It is with deepest condolences to learn about the passing of Bryce Taylor, a longtime Alice Independent School District band director, who shaped the exemplary tradition of the Alice ISD band program.
He is one of the best known and respected bandmasters in Texas, according to a press release by Alice ISD.
Taylor began his career in 1951 as a band director at Three Rivers ISD before heading the Alice band program in 1961. He received many accolades and was recognized a dozen times as a finalist in 5A Honors Band competitions. His 1983 Alice band was one of the first recipients of the prestigious Sudler Flag of Honor award presented by the National Sousa Foundation.
Just recently in 2018, Taylor was honored as Texas A&I Distinguished Alumni. Taylor was State Band Chairman from 1957-59, president and Bandmaster of the year in 1983 representing the Texas Music Educators Association. He also received the Texas Bandmaster’s Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
Bryce was born on February 12, 1925, in Edinburg, Texas and attended school there, graduating from high school in 1942. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943 to 1946 and attended the U.S. Marine Corps School of Music in San Diego. He received his college training at North Texas, Pan American, and Texas A&I, where he graduated summa cum laude, first in his class.
Taylor leaves a musical legacy of at least 30 of his former students, including our current Alice ISD band director, who have become music teachers because of his inspiration and music discipline.
Alice ISD Director of Bands Emerico Perez was in Taylor's band program while in school here in Alice. He then had Taylor as a music professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Like many who knew him, Perez said he viewed Taylor as a mentor.
"He paved the way for many, many of my former classmates, before and after me, who have become great band directors and great people in their fields," Perez said. "He just had so much to offer."
Perez said he remembers the first day he met Taylor.
"It was my first day as a sixth grader in band in 1985," Perez recalled. "I was wearing a cap, and Mr. Taylor came up to me and said, 'Take your cap off. This is a band hall!' I never wore a cap again in the band hall. Mr. Taylor was just a great and admirable person and a great educator to not only people in Texas, but the country and I would even say the world. He was just that kind of person."
Although he retired as band director in 1995, he continued to work as a consultant for Alice ISD. The Alice High School auditorium is named after him - Bryce Taylor Performing Arts Auditorium.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and for all those that Mr. Taylor inspired over the years. His legacy will forever be cherished by his Alice Coyote family," said Alice ISD press release.