Everyday Hero: 85-year-old helps Seminole State band discover old music

By Jeff Allen, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, January 04, 2018, 7:59 PM EST

The Seminole State College band is made up of a lot of young people, but it’s crediting some of its recent success to an 85-year-old member of the group.

  • Roland Taylor organizes Seminole State band's old sheet music
  • College can now reuse music, save money
  • Taylor also discovered he's a college graduate
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And it’s not just Roland Taylor’s trumpet-playing abilities in the band that’s helping out.

Taylor usually hits all the right notes. But finding the sheet music hasn’t always been so easy.

When his band director asked him to look for some sheet music, it took him more than two days to find it. 

“He sent me into the dungeon,” said Taylor. “And when I came out, I said we need to fix this. And he said you got a job.”

Since then, Taylor has volunteered his time going through nearly one hundred cabinets of old sheet music at the college. He’s been cataloguing nearly 50 years of unorganized music. Much of the music was crammed into old files.

“The music was getting shredded as we opened the cabinets,” Taylor said. “I opened one box and it said ‘to be filed,’ and it was in the timeframe of the ‘80s.”

After two years of working some really long days, Taylor now has much of the music in order in cabinets and in a computer system that allows someone to find decades of score within minutes. 

“It’s important for the students to know that there’s old music that is very good,” said Taylor.

While going through all of that music, Taylor found something else.

For decades, he thought he was one credit short of his college degree at the University of New Hampshire.

While he was filing music, a student advisor at Seminole State looked into his school records and realized his university made a mistake. He had enough credits. It turns out this entire time he was a college graduate.

“And all of a sudden they said oh, we got you, congratulations — and the rest is history,” Taylor said.

The college was buying a lot of music it already had. Now it can reuse music and save money.

“Without his help I still would not know what I own,” said Jim Smisek, Director of Bands at Seminole State College.

But Taylor’s work is not done. There’s more filing to do. And he says he’ll finish the job he started.

“I said I’d do it,” Taylor said.