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Singing Praises for Priory: Taylor Streiff '08

Taylor StreiffLike most adolescents, Taylor Streiff dabbled in various activities in grade school. At Mary Queen of Peace grade school, he played baseball and was part of the parish children’s choir ands the Archdiocesan Children’s Choir. He enjoyed playing the piano, although he wasn’t as fond of piano lessons. Yet a common theme for his future was slowly developing: music.

Soon after Taylor arrived at Priory in seventh grade, his musical talents emerged more fully and were nurtured. He had found his path.

An admitted “student of music” from a young age, Taylor was drawn to the music program at Priory and was in two musical productions, “The Music Man,” and “Bye Bye Birdie” and although he had quit taking formal piano lessons, Taylor continued to play on his own every morning before carpool arrived for school.

Mark Marting, the music director at Priory, recognized my creative mindset and encouraged me,” Taylor says. “So many other Priory teachers also had an important influence on me, including Kate Tumminia, Hank Schake and Father Michael, who all let me know it’s OK to just be who I am and to think differently. I can’t thank Priory enough for that support.”

Taylor StreiffWhile many students focused on academics and athletics, Taylor says he didn’t try to hide his musical ability and interest. “I was heavily influenced by Priory alumnus Kevin Kline, who inspired me to continue down this artistic path. I hope I inspired others to step out, too. Priory gives you the opportunity to do it all and think outside the box. That was important to me as a left-brained student! I realized you don’t have to follow a formula. It’s all up to you and Priory is a key stepping stone.”

His favorite memory at Priory was when he played solo piano at his senior year concert. “I was big into Bruce Hornsby, a great songwriter and pianist, so I sang and played his song ‘The Way It Is.’ When I finished, I received a standing ovation. It was my first moment of real validation. I thought, ‘I’m a musician. I don’t know if I could do anything else.’”

Taylor also had the opportunity to sing “Ave Maria” a capella at the Abbey Church. “People came up afterward and told me my performance had moved them,” Taylor says. “I had finally stepped forward and was surprised and encouraged at the positive reaction.” 

He fondly remembers his classmates and their collective experiences. “The Class of 2008 had a great freshman football team. I only played one season but I remember our team beat MICDS for the first time in years. We were so tight-knit and proud after that.”

After Priory, Taylor attended Columbia College in Chicago where he played keyboard in a band and shared the stage with artists such as Ivan Neville, Kevin Eubanks, Paula Cole and Joan Osborne. He also finally met his musical hero, Bruce Hornsby. “He gave me great music industry advice and encouraged me to do my own thing,” Taylor says.

After graduating in 2013 with a degree in Contemporary, Urban and Popular Music, Taylor auditioned as a keyboard player for The Nick Moss Band, a Chicago-based blues band. He was intrigued by the band’s international touring. 

“I wanted to immerse myself in situations that made me a little uncomfortable,” Taylor says.

Nick Moss Band
The Nick Moss Band, L-R: Kate Moss, Nick Moss, Dennis Gruenling, Taylor Streiff, Patrick Seals, Michael Archer

Over the past five years, Taylor and the band have toured across the U.S., and internationally in Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Poland, Spain, Norway and the Netherlands. The Nick Moss Band also has played in St. Louis venues, including The Pageant and Old Rock House.

“After living in Chicago for 10 years and traveling around the world, I’ve faced adversity and experienced many cultures and influences,” he says. “Priory prepared me for the real world and, along with my parents, gave me the best moral foundation you could ask for. Priory taught me to be a good human and to continue to inspire others down the same path. I can’t express enough gratitude to what the monks and teachers there did for me.”

In addition to touring and teaching piano at the School of Rock in Chicago, Taylor is working on his own album based on Chicago Blues piano. “With my music, I take other influences such as Jerry Lee Lewis and add my own style while staying true to tradition. I do the same thing with my Priory experience. I respect the traditions and influences and take them with me as I step out of the box and move forward.”

In addition to Taylor's forthcoming solo album, The Nick Moss Band released its newest album, “The High Cost Of Low Living," in March.

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


Saint Louis Abbey

Saint Louis Priory School

500 South Mason Road
St. Louis, MO 63141
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