction of Beverly Taylor. This is where Taylor would help the girls with tone, ensemble, technique and diction.

Taylor’s main goal was to help prepare for that evening’s concert in Bay Port’s fieldhouse.

Each choir had the opportunity to perform two pieces on their own and then every choir joined together at the end to sing an additional two pieces. This goal was accomplished with the remarkable help of Beverly Taylor.

Taylor’s backstory isn’t quite something you’d imagine, but it seems to be the most realistic story. Taylor, like many people, did not know exactly what she wanted to do when she was older.

Taylor said, “I decided to major in English. I loved writing. Thought I might teach English. thought I might be a minister. Thought I might be a speech pathologist. Thought I might go into the foreign service. I mean, I had all these ideas, but music—I had always thought of music as a minor. And then when I went to college. I was in the choir, but the only way to get private lessons was to be a music major. So I decided to a double major, in voice and English.”

This is somewhat unusual, because people often imagine that most musicians have known that they were going to perform since they were little. Rather, Taylor was introduced to music in small bits and stages.

Although Taylor was involved in music her whole life, she did not really start getting into music until around college.

Taylor had taken piano lessons from age six until twelve. After that, she did not start playing piano again until college. In college, she studied conducting.

Her experiences helped her to decide what she wanted to do.

Taylor got her start in music mainly from her family. She always liked the piano and liked to dance, but she found this out more in college. From her early years, she was always singing around the piano with family, singing in small recitals, or singing with small local opera companies.

Just because Taylor has found something she loves to do does not mean she is not done striving toward the future.

Taylor mentioned that one of her next goals is to have a sister city music festival in Madison. Beverly thinks it would be a phenomenal experience to have choirs from all over the world in Madison. As Taylor has showed people over and over again, anything is possible. There is no doubt that Taylor will not be able to reach any goal she sets for herself and her choirs.

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