Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Who Was Arthur F. Church?

Posted by glennled on February 5, 2019

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A bugler’s headstone among the 5,000 graves in Evergreen-Washelli’s Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Seattle, including seven Medal of Honor recipients

 

For seven years (2011-17), I always stood in one spot to sound “Taps” at the annual Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony, held each December at Evergreen-Washelli’s Veterans Cemetery in north Seattle. That one spot is among about 5,000 veterans’ graves. It’s right next to one gravestone that had become quite special to me. I had developed a fond image of the man buried there. But this year, the ceremony was moved farther west within the cemetery (please see my blog post of 15 January 2019). I missed my old spot near my departed comrade from “Auld Lang Syne” (old times gone by). I knew his name but not his story.

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WWI U.S. Army recruitment poster for the horse cavalry

I first sounded “Taps” at the WAA ceremony on 10 December 2011. Prior to the ceremony, as the Honor Guard (rifle team) of VFW Post 1040 lined up along the sidewalk leading uphill to the Chimes Tower, I searched nearby among the hundreds of gravestones for a spot to stand. It’s important to be close to them but not so close that the ejected shell casings might hit you. Also, you want to be visible by the ceremony’s participants and audience.

I made my choice, positioned myself there, and waited for my cue. During the ceremony, I started to read the round-top gravestones nearby. To my left, I saw this inscription: “Arthur F. Church, Idaho, Bugler…”

Imagine that—how rare, how unusual! In my life, I’ve learned to pay close attention to such coincidences. Immediately, I was curious. Churchwas he a Christian believer? Idahosince 1851, when the first settlers built cabins on Alki Point, hundreds of thousands of people, including me, have moved to Seattle from everywhere. Born 28 October 1889America entered WWI in April 1917, when he was 27. Died 10 January 1945only four months afterwards came WWII’s Victory-in-Europe (V-E) Day. He was only 55 when he died. Had he been wounded in the war? Buglers were special targets; kill a bugler, and you disrupt your enemy’s communications. And there I was, 66 years later at age 71, standing near his marker, near his grave, near his remains, waiting to sound “Taps” at a ceremony meant to honor all those like him, who served.

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Glenn Ledbetter sounds “Taps” near headstone of Arthur F. Church, Bugler, in Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen Washelli, 2012

So, every time I’ve played “Taps” at any subsequent military ceremony near the Chimes Tower, that’s where I’ve always stood—next to Arthur. And lately, I’ve begun to ponder—Who was Arthur F. Church, Idaho, Bugler, 109th Infantry, 28th Division?

After much searching on the internet, I learned a lot about him. I read about the regiment and the division, his active duty in the military, his family including two brothers, one sister, and six half-siblings, his two wives but no children, his work, his troubles with narcotics and the law, his early death, and more. Let me focus on bugling because that’s what we have in common.

I had imagined that he might have been a career musician, perhaps even playing cornet in a military band. But it appears that Arthur was drafted into the Army toward the end of WWI and served only one year. He enlisted on 24 May 1918, and was discharged on 20 May 1919. The Armistice (cease fire agreement) that ended WWI was signed on 11 November 1918. He already was a married man. He had married Florence Strike in Wallace, Idaho on 2 April 1917. Did he play a brass instrument before entering the service? I don’t know. In any case, the Army made him a bugler, and apparently, that’s all the bugling he ever did.

Census records in 1920 and 1930 indicate that after the war, he lived as a lodger in Seattle and worked as a miner and a hook tender in the regrading industry. Other public records describe him thus at age 34: height 5’6″, weight 144 lbs, dark brown hair, brown eyes, medium build, ruddy complexion, with gold-crowned, upper left molar teeth and scars on the back of his head, right hand, and right thigh. Arthur seems to have had a “hard-knock life,” as the song goes in the musical, Annie.

Did he serve in Europe? Was he ever in combat? Did he ever sound bugle calls in battle—“To Arms, Charge, Retreat, Commence Firing, Cease Firing,” and more?  Or did he, like me, sound only those used in the daily routine and at ceremonies—“Reveille, Mess, Sick, School, Church, Assembly, Drill, Dress Parade, To the Color, Officers’ Call, Adjutants’ Call, Tattoo, Taps, Funeral March,” and more? Either way, it was important. As the soldiers said, “How else would we all know when to wake up and go to chow?”

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Bugle that sounded end of WWI, courtesy of National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.

There is a book that covers all the calls that every 1918 U.S. military bugler had to know. It’s by V.F. Safranek and was published in 1918 in New York by Carl Fischer, 158 pages. It’s entitled, Complete Instructive Manual for Bugle, Trumpet and Drum. Now we know what Arthur F. Church, Bugler, knew.

In addition, I own two other excellent bugle call books:

  • 67 Bugle Calls As Practiced in the Army and Navy of the United States, New Edition published by Carl Fischer in 1998. It is based upon John Philip Sousa’s A Book of Instruction for the Field Trumpet [Bugle] and Drum, also published by Carl Fischer in 1886.
  • Infantry Bugle Calls of the American Civil War, authored by George Rabbai and published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc. in 1998. Forty-nine bugle calls are included, as well as narration, spoken commands, and anecdotes and stories from the accounts of infantry soldiers.
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American WWI buglers, including Leo Foster (right)

Arthur’s father is buried in Port Townsend, WA. His mother, older brother, and at least three of his half-siblings are buried at Evergreen-Washelli.

On 4 September 1945, Evergreen-Washelli applied for a military, upright marble headstone for Arthur. It was approved, shipped, and installed amongst his fellow veterans, as shown in the accompanying photos. Why does the inscription reference the state of Idaho? It might just be a clerical error because his Company D, 109th Regiment, 28th Division was neither created nor stationed in Idaho. They’re out of Pennsylvania. Neither was Arthur born in Idaho; he was born in South Dakota. But perhaps it was simply because Arthur probably was living with his bride in Idaho when he was drafted.

The next time I sound “Taps” near the Chimes Tower in Veterans Memorial Cemetery, I’ll again stand next to Arthur F. Church, whose gravestone bears the cross above his name.

Let me express my gratitude to Mary Ann Fuller, my primary information source, and to Karen Sipe for additional information presented in this article. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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My 45th Student Is Only 70 Years Old

Posted by glennled on February 2, 2019

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Olds Ambassador cornet in its original case with 1962 Indiana state trumpet competition medal pinned inside the lid (left)

Why does the above headline read, “only 70 years old”? Well, because my student #26 was an 81-year old retired engineer (see my blog post of 18 February 2016), and my student #38 was a 76-year old retired Army veteran (see my blog post of 17 November 2017). The 81-year old played a Kanstul cornet, and the veteran played a Getzen bugle. My new student (#45) plays an Olds Ambassador cornet, and as you may remember, I still play a Super Olds cornet given to me by my parents when I entered high school in 1954.

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Olds Ambassador cornet, c. 1961

On 27 December 2018, I had my first private lesson with Victor Snyder at his home in the Bryant neighborhood in Seattle, east of the University of Washington. In fact, in 2015, he retired from UW, where after 20 years of employment, he was the Associate Director, Career Counseling Center [now, Career and Internship Center]. Now that he’s retired, he wants to play cornet again.

The first time Vic played his cornet was when he was a 7th and 8th grade student at St. Pius Catholic School in Tell City, Indiana. In 1962, while in the 8th grade, he won a state solo competition, was graded “superior,” and was awarded a medal by the Indiana School Music Association. He performed “The Pals” polka by George D. Barnard (see photo). The next year, as a freshman, he started taking band at Tell City High School but then dropped it. Nevertheless, his mother saved his cornet and his music, thinking that since he was talented, he might someday take it up again. I’m sure that would make her happy and proud again.

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“The Pals” polka by George D. Barnard can be played as either a solo or duet with piano accompaniment

After high school, Vic earned a Bachelors degree at Kent State University in Ohio, served a tour in the U.S. Navy including being stationed on Whidbey Island in Washington, and then earned a Masters degree at the University of Washington in 1976.  The next time he played his cornet was in 1989, twenty-seven years after winning that medal. He took private lessons for about half a year. The tutor assigned him only exercises in Arbans Complete Conservatory Method: Trumpet, but he wanted to play songs, too. As everyone knows, Arbans is a wonderful instruction book and even contains many old songs, but it is designed for advanced students, not beginners or re-starters. He became bored and frustrated and stopped the lessons.

Now, Vic is taking up the horn once again, simply for his own pleasure. Eventually, he might join a combo with a friend and/or play with a community band and such—or not. He’s really doing this to please himself. He found me through http://www.takelessons.com. His weekly lessons are one-hour long, and he often practices twice a day. He’s working his way through two exercise books that are more appropriate for his current performance level:

  • Rubank Elementary Level, Cornet or Trumpet by A. F. Robinson.
  • Progressive Beginner Trumpet by Peter Gelling.

The skills are coming back, but in addition, Vic is learning much more than he ever did. He knows that I host an annual recital in my home in late May or early June. Perhaps by then, he will be able to play “The Pals” again, but if he wants to play something else, we’ll find the right thing. I’m betting that his mom, who passed away in 2005, would be proud to hear him once more—after all, he’s only 70 and has many more miles yet to go.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Christmas, 2018, at Two Homes in Edmonds

Posted by glennled on January 26, 2019

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“Oh, Holy Night,” Glenn Ledbetter and Nancy MacDonald

This Christmas Eve was much like all the many others in our home—we have our traditions: a fabulous meal; a program of prayer, readings, musical solos, Christmas carols; the opening of presents; and a “midnight” snack featuring familiar family fare. As usual, our local daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter shared it all with us. Normally, our grandson, Isaiah, would be present, also. This year, however, he is in South America! So we “made do” without his cheerful energy and wit. My wife and I played “Oh, Holy Night,” me on my Jupiter pocket trumpet and she on her Kawai piano. Our middle-school-aged granddaughter, our violist, played numerous songs from her school repertoire.

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Granddaughter solos on her viola

Another tradition is that on Christmas morning, our relatives, the Kellys, drive over to our side of town for a visit—coffee or tea or apple cider and cookies. But this year, instead, we visited them at their condominium in downtown Edmonds. There, I played “Auld Lang Syne” on my Jupiter pocket trumpet, and we ate some of my wife’s wonderful oatmeal muffins as we talked and caught up on family news.

What could be better? Not much. But it would be nice to have all 9 grandkids and their parents show up at our home some Christmas Eve, wouldn’t it? It has not yet happened (hint, hint).

Please click on the photos (above, right) to enlarge them, and click on the video below to hear the first half of “Auld Lang Syne.”

 

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My Trumpet Student Shines at the Mid-Winter Orchestra Concert, Garfield High School, Seattle

Posted by glennled on January 18, 2019

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Concert Orchestra, Bryan Kolk, Conductor, Garfield High School, Seattle, 20 December 2018

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Aidan Grambihler, Principal Trumpet, Concert Orchestra, Garfield High School, 2018-19

 

On 20 Dec 2018, all the orchestras at Garfield High School gathered with the choirs and bands to present their Mid-Winter Concert to a packed audience in Quincy Jones Performing Arts Center in Seattle. The principal trumpet in the Concert Orchestra is my student. He’s been taking lessons with me almost three years, starting in his last year at Washington Middle School (see my blog posts of 13 April and 25 July 2016). For several years, it’s been his ambition to play in the GHS orchestras. He’s made it, and I’m proud of him!

Here is a photo gallery of the GHS Concert Orchestra, followed by some others on the program. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

 

GHS Concert Orchestra

 

Other Orchestras, Band, Choir, Soloist, and Ensembles

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“Taps” at 9th Annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle

Posted by glennled on January 15, 2019

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ET1 Kyle Rushing (saluting) dedicates the Navy’s ceremonial wreath at Evergreen-Washelli’s Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Seattle

 

About 200 people gathered on 15 December 2018, at Veterans Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, in north Seattle at the 9th local Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony to remember our fallen military personnel who are buried there. The annual, half-hour img_2457event was emceed by Lorraine Zimmermann of the Veterans Memorial Wreath Foundation (VMWF). The guest speaker was Doyle Burke, retired Washington State Guard Command Sergeant. Then 7 wreaths were dedicated by representatives of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and POW/MIA.

Using my favorite Getzen bugle, I sounded “Taps” immediately after the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood fired the rifle salute. It was my seventh such performance. The ceremony concluded with the Parade of Wreaths. Finally, those in attendance placed wreaths on many of the gravestones of those servicemen and women who are buried there. The event’s message was “We collectively thank our military and their families for our freedom!”

For more detailed information on WAA, please use the Archives (see left column) to find my posts about previous local WAA ceremonies:

  • 9 January 2013
  • 16 December 2013
  • 28 April 2015
  • 5 February 2016
  • 30 December 2016
  • 29 December 2017

Mark your calendars for plans to attend the 10th annual ceremony on 14 December 2019. Volunteers and donors may contact Lorraine Zimmermann at https://www.facebook.com/Veterans-Memorial-Wreath-Foundation-362631617642740/.  Following is a photo gallery of scenes at this year’s ceremony. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

By Gayle Caya, Courtesy of VMWF

 

By Tonya Christoffersen, Courtesy of VMWF

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“Things Remembered” Trumpet Show for Aegis of Lynnwood Retirement Community

Posted by glennled on December 29, 2018

Happy Hour 1 (6) - by Brenda, 12-14-'18

For my final trumpet show in 2018, I performed “Things Remembered” at the Aegis of Lynnwood Retirement Community on 14 December for an audience of about 25. In the past year, I’ve presented either this 1-hour show or another, “Showtune Favorites,” at 8 different retirement communities in Lynnwood, Bothell, Redmond, and Mercer Island. I want to do more in 2019—it’s wholesome and fun! And I have prepared a third, entirely new show, “In Retrospect,” for return appearances at retirement communities where I’ve already performed.

“Things Remembered” is my Christmas show. It consists of a dozen Christmas songs, mixed with a dozen hit songs from musicals and movies that are well-known favorites among the residents of all retirement communities—songs like “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz,” (1939), sung by Judy Garland, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), also sung by Judy Garland. The residents sing-along and chuckle at a few of my jokes, too.

I play one cornet and two trumpets, sometimes with a Harmon mute, and use four mouthpieces. One mouthpiece, the Wick 4, makes the cornet sound like a flugelhorn, so in effect, I play four horns during the show.

Aegis of Lynnwood

Aegis operates 31 facilities in Washington (16), California (14), and Nevada (1), according to the website, http://www.aegisliving.com. In Washington, all 16 retirement communities are in the Greater Seattle area. Six more new ones are planned to open through 2021. Aegis Living ranks in the coveted list of Top 50 Best Places to Work in America in 2017, amid 600,000 companies on the employee review site, http://www.Glassdoor.com.

At Aegis of Lynnwood, where I presented my trumpet show, residents are provided the following services: memory care, assisted living, and short-term care. Check them out at  https://www.aegisliving.com/aegis-living-of-lynnwood/. And more than that, see their 25-photo gallery: https://www.aegisliving.com/aegis-living-of-lynnwood/gallery. Three different floor plans (650 s.f.) are available. For assisted living, there are both 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom floor plans. The other plan, named “Life’s Neighborhood,” also has two bedrooms. Please find these plans at https://www.aegisliving.com/aegis-living-of-lynnwood/accommodations/.

Photos are courtesy of Aegis of Lynnwood. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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First Christmas Concert—Elementary Band Performs at Skyview Middle School, Bothell

Posted by glennled on December 26, 2018

 

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Dan Carlson, SMS Band Director, conducts “Good King Wenceslas”

 

The 2018-19 Skyview Elementary (5th Grade) Band performed its first concert at Skyview Middle School (SMS) on 12 December with more than 100 family and friends in attendance at 8 o’clock in the morning. Dan Carlson, Director, is in his first year at SMS. Jane Lin is the instructor for percussion, Tyler Rogers teaches woodwinds, and I teach brass for the eighth year.

The full band performed three pieces from its instruction book, Standard of Excellence: Comprehensive Band Method, Book 1 by Bruce Pearson. They were “Good King Wenceslas,” “Jolly Old St. Nicholas,” and “Jingle Bells.” In addition, each instrument section got to perform individually its own chosen selection. First, the percussion section played “Hot Cross Buns,” followed by the woodwinds (“Merrily We Roll Along”), and concluding with the brass (“Lightly Row”).

The next day after this concert, the band met in the SMS cafeteria for a pot-luck party to complete its fall schedule.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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My 44th Trumpet Student Came and Went

Posted by glennled on December 25, 2018

dc8Mgnjgi[1]My first weekly trumpet lesson with my 44th trumpet student was on 4 December. Two weeks later, he dropped. But no worries—all is not lost. He’s also taking piano lessons (and has for the past two years), but taking lessons on both instruments is just more than he and his family want to handle at his young age (10). Besides, his sister is taking piano and guitar, too, so there’s a lot of music being played in their home.

He’s a 4th grader at Wedgewood Elementary School in Seattle. At our first lesson, I asked him what attracted him to trumpet. “It’s size and weight,” he answered. He walks to and from school daily, and he simply did not want to carry something like a cello. When we started, he already had Bruce Pearson’s Standard of Excellence, Book 1, Trumpet, so we began with that, learning how to make notes on a brass instrument. During our last lesson, I gave him the music for the first four bars of “Happy Birthday,” which he managed quite well.

We parted amicably, and I encouraged him and his mother, saying that he can still become a good trumpet player if he wants to take band in the 5th grade. In my experience, it’s very rare that a fourth-grade trumpeter will stay with private lessons. They burn out. They simply need to grow and develop just one more year, and then most of them will make it. There are many good reasons why almost all elementary schools start band classes in the fifth grade. The kids are bigger and stronger, their hands have grown, and they have more maturity, discipline, and motivation. My 44th student pleasantly accepted this, and indeed, he may join band class next year. He certainly has had a good head start. Good luck, warm regards, so long for now, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

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“Things Remembered”—My 1-Hour Trumpet Show on the First Day of Advent at Overlake Terrace Retirement Community in Redmond

Posted by glennled on December 23, 2018

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My Christmas trumpet show is called “Things Remembered” because, by using some old favorite songs, I walk the audience through the common pattern of life that we all share—living single, falling in love, getting married, raising a family, celebrating Christmas year after year, laughing at jokes, overcoming adversity, facing retirement, and celebrating the fantastic blessings of life in America during our wonderful time in human history. On 1 December, the first day of Advent this year, I performed this show for an audience of 25-30 residents and staff at Overlake Terrace Retirement Community in Redmond.2017-assisted-living-award-sm

20181201_132322The show consists of 24 songs, half from musicals and movies and half about Christmas. All are favorites of the age group living today in retirement communities. They sing along as I play. And as they listen to me play and talk, they recall where they were and what was happening when they first heard and learned those songs—“Things Remembered.”

2018-assisted-living-awardFor variety and fun, as appropriate for each song, I play three instruments (two trumpets and one cornet) and use four mouthpieces and one mute. One mouthpiece makes my Super Olds cornet sound like a flugelhorn, so in effect, it’s like playing four different instruments for them.

Overlake Terrace provides independent, assisted living, memory care, and respite services. For more information, here is the link to the website:  https://www.stellarliving.com/overlake-terrace/. And for a tour of the interior of the facilities, please see the photo gallery here: https://www.stellarliving.com/overlake-terrace/photo-tour/. The 14 photos show the main lobby entrance, café, and dining room; model bedroom and living room; family rooms, library, exercise room, activity room, and movie theater.

Overlake Terrace is part of Stellar Senior Living, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The group consists of 8 retirement communities, including two in Washington (Redmond and Kent), two in Utah, two in Idaho, and one each in Colorado and Arizona.

The photos below are courtesy of Overlake Terrace. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” Concludes Veterans Day Ceremonies at St. Matthew Catholic School in Seattle and Cottage Lake Elementary School in Woodinville

Posted by glennled on December 18, 2018

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Veterans Day ceremony, Cottage Lake Elementary School, Woodinville, with Kelsey Brady on piano, 11-09-2018

 

Some schools take Veterans Day very seriously and conduct superb ceremonies for the students and their guests. On 9 November, I sounded “Taps” at two such schools—St. Matthew Catholic School in Seattle in the morning and Cottage Lake Elementary School in the afternoon. Each ceremony was different, and both were outstanding. The chief organizer at St. Matthew was Kara Herber, 4th grade teacher, and at Cottage Lake, Kelsey Brady, music teacher. Ms. Herber found me through Bugles Across America (please see http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org/). Brig. Gen. Raymond W. Coffey, USAVR, referred Ms. Brady to me.

Ensign Shirkydra Roberts, U.S. Navy, was the principal speaker at St. Matthew. Please see her IAME website, https://impactaspiremotivate.com/. IAME stands for “Impact, Aspire, Motivate Enterprises.” General Coffey commands the 10th Region of the U.S. Volunteer-Joint Services Command, a ceremonial unit that conducts military honors at various events in the region. Please see my blog posts of 11 July and 17 December 2018, and 19 June 2014.

I closed each ceremony with the sounding of “Taps” on my wonderful Getzen bugle (see my blog post of 4 May 2015 ). Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

St. Matthew Catholic School

Cottage Lake Elementary School

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