The Lancer

The Lancer

The Lancer

TOHS Theatre Flies Among the Stars
TOHS Theatre Flies Among the Stars
Gemma Spraggins, Assistant News Editor • November 21, 2023

With opening night of “Peter and the Starcatcher” on Thursday, November 16th, and closing night on Saturday, November 18th, the cast has...

Boston Journalism Convention goes in all the ‘write’ ways
Boston Journalism Convention goes in all the ‘write’ ways
Aandrea Pineda-Dominguez, News Editor • November 6, 2023

With a stinging chill in the air, professional writers and aspiring journalists gathered in Boston, MA for the annual JEA/NSPA Fall National...

Should schools have a block schedule?
Maximus Cover and Christian-Isaiah Aguilar November 3, 2023

Fall Sports Round-Up
November 3, 2023

No red flags for Girls Flag Football
No red flags for Girls Flag Football
Lilah Swaving and Riley Brown October 28, 2023

Former Thousand Oaks High School varsity head football coach Mike Leibin took on a new yet somewhat familiar challenge: TO girls flag football...

Lancers tie for Canyon League title
Lancers tie for Canyon League title
Jackson Kurtz, The Lancer Staff • October 28, 2023

Q&A THE LANCER: What challenges did you have to overcome in your first season?” MCENROE: “Every job is unique and there’s no such...

Lakers Preview: Title No. 18?
Lakers Preview: Title No. 18?
Jake Bradley, Sports Editor • October 28, 2023

With LeBron James entering his 21st season in the NBA, he only has his eyes on winning his fifth championship and, for the Lakers, their...

Rhiannon Hendershot, The Lancer Staff • October 28, 2023

Reign of Terror 275 N Moorpark Rd East, Thousand Oaks, Sept. 29-Nov. 4, 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Walk through various bone-chilling rooms and exhibits...

Preserving the human aspect in the age of AI
Preserving the human aspect in the age of AI
Joseph Goodnight, Opinion Editor • October 28, 2023

With the ever-changing scope of technology, we as a generation constantly have to accept new ways in which artificial intelligence is integrating...

Día de los Muertos Dance strives for increased inclusivity
Día de los Muertos Dance strives for increased inclusivity
Kimberly Jerez, The Lancer Staff • October 28, 2023

The Latino Connection Club at Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Westlake High have come together to host their annual Día de los Muertos dance,...

Momo Sonoda, Editor-In-Chief • October 28, 2023

Unanimous GOP vote elects Rep. Mike Johnson for House Speaker More than three weeks after the historical outsting of the Speaker of the House,...

Cheers, Starbucks: a new staple in TO
Cheers, Starbucks: a new staple in TO
Kailah Spencer, The Lancer Staff • October 28, 2023

“Can I get a Lancer Frappuccino?” was something Starbucks manager Miguel Medina heard a lot of following the opening of the new store...

TO welcomes college visitors
Alyssa Kiszczak, Managing Editor • October 28, 2023

Throughout the year, TO provides students with college visits from many schools across the nation. They usually consist of an informational briefing...

Orchestra starting the year off on a good note
Orchestra starting the year off on a good note
Aandrea Pineda-Dominguez, News Editor • October 28, 2023

The instruments are finely tuning, patience is running out, and the maestro is preparing to orchestrate another musical masterpiece. Thousand...

Science Rooms gets a Facelift
Gemma Spraggins, Assistant News Editor • October 28, 2023

On the first day of the school year, TO forensics teacher Michael Flores watched his class experience science in a whole new way. As...

Quarterback Plays all the Right Notes

Senior Quarterback, Jackson Taylor, shares insight on his musical journey.
Tyler Lappin
Tyler Lappin

Jackson Taylor has spent years, months, minutes, seconds preparing for the concert of a lifetime.
All of his classmates are hanging out in a small room, practicing and chit-chatting their nerves away, waiting for the ominous curtain call. The tension and stress are both so heavy he can feel it weighing him down.
Taylor should be especially jittery and overtaken by nerves but he is not; he’s doing what he does best – practicing.
Unexpectedly, the group begins to sing and play along to a fun song he knows all too well, Riptide by Vance Joy, and he can’t help but be overtaken and jump right in, too. It’s moments like these that make Taylor, Thousand Oaks High School’s very own starting varsity quarterback, fall into rhythm with the world of music.
For many who know the name Jackson Taylor, seeing him at the center of an ensemble is quite an unusual sight for the football player. Normally you can see him out on the field leading the offense. What many don’t know is the Jackson Taylor after the tiresome game days and practices. The Jackson Taylor who takes on the responsibility of first violin in orchestra.
Taylor has played the violin with almost five years’ worth of skill and passion. Though, like most punk sixth-graders, Jackson’s starry eyes were first on the rebellious drums. It wasn’t long until his booming dreams were shortly silenced when his school’s drum elective was full. It was then he figured he’d give the violin a try and ended up falling into a rabbit hole of fascination and joy.
Now in his sophomore year, he’s a core part of the Thousand Oaks Orchestra Camerata as a first violinist, preparing for the Fall concert.
“I get nervous the same as when you get [nervous] in football,” he said. “Those butterflies. If you don’t get those nerves it’s almost like you don’t respect the moment.”
With a football in one hand and a violin in the other, he’s found, from a young age, that his two passions are not as different as they appear.
In both, he said, it’s all about doing your “one-eleventh.” As he explains, you have to do your part as one of the eleven on the football field and trust that everyone else is also doing their part. Whether in a team practice or a group recital, both require support, adjustment and that team aspect.
“Knowing how to work with people and balance your skills off other people’s skills,” Taylor said, is important in both worlds.
On the football field, he is known for his dead-on throws, quick footwork, good patience, and consistent releases. He has received many honors and awards, including the Scholar Athlete award, Oaks Christian High School’s JV Offensive MVP and the All-Marmonte League award in January 08, 2023.
With Taylor as an addition to the team this year, Thousand Oaks has won at least a share of the Canyon League with a 5-1 record, finishing the season at 7-3. This year through nine games, Taylor had unofficially thrown for 1,273 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Lancers head coach Ben McEnroe said it is no surprise that Jackson pursues his passion for the violin at such a high level, given his dedication and performance out on the field. What impresses him the most is Taylor’s ability to turn his whole game and attitude around when it seems to be in the dumps.
“He doesn’t seem to get ruffled,” McEnroe said.
Taylor is constantly facing obstacles out on the field that challenge his instincts, especially as he strives to become a stronger pocket passer.
“It’s not natural to stand in there with guys running at you as fast as they can, trying to tackle you. So human instinct a lot of times is to try to escape from that. And he’s really shown some growth this year,” McEnroe said.
But when the pocket eventually becomes unbearable, the orchestra is where Taylor finds his safe zone.
“Football is my thing and the violin is a great thing I enjoy to get away from it,” Taylor said.
Sometimes finding the motivation to play both can get difficult, but for Taylor, his motivation lies at the heart of his home: his grandmother.
Since a young age, Taylor has idolized the image of his grandmother being able to pick up an instrument and play it fluently at family gatherings. Back then, he was too young to play an instrument but sang along with his grandmother. He strives for that very same campfire feeling.
Instruments in general play a core part in his life. When the working gets tough, at home he often finds himself picking up his guitar or taking out his keyboard to experiment and relax with music.
In the future he envisions himself using the violin to pass the time and create fun experiences at gatherings.
“I want to think about it as something that I have, another tool in the toolbox,” Taylor said.
For the time being, Taylor practices rigorously and partakes in the school orchestra hoping to follow his grandmother’s lead, planning to play for as long as possible.
And with the football playoffs speedily approaching, Taylor, as varsity captain, is the one looking to lead his teammates out onto the football field for yet another outstanding performance.

Story continues below advertisement
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Tyler Lappin, Photos Editor