To help preserve and celebrate the memory of their late friend, the members of Walk Off the Earth have created a scholarship fund, in partnership with the Burlington Sound of Music organization.
Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor died suddenly and unexpectedly in late 2018 from natural causes.
“Mike Taylor was a person who truly embodied the phrase life is for living,” says Myles Rusak, executive director of Sound of Music. “He was deeply passionate about family, friends, business and music alike, he poured his heart and soul into everything that he did and made a massive impact on the lives of people all over the world. We are grateful to have the opportunity to help cement his legacy in the community by giving back to the youth who would follow in his footsteps.”
In partnership, the band, SOM and the firm of Taylor Oballa Murry Leyland LLP, along with Taylor’s family, have created the annual Mike Taylor Music Education Bursary, which will provide $1,000 a year to a young person from the Burlington area to pursue a career in music, keeping Taylor’s legacy and memory alive.
To apply, students need to submit an essay of up to 1,000 words explaining their involvement in music and how they “capture the essence of Mike Taylor,” in addition to a current resume and two letters of reference from people outside their immediate family.
Eligible students must be applying to or accepted by a post-secondary school in a music, production or fine arts program. The award will be paid directly to the student and is only to be used for tuition, books, supplies or other fees pertaining to their education. After being selected as the winner, the student’s enrollment in such a program will be confirmed, long with their GPA, and if the winner doesn’t meet the standards, the next eligible runner-up will receive the funding.
A panel of judges from SOM and Taylor Oballa Murray Leyland LLP and a member of Taylor’s family will select the winner.
The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on April 20, 2021 and applications can be sent to Bursary@Soundofmusic.ca.
“Many people came to know Mike as the silent, stoic, larger-than-life ‘Epic Beard Man’ that comprised ⅕ of Walk Off the Earth, but few were aware of just how kind, caring, compassionate a person he really was. Mike cared deeply about music education and worked closely with charities like MusiCounts to help provide young people all across Canada with the opportunity to play, perform and learn about music,” SOM says.