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Volume 24, Number 3 — March 2017

Arts for Youth Spotlight

Friends helped Taylor become involved with different organizations and find varying outlets for his talent.
Friends helped Taylor become involved with different organizations and find varying outlets for his talent.

Taylor Moorefield enjoys music and friendship

By Leslie Grace / A! Magazine for the Arts | October 31, 2012

Taylor Moorefield's father jokes that Taylor was reading music before words. Taylor says he doesn't know if that's true, but he began singing as soon as his church choir director would let him — at the age of 5. At about the same time, he began to take piano lessons. His current teacher is Beth McCoy.

"My older brother was taking piano lessons," he says. "When you're the age I was, you look up to your big brother and want to do everything he does. So ironically, right about the time he quit piano, I started lessons to be like him. I guess it's a good thing I didn't quit to be like him too."

He joined the East Tennessee Children's Choir during the fourth grade and moved to the Highlands Youth Ensemble when his voice changed in the eighth grade.

His artistic director at the Highlands Youth Ensemble is Jane Morison. Recently he auditioned for and was chosen to be a soloist in the Organization of American Kodály Educators Honor Choir in Phoenix, Ariz.

"I got picked as an improvisational soloist on the gospel tune, No Rock's A Cryin," he says.

"The best part was the adrenaline of being on stage, singing and improvising whatever tunes I wanted in front of a huge audience, backed by one of the best choirs in the country. The rush of those moments of total music is a feeling unmatched. No one was singing for the sake of showing off or looking good; everyone was completely immersed in the music."

The love of being immersed in the music and encouragement from friends led Taylor to the Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra where he plays violin, which he began to study at the Academy of Strings when he was 12.

"Until my violin lessons, I had only played the piano. I really liked the sound of the orchestral stringed instruments, and I wanted to play one of them. I tend to have a bit too much fun being in the spotlight, so when I found out that the violin was usually the instrument with the most solos, plus the first violinist in the orchestra has the admired title of concertmaster, that finalized my decision of which instrument I wanted.

"Several of my friends who helped get me interested in playing the violin were involved in the orchestra. I looked at them playing with dozens more musicians on stage, playing epic symphonies and wanted to be a part of that. The thing I enjoy most about orchestra is the adrenaline rush you get playing these epic works. Whether it's my bow flying across my strings as fast as it can, feeling the floor shake from the bass drum and timpani, or just sitting back listening to concertmaster Cameron Lugo play through a gorgeous violin solo, playing in an orchestra is nothing but music in its purest form."

His friends don't just encourage his musical involvement; they introduced him to acting in Liberty: The Saga of Sycamore Shoals, in which he played a Revolutionary War soldier.

"One of the things that makes Liberty such an incredible thing is the way it tells stories. People come and hear about significant historical events that happened right where you and I are standing, and they get entertained at the same time. Another thing I really like is just the acting. Acting is one of my favorite things to do, and Liberty is one of my only chances to do it."

Friends helped Taylor become involved with different organizations and find varying outlets for his talent; and he says they are also the best part of being involved in the arts.

"I've met the best friends I've ever known, and I know they're all going to be lifelong friendships. I get the opportunity to work with incredible musicians every day, travel all over the country performing and learning skills that teach discipline, teamwork and respect."

While many of Taylor's friends came through music, he says his family is only "semi-musical."

"My dad jokes that I didn't get my "music stuff' from him. My brother hasn't gone back to music. My mom sings a bit, and wants to start learning piano again."

Taylor considers music his hobby as much as a job and pastime.

"I'll practice piano a little, then take a break by plugging in my electric guitar and playing some rock for a while. Then it's back to organ, then taking a break by playing the drums."

In the little time he has left, Taylor enjoys outdoor sports, like hiking and high-adventure work with the Boy Scouts. He is also heavily involved in Japanese martial arts training.

He is the 17-year-old son of Ron Moorefield and Sarah Killam and lives in Mosheim, Tenn. He is home-schooled through the Home Life Academy.

Topics: Achievements, Art