Brooks and Dunn, well they’re yesterday’s news, but Brooks and Taylor…they’re happening NOW, and once again Comanche High School is the recipient of the talents of two more very, very successful students. I cornered the musical duo (Robert Brooks and Hayden Taylor) this past week to ask them about themselves, the contests they’ve already won, and the big state contest in front of them.
“We don’t really have a name; we’re just us,” Brooks said as he and Hayden took seats in the CHS commons to tell me about the past few weeks.
“We think we’ve been singing together for about two years,” Hayden guessed as he picked up the story. “The first time was at Robert’s house, and we just realized that we harmonize pretty well together.”
And that was that until Hayden Taylor went to the State FFA Convention last year, and he watched contestants compete in the state talent contest.
“I realized that I really wanted to do that so I came back and asked Robert what he thought. We really just started singing together this past December,” he explained, leaving me shaking my head (at least mentally) and smiling as I thought about how I am such an “over preparer!” The first contest was in December, and the boys began practicing in December?
As it turned out, the timeline on when the duo began practicing really has no bearing on our story because when it was all over, they brought home the gold to CHS!
“We performed In My Arms Instead and Texas Rain, both from the Texas music genre,” Robert told me. “From the district contest, the top two places advance on to compete in the area contest,” he explained further.
And then, the boys changed things up a bit for the area contest, and apparently it worked because once again, they were in the gold and qualified to compete on the state level!
“The trick really is song choice. It’s very good to perform songs that the audience knows and can even sing along with so we are really thinking about what we will sing,” both confided.
Of course, they do have some time to think about it since the contest will not be held until the end of July.
“This is really new to us; our biggest goal was to get to state. Now we are there, and we are looking beyond state. We are trying to go as far as we can to really make something of this,” their words tumbled out, obviously realizing that they have earned themselves a wonderful opportunity as they (almost) dare to dream of competing in the national competition in Indianapolis.
Of course, the road to Indianapolis leads through nineteen other very talented contestants, all of whom will be performing their hearts out at the Texas State Contest. So how are their nerves holding up?
“The district crowd was held in a small area about like the commons and that was nerve wracking…”
“We were nervous because only about 210 people were there, and a small crowd is harder for us, but state won’t be so bad because the crowd is large, and we won’t have the connection with them like we did at district…”
“Plus, they dim the lights, and we won’t even be able to see the crowd so that helps,” they both explained, tripping over each other’s words in the process.
Apparently, the expected crowd of about 10,000 doesn’t bother Brooks and Taylor at all!
“But if we had to play for this school, we’d be terrified,” they both laughed.
Obviously, the boys understand that as they move up the competition ladder, the competition gets tougher and tougher, and they are plotting ways to make sure that they are on the top rung by the end of July.
“Stage presence, song choice, and talent, as well as how the crowd reacts to us is huge. We can’t be boring to them.”
“We plan on winning it all,” Hayden said. “I don’t have any plans besides that.”
Robert’s answer was a little different. For me, we are just going to keep playing. I love this stuff!”
Both young men will be attending Tarleton State University in the fall so it will be easy for them to keep practicing, which is very, very important since they plan on competing for the national title in Indianapolis in November!
And if you have not had a chance to listen to these guys in person, you will be able to do just that at this year’s graduation exercises. They are not sure just what they will be performing, just that they will, and that is enough for the duo, who seems to love doing just that.
At TU, every single digit we have is crossed as we wish these two talented young me a HUGE congratulations and GOOD LUCK!