BAND DIRECTORS

KERRY TAYLOR

Director of Bands

ktaylor@eanesisd.net

Kerry Taylor currently serves as Director of Bands for Westlake High School-Eanes ISD and Fine Arts Director of Eanes ISD. Mr. Taylor is in his 39th year as a band director in the Texas public schools. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree and a Master of Music Degree, both from the University of Texas at Austin.

Under Mr. Taylor's direction, the Westlake Band has won or placed highly in numerous concert band and marching festivals, including 32 consecutive UIL Sweepstakes Awards. The Westlake Wind Ensemble has performed twice at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, four times in Carnegie Hall and once each for the American Bandmasters Association and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. In 1999, the John Philip Sousa Foundation presented the Westlake Band with the “Sudler Flag of Honor” for excellence in concert band and in 2011 the “Sudler Shield” for marching band excellence. The Westlake Chaparral Marching Band has performed twice (2003 and 2017) in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. In 2017, the Westlake program was recognized by Phi Beta Mu International Band Fraternity as a “Program of Distinction.”


Mr. Taylor is active as a clinician and adjudicator in Texas and across the US. He is a Past-President of the Texas Music Educators Association and currently serves as President-Elect for the American Bandmasters Association.  He has been recognized by the University Interscholastic League with the Sponsor of Excellence Award, the John Philip Sousa Foundation as a Legion of Honor Laureate and the Texas Bandmasters Association with the Meritorious Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music Education. He and his wife Valerie, a long-time educator in Eanes ISD and a current PhD candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas, are the proud parents of two sons; Brian, a DMA candidate at Michigan State University and Sean, a recent graduate of the University of Dallas.

JANA ROBERTSON

Assistant Director of Bands/EVE/Jazz Director

jrobertson@eanesisd.net

Jana Robertson is in her ninth year as a music educator and her sixth year as the Assistant Director of Bands at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas.  Her duties at Westlake include leading the Chap Jazz program, teaching multiple concert ensembles, assisting with the marching band, conducting the philharmonic orchestra, overseeing the colorguard program, and all program branding. Ms. Robertson began her musical studies in Eanes ISD as a sixth grade saxophone student and graduated from Westlake High School in 2008.  Jana is proud to be a part of the many Westlake Alumni who return to serve the Eanes ISD community.

Ms. Robertson holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While at LSU, she performed as a member of the Golden Band from Tigerland, the LSU Jazz Ensemble, and each of the LSU concert ensembles. Geaux Tigers! She is currently pursuing her Masters in Music Education Degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

 

Under Ms. Robertson’s direction, The Westlake Jazz Ensemble has developed a reputation for playing music from a multitude of genres, traditional to avant-garde, consistently earning top honors at contests and festivals.  At these festivals, Westlake Jazz Students are frequently recognized as outstanding musicians, many of whom go on to pursue careers in music. Jana’s passion for big band was fostered under the direction of Mr. Glenn Fugett (Westlake High School) and Dr. Brian Shaw (Louisiana State University).  She attributes her love for this idiom to the variety of outstanding literature performed by these ensembles as well as the lifelong friendships that inevitably result from playing great music with great people.

 

Ms. Robertson is an active member of TMEA and currently serves as the Region 32 Jazz coordinator. She enjoys visiting and working with many programs across the state of Texas. In addition to her work as a concert band clinician, she serves as a clinician for middle school, high school, and TMEA Region jazz ensembles.

 

Before returning to Westlake, Ms. Robertson was the Associate Director of Bands at Shoemaker High School in Killeen ISD. Ms. Robertson resides in Austin, Texas with her beautiful fluffy goddess with tiny legs, Meredith-Blake the golden doodle. 

TAYLOR LAPRAIRIE

Assistant Director of Bands

tlaprairie@eanesisd.net

Taylor LaPrairie currently serves as Assistant Director of Bands at Westlake High School in Austin, TX. Mr. LaPrairie instructs the Westlake Chaparral Marching Band, directs the Symphonic Band and Concert Band, and teaches beginning guitar classes. Mr. LaPrairie started teaching in Eanes ISD in 2019 as the Assistant Director of Bands at West Ridge Middle School before joining the high school staff in 2020.

 

Mr. LaPrairie graduated from Michigan State University where he received his bachelor's degree in Music Education. While at Michigan State, Mr. LaPrairie performed with numerous concert ensembles, including the MSU Wind Symphony. He can be heard on 3 professional recordings by the Wind Symphony and was a part of the ensemble’s 2017 performance at the CBDNA National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. He also served as an instructor for the Spartan Youth Wind Symphony (SYWS), serving as a brass instructor and conductor of the SYWS Brass Choir. He was a member of the Honors Brass Quintet program from 2014-2018 and was awarded the Ruth Mistele Trombone Award in 2016, 2017, and 2018. He was also a member of the Spartan Marching Band, MSU Trombone Choir, and the MSU Chamber Winds.

 

Mr. LaPrairie has served as a brass instructor for the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps since 2018. Prior to joining the brass staff, Mr. LaPrairie marched baritone with Carolina Crown from 2014 to 2017. During his time with the corps, Mr. LaPrairie was the featured trombone soloist in 2016, baritone section leader in 2016 and 2017, was awarded the “Brass Member of the Year” in 2017 and served as the Horn Sergeant for the 2017 season.

TYLER SAMMONS

Assistant Director of Bands/Percussion Director

tsammons@eanesisd.net

Tyler Sammons is the percussion director at Westlake High School. Originally from nearby Seguin, Texas, He graduated in 2011 from the University of North Texas with a degree in percussion performance and music theory. Since then, he has taught at several schools across the country, including Marian Catholic High School (IL), and most recently at Tom Glenn High School in Leander.

Mr. Sammons is heavily involved in the drum and bugle corps (DCI) activity, having served as a member of the percussion staff for Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps since 2012. Santa Clara Vanguard won the Fred Sanford Award for best percussion in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, and was the DCI World Champion in 2018.

 

Prior to teaching at Vanguard, he taught the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, and was a marching member of the Crossmen (TX) and Phantom Regiment (IL), capturing the DCI world championship with the Phantom Regiment in 2008, and the Fred Sanford award for best percussion in 2008 and 2010! He is also a former member of the Dallas Cowboys drumline. Mr. Sammons is and active arranger, clinician and adjudicator in the marching arts, and is a proud Innovative Percussion and REMO artist.