Grace Church music series benefits car crash victim in his recovery

TALL ORDER—Jeremy Taylor of La Habra, who has been wheelchair-bound since a 2010 automobile accident left him with severe injuries, stands with assistance from dad Shawn Taylor during a concert in his benefit. The Performing Arts Ministry of Grace Lutheran Church presents a monthly midday music concert, free to the public. Donations go toward the musicians’ choice of charities. Photo by Gary Kohatsu


More than $13,000 raised from Jan. 10 opera concert

By Gary Luster


Grace Lutheran Church in Culver City recently helped a young man severely injured in an auto accident get closer to his goal of making a full recovery.

On July 11, 2010, Jeremy Taylor of La Habra was involved in an accident causing his pickup truck to roll over in the desert near Barstow. As a result, he suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him wheelchair bound with a loss of the fine motor skills that many take for granted.

In order to give himself a chance to function normally in society, Taylor has been undergoing intense and expensive therapy costing between $1,500 and $3,000 per month, that is not fully covered by his health insurance.

However, Jeremy was fortunate to have Mary Lou Basaraba and his dad Shawn Taylor, among others, working to help him recover.

Basaraba, director of music ministries at Grace Lutheran Church, started the free monthly Grace Midday Music Series, which features lunchtime performances at the church by various musicians.

Basaraba and Shawn already knew each other because of their collaborations in both the California Philharmonic Orchestra and the Golden State Pops Orchestra. Shawn Taylor is a prominent opera tenor and music teacher.

Because Basaraba and Shawn were friends, she felt comfortable in asking him to sing as part of the concert series.

The Jan. 10 music series featured a short, dynamic opera by tenor Shawn Taylor, and sopranos Coril Prochnow and Samantha Aiko Kim. Guests musicians can select a charity to receive donations collected at the free monthly concerts, Basaraba said.

“It was very uplifting and helpful to see people wanting to donate to his recovery,” said Shawn Taylor.

Currently, more than $13,000 has been raised by donations from the benefit concert. An additional $11,000 has also been raised through a GoFundMe page called “Pray for Jeremy.”

Shawn said all money raised will go toward Jeremy’s rehab and toward remodeling Jeremy’s bathroom to make it more handicap accessible.

Despite the accident that left him with slurred speech, very few motor skills, and the inability to stand for more than a few seconds at a time, Shawn said Jeremy remains optimistic on life.

“He’s always been a very positive person,” Shawn said. “He was a positive person beforehand and he remained that way fortunately because that doesn’t always happen. We kind of lucked out with his persona still being very positive.”

While Jeremy’s recovery will likely be a lifelong undertaking, Shawn is optimistic that Jeremy, who was a skilled drummer before the accident, will eventually regain his motor skills and return to his previous success as a drummer.

“That’s our dream,” Shawn said. “That’s what we hope for.”

To donate to the Pray for Jeremy fund, please visit the GoFundMe page at