Death of Dr Dennis Taylor

The death has been announced of the hugely respected musician and academic, Dr Dennis Taylor.

  The death has been announced of the respected musician.

The death has been announced of Dr Dennis Taylor FTCL LTCL, who passed away on July 10th.

Dennis was highly respected as a player, conductor, adjudicator and composer as well as an outstanding teacher and educator.


Born in 1925, he became a member of the Salvation Army before serving as a telegraphist in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

He later joined Staines SA Corps, subsequently taking charge of their Junior Band. It remained one of his proudest joys to see one of his former boys, Brian Bowen, become a member of the International Staff Band, rising to the bandmastership of the New York Staff Band.

In 1948 he married Freda — a 78 year partnership of love and support that started with him spotting her playing table tennis.

They remained with the Army until 1959 when he resigned his commission to become a teacher, and starting associations with, amongst others, Fane, Stourport, Passmores, Broadways, Lucton and Mortimer Secondary schools. He also became conductor of bands such as Corby Silver, Shirley and Epping Forest.

Dennis also became a member of Stamford Town Band and met conductor Sydney Swancott, forming a friendship that lasted a lifetime. When Sydney became chairman of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors, Dennis became a Vice-President.


In 1990, he moved to Sunderland to be near to one of his daughters and whilst there became the first brass band musician to awarded a Master of Music degree by Durham University for his thesis on the life and music of Eric Ball.

He also held an MA from Newcastle University for composition and a BA Music degree from Goldsmiths College, London.

An accomplished author, his book on Eric Ball was required reading, as was his history of brass band compositions from the late 19th-early 20th century.

An accomplished author, his book on Eric Ball was required reading, as was his history of brass band compositions from the late 19th-early 20th century4BR


His compositions ranged from major works for bands such as the Amsterdam Staff Band to little known works for local bands including 'Elegy of Joy'. His orchestral and symphonic wind band works remain in the libraries of the many schools he taught at.

In later years he suffered from the onset of blindness but continued with his work with the help of the Blind Veterans Association. A proud day was achieved as at the age of 94 he led the ranks of the Association as they marched to the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Sunday.


The loss of Freda and of his son Steven, a talented euphonium player, was a huge blow to Dennis, but throughout, his strong Christian faith upheld and fortified him, even when the tumour that he eventually succumbed to took away his ability to speak.

A friend said: "Dennis was a true 'gentleman' in every sense of the word, always finding time to encourage and guide you, even until his final days and will be missed greatly."

A Service of Thanksgiving was held on Friday 23rd July at Bethany Church in Sunderland and is available to view on YouTube.

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