Playing for others is Harold?s salvation
By WILL JACKSON
TWO strokes and a touch of deafness haven't been able to silence Harold Taylor's beloved cornet.
Seventy years after joining the Salvation Army, the 84-year-old on Saturday was playing carols with the band, as he does every Christmas.
Harold does have to take out his hearing aid to play, but he is quick to say what it is that drives his dedication: "It's just the enjoyment I see in people's faces."
Harold first joined the Salvo's band when he was 11.
"My dad drank a bit so my mum used to send us off to Sunday school. One day I was sitting in the gutter across the road when I saw the Sally band playing on the corner and I thought, now that's for me," he said.
Harold, a contract painter by trade, went on to become a popular and wellloved musician around the Northern Rivers.
He was bandmaster for the Lismore City Brass Band for about 14 years and started the Mid-Richmond Brass Band.
Harold was also bandmaster at St John's College Woodlawn for 25 years.
"I reckon I taught over 1000 kids at Woodlawn," he says.
Harold's passion for music was nearly thwarted 20 years ago when he had the first of two strokes.
"The doctor said to me 'I hope you don't play a musical instrument because the part of your memory that holds the music is gone'," Harold said.
"He was right. I couldn't remember a single note, so I learned to play all over again."
Harold says it was much more difficult the second time around.
"After 20 years I'm still learning. I can't keep the melody in my head anymore, so I have to have the sheet music in front of me when I play."
The Salvation Army Band plays Christmas carols every Thursday at 6.30pm and Saturday at 10am at the Lismore Shopping Square; and Saturdays at 11am at Bunnings Warehouse in South Lismore until Christmas Day.