Director of Bands
Under Mr. Taylor's direction, the Westlake High School Band has been named 'Best in Class' or 'Runner-up' at the Buccaneer Music Festival, South Coast Music Festival, MusicFest (Orlando, Fl.) and the DC Festival in San Antonio. The Westlake Band has made concert tours to the Pacific Northwest, Canada and the British Isles. Under Mr. Taylor’s baton, the Westlake Wind Ensemble has performed twice (2002 and 2015) at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, the American Bandmasters Association on March 4, 2006 and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles on July 8, 2009. In 1997, the John Philip Sousa Foundation presented the Westlake Band with the Sudler Flag of Honor recognizing excellence in concert band over an extended period of time.
The Westlake Marching Band has been a Finalist in multiple Bands of America Regionals and Super Regionals and has been a Finalist at the 5A and 6A State Marching Contest-placing in the top 10 on five occasions. On January 2, 2017 the Westlake Chaparral Band performed in the Tournament of Roses Parade in California. This was their second time (2003) to perform in this parade. In 2010, the Sousa Foundation honored the WHS band with the Sudler Shield for excellence in marching.
In December 2016, the international honorary band fraternity, Phi Beta Mu, recognized the Westlake Band Program as a first recipient of the Earl Irons "Program of Distinction Award" for excellence in all aspects of a well-rounded band program.
Mr. Taylor is active as a clinician and adjudicator in Texas and across the US. He has served the Texas Music Educators Association in many positions including Chairman of the Band Division and in 2005-06 as President of the 10,000+ member organization. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Bandmasters Association. His other professional memberships include Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Adjudicators Association, Phi Beta Mu, National Band Association, College Band Directors National Association.
Recently the UIL honored Mr. Taylor with the "Sponsor Excellence Award". In 2016 the Texas Bandmasters honored Mr. Taylor wth the "Meritorious Achievement Award". He is also the Music Director of the Waterloo Wind Band, a south Austin community concert band.
Kerry Taylor currently serves as Director of Bands for Westlake High School and Fine Arts Director of Eanes ISD. He is also Department Chair of Fine Arts at Westlake High School. Mr. Taylor is in his 36th year as a band director in the Texas public schools; five years in Katy ISD and 31 in Eanes ISD. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree and a Master of Music Degree in Applied Conducting, both from the University of Texas at Austin.
Assistant Director of Bands/EVE/Jazz Director
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.
Assistant Director of Bands
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.
Assistant Director of Bands/Percussion Director
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.