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Matt Taton

Matt Taton (2015)

Trumpet

What are your most important educational and musical moments?
I help kids “make noise better,” and sharing great performances with my students are among the top highlights of my career as an educator. I am proud that many of my marching bands have been honored as state champions. As a professional musician, I have had the honor of playing with some of the great trumpet masters around the globe, including in Chicago, Aspen, Netherlands, and beyond. Having great conversations with pros that share your same passion, like Wynton Marsalis, makes you proud of what you are doing. 

Why did you choose music?
I was surrounded by music as a kid. My sister played the flute and there was a piano in our house. I wanted to get into the action!

Why did you choose your instrument?
In sixth grade, I connected with a great band director who encouraged me to play an instrument. I thought “there was nothing better than the trumpet,” and by tenth grade I was playing first chair. It was around that time that I decided I wanted to be a band director. To this day, I continue to be friends with and am inspired by my sixth grade band director who started me on my musical journey.

What are you currently doing?
I have been a middle and high school band director for the past 31 years, the last 20 of them in the Mt. Pleasant, MI, public schools. I am the principal coronet player in the 23-piece Five Lakes Silver Band, a competitive nationally acclaimed British-style Brass Band based in Roya Oak, Michigan. I also play in other jazz groups, including the Michigan Jazz Trail Big Band, and do a variety of freelance work for special events.

Tell us about your family.
My wife Jonnie and I have been married for 20 years. She is the preschool administrator for the Midland County schools. Our daughter, Gina, lives in the Bronx and is expecting our second grandchild. Our son, Jon, lives is Chesaning. My mom is 89 and I talk with her every day. Rounding out our family are three cats and a dog.

Any non-musical interests or hobbies?
Jonnie and I take our bikes everywhere we travel. She is a former Olympic cyclist, so I spend a lot of time trying to keep up with her…haven’t done it yet! 

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