It’s a known fact that if it had not been for for Samuel Taylor’s dedication and commitment to music and community, Hamilton would not have a philharmonic orchestra.
Mr. Taylor, who was a professional musician by the age of 15, took it upon himself to save the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra when the organization was experiencing financial difficulties and faced the threat of closure.
At a regional council meeting when the orchestra could have been shut down on the spot, Mr. Taylor took the initiative and said that he had a plan to collect $25,000 each from 40 people, to pay off the HPO’s $1 million deficit. However, time did not permit such an endeavour and the funds Mr. Taylor did raise, had to be turned back. But Mr. Taylor did not give up. Instead, he took it upon himself to re-build the orchestra, where he had many fond memories playing under conductor Lee Hepner and then Boris Brott.
Samuel Taylor was a ‘depression kid’ whose thirst for money led to his interest in music. His mother’s store was right across from the Armouries on James Street North. He picked up playing the tuba in the Boys’ Band of the 91st Highlanders. Two weekly lessons cost 50 cents, which Taylor could just manage through his part-time job selling newspapers. His interest in music began to grow. He bought a book and taught himself to play the bass, and as a bass player he got better paying gigs.
However, Mr. Taylor decided to become an accountant to support his family (In 1950 he opened an accounting firm, Taylor Leibow Chartered Accountants, with partner M.K. Leibow). But becoming an accountant didn’t mean he gave up his music. Mr. Taylor continued playing bass on the side and joined the Local 293 in 1931. In 1970 he was elected president of the Hamilton Musicians Guild and held that position for 22 years. While president, he also served with distinction and honour on the American Federation of Musicians finance committee for Canada and the United States.
Mr. Taylor was always keeping himself busy by giving back to the community through such organizations as the Good Shepherds Hostel, where he served on the board of directors and the Ontario Insolvency Accountants, serving as president. He was also a member of many groups directed to the Jewish community. He was on the National Board of Directors and was a president of the Hamilton Chapter of the Jewish National Fund. He was the associate treasurer of the United Israel Appeal of Canada. Mr. Taylor also served as president of The Temple of Shalom and Hamilton Jewish Federation.
His contributions to his community are as strong as his love for music. The combination of the two makes for an exceptional individual, whose excellence is focused on caring and passion, qualities benefitting his family, friends and Hamilton’s musical arts.