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Hundreds of south suburban Harvey residents were recently treated to a mini-concert by R&B singing group Day 26 after the town’s mayor honored the group with its own day and renamed one of the city’s streets after a member of the group.

Hundreds of south suburban Harvey residents were recently treated to a mini-concert by R&B singing group Day 26 after the town’s mayor honored the group with its own day and renamed one of the city’s streets after a member of the group.                

Droves of fans and neighbors of Willie Taylor III crowded the 15300 block of Broadway Avenue, where Harvey’s municipal building sits, during the town’s annual Fourth of July parade, as Mayor Eric Kellogg honored Taylor and fellow Day 26 group members.

Taylor was one of five men selected from thousands during MTV’s "Making the Band 4" reality series for a spot in the all-male singing group. The show was the brainchild of Bad Boy Entertainment’s Sean "Diddy" Combs.

Taylor was a former student of Kellogg’s when the mayor was a dean at Rosa Parks Middle School. He remembers the singing and dancing star as a humble boy, someone who always helped others and who never gave up on his own dream.

"He was an outstanding student. It’s not everyday that a young man from our community goes away and does tremendous things and are willing to come back and serve as role models," Kellogg said of Taylor before presenting him and group members Brian Andrews, Robert Curry and Mike McCluney with a street sign, "City of Harvey Day 26 Ave," recognizing July 4 as "Day 26 Day."

Qwanell Moseley, another group member, was ill and could not attend the event.

Another street sign was presented to Taylor, who is known by family and close friends as "Lucky." The now-married father of one grew up in the 15000 block of Vail Avenue. The 14900 to 15000 stretch of Vail has been renamed "Willie Taylor Ave."

"It still hasn’t sunk in yet, with us getting our own day, and the mayor giving me my own street. That’s huge," Taylor told the Defender before being honored by the mayor as his family watched.

With Taylor’s success as a member of the newly-formed singing group, he doesn’t get a chance to come home as often as he likes, but when he does, he makes the most of it. He and group member Mike went to the Taste of Chicago.

While in the middle of a tour promoting their self-titled debut album and fresh from celebrating a BET Award nomination for Best New Group, Taylor said Day 26 is already working on their sophomore album and will include many songs written by group members.

"We are all writing and people will hear more of what Day 26 has to say. We are going to speak on a lot of matters," he said.

But in the meantime, fans won’t have to wait long to hear from the group. Another season of MTV’s "Making the Band 4" is right around the corner.

"Our third season is coming out. It debuts August 14. People like us, so they requested that we come back and do it again. The show follows us, Danity Kane, Donnie Klang and Cheri Dennis on tour," Taylor said. All are Bad Boy artists.

Taylor said his success is sweet and hard-earned.

"I always had the drive, and I never stopped. It was hard, but no matter what, I kept going. It was in my heart, and God saw my heart," he said.

Kathy Chaney can be reached via email at kchaney@chicagodefender.com.

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Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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