Monday, March 3, 2008


What did you do in the “Old days,” when you lived in the country on a farm and worked very hard to survive, to have fun? If you were a Taylor, you turned to music! You either played an instrument or sang, and as social times were few and far between, you combined all this with your religion.

Bryant W. Taylor, the oldest of the three boys, had grown up singing with his brothers as a trio, while their older sister played the piano for them. They became well known in the Genesee County area , especially since they seemed to enjoy it so. At the drop of a hat they’d launch into three part harmony, at home on a Sunday afternoon, or at a church popcorn party. They knew all the old hymns, but then they grew up, married and moved away.

Yes, when they returned to visit they still entertained their parents with “Beautiful Threads of Gold,” or “Will We Meet on the Shore?” but those times were fewer. However, there was a solution. Bryant, who married and returned to work the home farm, in the Oakfield area, raised a family of three boys and two girls. As they grew up, the girls took piano lessons and each boy played an instrument. Leon, the oldest, played the cornet. Lloyd, next oldest, played the violin. Floyd, his twin, played the cello and their father played the clarinet. As well as forming an orchestra, they also sang as a quartet.

Lead tenor was Lloyd, second tenor , Floyd. Leon sang baritone and their father, Bryant, carried the bass. One of their sisters played the piano. They spent many a Sunday afternoon perfecting their craft and thoroughly enjoying themselves. This, of course, carried over into church, and their fame soon spread.

The Taylor quartet was in great demand in all the upstate New York churches for revivals, regular services, and as an added attraction with a speaker or in addition to the pot luck supper. It was a practice that they never out grew. At every family get together, throughout their lives, the men sang a portion of their time together. They even had a record made during which Lloyd had to sing into a hat as his voice overpowered the rest. It was wonderful harmony and I never hear a quartet but what I think of them.

Picture: (left to right) D. Floyd Taylor, W. Lloyd Taylor, Leon C. Taylor, Bryant W. Taylor

WANT TO LISTEN TO YOUR ANCESTORS? CLICK at the right under, you guessed it, Taylor Male Quartet Songs. My son, Nick, listened and felt that at least some of these are recorded too high in pitch--perhaps recorded a bit faster than originally sung-- for two tenors, a baritone and a bass ( 'Follow the Cross of Light' in particular), so he used software to bring it down in pitch, and it does sound much more realistic, I think. Listen to both and see what you think!

Let us know what you think! And, did the musical gene get passed down to YOUR side of the family?!


Pat said...

Hello Cousins!

Enjoy the latest from the Taylor Quartet.

But, I felt I must comment on the picture I just put up in the blog header--a lake in northern Maine with the shadow of a person beginning to step through the scene.

I found it as I was reading about Thoreau's journeys through Maine. A new exhibit is just now detailing his difficult traipses through the real wilds of Maine; I hoped that some of the pictures shown with the exhibit could be used here, on this blog, and when I saw this picture--!!

This picture begins to show how I feel at times with this blog. We are here, in the year of 2008, and yet, somehow, as we all want to know more about each of us/you cousins, we also want to know and share more about who came before us.

I do feel, as Dad said in his latest Aunt Lil story, that the older spirits accompany us thoughout life, and yes, at times I feel them here, with us as we read and share our lives and learn more about theirs.

Don't mean to spook you out, as Halloween is a ways away.

But, journey with us, whomever you might be!

Sue Kinsella said...

Pat, can you put Nick's remastered version of Follow the Cross of Light up on the blog? The original version that's up there now sounds like I'm listening to The Chipmunks!

I remember finding an old clarinet in its case up in the back room upstairs at Grandma and Grandpa Taylor's in Waterloo. If I'm remembering correctly, this was not the National Geographic room but one between it and the bathroom with the clawfoot bathtub. All I remember about that room was finding the clarinet, which I put together and played. It must have been Great-Grandpa B.W.'s.

colleen maney said...

I love reading these stories. Since I'm only 13, I don't really know much about the family history, and these stories just make me happy. I have downloaded the Taylor Male Quartet songs and put them on my mp3 player.
Lloyd Taylor is my great-grandfather, it's things like this that make me proud to be in such a great family.

Anonymous said...

I just wish everyone of you could have listened to that quartet when they got going!!! And if you listen carefully you can pick out each of their voices!They did love to sing! CB
I should tell you that on the original records they each introduced a song. Uncle Floyd flubbed his and I do so wish I had remembered to tell the person who put these records on a CD for us to put those on too!!! [ House of Guitars did it!]

Anonymous said...

from Jack Kinsella
Pat, I agree that Nick's modification of the sound improved it. I notice that I can understand the words of the songs better than I could on the original and the tones are improved. Thanks Nick.
Let me say one more time the pictures you choose to put on the top of the blog are just wonderful. And I appreciate your thought to add some background to the pictures. It makes them more meaningful.

Pat said...


Great to have you reading this blog!

Let us know if you have any questions about people in pictures, or about the stories.

Some of these stories we older cousins have heard before, and it is always great to have new ears and eyes look them over!

sue Kinsella said...

Alex is excited about a concert he's going to in a couple of weeks that features several of his favorite metal bands. He's even going to get to do a guitar lesson with one of his guitar gods!

As we were working tonight on setting up the lesson and buying a concert ticket for his brother to accompany him, I sat him down to listen to his ancestors' band. Alex was having a challenging time following the logic of how his family musical genealogy from 100 years ago connects to him now, until I suggested that the Taylor Male Quartet was the *awesome!* heavy metal band of upstate New York in their day.

Then it started to make more sense . . . sort of . . .

Diana said...

I never heard Arnon play any musical instruments although I know he was in the band.

However for those of you who knew Uncle Arnon and is 'collecting' ways - you would not be shocked to know that the closet contains a LOT of musical instruments - he just couldn't stand to see any of them tossed out - so he would bring them home.

Judy Taylor said...

Ahhh, I am a loyal cousin blog
reader and I enjoy it all. I have
always loved to sing. In school and
in church choirs. I am an alto.
I encouraged my kids to take an instrument...the flute and the drums. Each gave a preformance at
church. Music is important, nice to
know it's in the family!!

Kathryn said...

I suspect that music came through the genes on both sides of the family. I know that my Mom (Gladys) LOVED to sing. She could REALLY whistle too! I sing Alto, like Judy, in the Church Choir. My Daughters can sing real well too. I absolutely love this blogsite! I cannot say how much I appreciate all the work that goes into it. I really love feeling connected to you cousins who I love dearly.

CB said...

Until Kathryn mentioned Gladys whistling so well I had completely forgotten the whistling duets she and I used to do!!! We were really good, harmonize , the big problem was that IF we chanced to look at one another that did it! We did have so much fun together! Aunt CB

Anonymous said...

still another comment! Arnon played trombone while in high school. He was good enough to have a jazz band with 3-4 other fellows. And I do believe that he could have played any instrument he wanted to as he would have figuered them out!!! [ he also wrote short stories for magazines during those days. Anything to get some $$ . I am not sure he ever sold any but he certainly wrote a lot! I thought they were good but then I was 7 years younger and biased! CB
And for his band, he needed a mute and had no money for one so he made one from a buttermilk carton!!