Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Snow-Delayed Holiday Season Concert Performed in January at Skyview in Bothell

Posted by glennled on January 8, 2017

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It snowed on 9 December, so Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell, WA cancelled all its classes. That killed that morning’s holiday season concert which was to be presented by students from nearby Fernwood, Crystal Springs, and Canyon Creek elementary schools. Belatedly, on Friday, 6 January 2017, under the direction of Charlie Fix, the two beginning bands (5th and 6th grades) played a mix of Christmas and other music for the audience of about 150 parents, relatives, and friends.

The 1st-year band performed “Good King Wenceslas,” “Jolly Old St. Nicolas” (a duet), and “Jingle Bells.” The 2nd-year band performed “Spirit of the Stallion” by Brian Balmages and “Glorioso” by Robert W. Smith. The “Stallion” piece is noted for its challenging 26 time-signature changes! Each band also featured performances by the separate instrument sections. For example, the 1st-year brass section played “Mary Ann,” and the 2nd-year brass played “Home on the Range.” I teach beginning brass, Candice Palmberg teaches flutes, Matt Simmons teaches woodwinds, and Jane Lin teaches percussion and also is the music teacher at Crystal Springs Elementary.

Please click on any photo below to enlarge it.

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150th-151st “Taps” on a Saturday at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 31, 2016

So, who’s counting? Buglers, that’s who. And yes, I am aware that some have sounded “Taps” thousands of times and that I evergreen-washelli-seattle-wa-0021-copynever will reach those numbers. For one thing, I don’t live near a national cemetery, and for another, it’s my age. But on Saturday, 17 December, I passed another of my own, personal, little milestones.

In freezing weather, at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Veterans Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli (E-W) in north Seattle at about 9:30 a.m., I sounded “Taps” for the 150th time while serving as bugler with the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard during the past five years. Then at noon, I did it again at the North Evergreen Court Mausoleum (also at E-W) for the entombment of Lois Kathryn Grasmick, the wife of an Army veteran.

In honor of those who have served, I had my new Getzen bugle engraved with this inscription: John 15:13.

Photos below by Tonya Christoffersen, courtesy of Navy Wives Club of America, Totem 277. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” at 7th Annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 30, 2016

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Wreaths Across America, Veterans Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle, 12-17-2016

When the 7th Annual Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony commenced on Saturday, 17 December 2016, at Veterans Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, in north Seattle, the temperature was 27 degrees (F). Members of the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard teased me (with a little too much glee) that the mouthpiece of my Getzen bugle would freeze to my lips when I sounded “Taps.” But I’m an old dog. That was Nev-va Gonna Hop-pen!

The local ceremony is hosted by the Navy Wives Club of America (NWCA), Totem 277 (Seattle to Burlington), and Lorraine Zimmerman again was the emcee. The ceremony is now held annually on the 3rd Saturday in December.

The guest speaker was Michael Schindler, Navy veteran and CEO of Operation Military Family Cares, a non-profit organization based in Edmonds, where he and his family live (see http://www.OMFCares.org). He spoke about each of the three elements of WAA’s mission:

  • REMEMBER our fallen U.S. veterans
  • HONOR those who serve
  • TEACH our children the value of freedom

Afterwards, I told him that his speech was worthy of being delivered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Here are a few excerpts.

“Fewer than 7% of Americans living today have worn the uniform—and less than 1% today are on the frontlines actively standing guard over our freedom. So it is our duty as parents, teachers, as leaders to help our youth understand the need for sacrifice…Imagine for a moment if we taught and required our youth to SERVE first…that “giving up” of time [to serve and honor] becomes an investment in others. And ultimately an investment in themselves. That is value [added to a person’s life]…Today it is our obligation to teach our children that freedom requires sacrifice…If you choose to wear the uniform, you will become one of American’s Greatest Assets—and your investment of time, sweat, tears, will result in a reward that is priceless—freedom.”

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Color Guard marches past Honor Guard

For more information about WAA, please see my past blog posts regarding this annual ceremony. Simply use the Archives in the left column of this blog or search for “Wreath” in the search box in the upper right column to find my posts of:

  • 5 February 2016
  • 28 April 2015
  • 9 January 2013
  • 16 December 2011

Photos are by Tonya Christoffersen, courtesy of NWCA, Totem 277. Please click on any photo below to enlarge it.

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My Trumpet Student Sounded “Echo Taps” with Me on 2016 Veterans Day Ceremony in Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 21, 2016

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Glenn Ledbetter and Aidan, “Echo Taps” buglers

Did you know that “Echo Taps” is not an official U.S. military bugle call and is not to be sounded at funeral and graveside ceremonies? But because people like it, it is often used at other ceremonies, as it was this year on 11 November at Veterans Park in Lynnwood. During my time as bugler for VFW Post 1040, we first used a trumpet student of mine to play the “echo” part on Memorial Day, 1 June 2013. Ever since, we have continued to use them on both Memorial Day in May and Veterans Day in November (except one when I was sick).

In all, so far, six of my students have sounded “Echo Taps” with me in seven such ceremonies—Josiah, Vaughan, Robert (twice), Sarah, Gavin, and Aidan. Aidan did so this past Veterans Day. He is an 8th grader at Washington Middle School in Seattle and started taking private trumpet lessons with me earlier this year (see my blog post of 13 April 2016).

If you’re curious about additional coverage of “Echo Taps” in this blog, please see my posts of:

  • 19 July 2011—echo by Roy Pollock, Medal of Honor ceremony
  • 2 July 2012—echo by Bob O’Neal, War of 1812 Bicentennial ceremony
  • 19 November 2012—echo by Richard Haydis, Veterans Day ceremony
  • 1 June 2013—echo by Josiah Chupik, Memorial Day ceremony
  • 19 June 2014—echo by Robert Zhou, Memorial Day ceremony
  • 15 April 2015—echo by Sarah Dunsmore, Veterans Day ceremony
  • 17 September 2015—echo by Robert Zhou, Memorial Day ceremony
  • 22 July 2016—echo by Gavin [name withheld], Memorial Day ceremony

Photo by Rick Grambihler.

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How I Discovered the Cascade Symphony Orchestra: the 2016 “Holiday Pops” Concert, Edmonds

Posted by glennled on December 15, 2016

 

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Cascade Symphony Orchestra at Edmonds Center for the Arts

My wife and I have lived in Edmonds for 13 years and had never heard of the Cascade Symphony Orchestra until this month. That says a lot more about us than about the CSO which was formed in 1962. But it’s never too late to discover another of the good things in life, is it? How did this one finally happen?

Well, I’d been thinking about taking her out on a date, and one evening I was talking with the outstanding principal horn player in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra. “What other orchestra do you play in?” I asked. “The Cascade Symphony Orchestra,” he replied, and that took me to the internet the next day. I found out that CSO was presenting its “Holiday Pops” concert in Edmonds on 11-12 December. My wife said yes, so I drove to the ticket office at the Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA), bought two tickets for Sunday night, peaked inside to see the dark auditorium, and picked up a booklet on the ECA to educate myself a little.

The Edmonds Center for the Arts, with its new 700-seat auditorium, held its Grand Opening on 6 Jan 2007 (see http://www.facebook.com/edmondscenterforthearts). Originally, in 1910, the building was the Edmonds High School. This is now ECA’s 10th Anniversary Season.

CSO is a non-professional orchestra, composed of accomplished musicians with careers in other fields who “perform purely for the joy of it.” The orchestra was formed in 1962, and led by Robert Anderson, the original conductor (see http://www.cascadesymphony.org). That was the year of the Seattle World’s Fair and opening of the Space Needle. It was also the year I graduated from the University of Washington, joined the Navy, and reported for duty at Officer’s Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. There was no freeway in Seattle then. The Seattle portion of I-5 opened in 1967, the year I returned to Seattle to teach Naval ROTC at the University of Washington for the final two years of my active duty.

Several musicians in the original orchestra were still members in 2011-12, the 50th-Anniversary season. The 2016 Holiday Pops program lists 86 musicians in CSO. Of those, 17 members have played in CSO for 30 years or more. And of those, five members (two violinists, two violists, and one cellist) have been members for 50 years or more! The trumpeters are George Steward, Principal; Rocklyn Meredith; and Delsin Thomas. Annual auditions are held in August; individual auditions are scheduled by appointment. At least four CSO members also play in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra: Lance Ellis (Principal, French Horn); Rob Rankin (Principal, Trumpet); Madison Bromel (Cello); and Heather Hoskins (Bass).

CSO’s 2016-17 concert season (September through May) consists of five symphony performances, all at ECA in Edmonds. The orchestra rehearses every Monday night during the concert season—it’s known as “Cascade night.” Maestro Michael Miropolsky (a Russian violinist) is the Music Director and current Conductor.

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Michael Miropolsky

As for the concert itself, the program included works by Johann Strauss, Peter Tchaikovsky, Leroy Anderson, Victor Herbert, and Robin Seletsky/Ed Marcus, as well as five “Holiday Sing-Along” songs led by the Maestro playing his violin. The orchestra is composed of accomplished musicians and is well-rehearsed. It was a good reminder of how widespread musical talent is shared among all societies, nationalities, and races throughout the world. To me, that has a divine purpose. No wonder music is called the “universal language.”

The piece arranged by Robin Seletsky and orchestrated by Ed Marcus is called “Chanukah [Hanukah] Klezmer Medley” was extraordinary. It features a Klezmer clarinet solo, expertly performed by Beverly Setzer, who made her clarinet talk like a person—amazing! Klezmer is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews that reflects the emotional vocal and dance music of Eastern Europe, especially Romania, and is most often played at Jewish weddings and celebrations.

The two Leroy Anderson pieces, “Sleigh Ride” and “Chicken Reel,” showcased the composer’s catchy tunes and playful orchestrations. We learned from the program that Anderson was a linguist who specialized in Scandanavian and German languages. He was Chief of the Scandinavian Desk of Military Intelligence at the Pentagon. But, like the CSO musicians, he pursued a second career simultaneously—in his case, with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He wrote “Sleigh Ride” in 1946. “Chicken Reel” is a dance tune written in 1910 by Joseph M. Daly which Anderson then orchestrated.

Learning more about Victor Herbert was also a treat for me. A composer, conductor, and cellist, he was Irish-born in 1859 and died in Connecticut in 1924. CSO concluded the concert with his march, “Auditorium Festival,” which premiered in 1901 in Chicago with Herbert conducting the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra on tour. It incorporates the familiar folk song melody, “Auld Lang Syne.” Among his many compositions are 43 operettas, including Naughty Marietta (1910), Sweethearts (1913), and his best-known Babes in Toyland (1903).

Oh, by the way, the date was a success. When we returned home, I got a kiss from my bride, and she accepted when I asked for another date. Perhaps I’ll suggest Monday, 9 January 2017 at 7:30 p.m. when CSO presents Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3 in Eb major, featuring Jeffrey Fair, soloist, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor (Pathetique). Maybe we’ll see you there.

Most of these photos can be enlarged simply by clicking on them.

 

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“All I Want for Christmas,” the 2016 Musical at Alderwood Community Church, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 10, 2016

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Curtain Call, “All I Want for Christmas”

More than 3,100 people, spread over six performances, came to see this year’s musical, “All I Want for Christmas,” at Alderwood Community Church (ACC) in Lynnwood. This is the 28th consecutive Christmas show produced by the church (see http://www.amcc.org). And it is the second straight year that the play was written by Lauri Evans Deason of Los Angeles (see my blog post of 15 December 2015). And it is the third consecutive time that I have played trumpet in the ACC Orchestra at these Christmas productions. I am continually impressed with how much talent of all ages there is among these church members.

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Glenn Ledbetter, 2016

The lead character is Lyric Jensen, played admirably by McKenna Sessions, a high school senior with a lovely voice and accomplished singing style. Lyric’s birth mother, Molly, abandoned her when she was only two-days old in a manger in the nativity scene in front of a church on Christmas day. The Jensens, Steven and Nora, found her and adopted her. Nora died three years later, and Steve continued to raise her.

Seeking greater happiness at age 17, Lyric longs to find her birth mother. Instead, she finds a woman who is later exposed as an imposter, pretending to be her birth mother in hopes of financial gain. Lyric realizes that real love and happiness is with her Dad. The story is an allegory about God’s unconditional love for humankind, his adopted children.

For me, the hit songs in the musical are “All I Want for Christmas,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” and “When Love Takes You In.” The first is by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXQViqx6GMY). The second is by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Jean Baptiste Calkin, with new words and music by Bernie Herms, Mark Hall and Dale Oliver, arranged by Dave Williamson. The third is by Steven Curtis Chapman, orchestrated by Sherry Joos.

The musical photos are courtesy of John Crozier, http://www.crozierphotography.com. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” for Skyline’s Annual Memorial Walk in Seattle, Honoring Veterans

Posted by glennled on November 10, 2016

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Skyline at First Hill is a Presbyterian retirement community in downtown Seattle near St. James Cathedral and Harborview Hospital. Between its two wings, one for independent living (Skyline Towers) and the other for assisted living (Skyline Terraces), is a courtyard. That’s where I stood in the rain on 2 November to sound “Taps” on my Getzen bugle after the responsive reading of “We Remember Them” by Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer, which is found in the Jewish Prayer Book (please see http://hmd.org.uk/resources/poetry/we-remember-them-sylvan-kamens-rabbi-jack-riemer). Then “Taps” closed the second annual “Skyline Memorial Walk” ceremony hosted by Skyline’s chaplain, The Reverend Elizabeth Graham.

img_4393Earlier, the residents and staff of Skyline had been invited to submit the names of veterans and others whom they wished to be remembered in advance of Veterans Day, 11 November. Their names—about 200—were read aloud, interspersed with periodic bell ringing, before the audience. Twenty, mostly elderly people gathered in the Madrona Community Room: two men, 18 women, silent in their memories of their dear veterans of WWI, WWII, and every conflict since, and others.

The names were then written on individual placards staked into the fertile soil in the planters in the courtyard, where they remained for a week so that the residents, staff and guests could walk among them. img_4419

Isn’t it amazing? In place after place across the nation, around the world, year after year, our veterans are honored. The lowest, the highest, it matters not. To paraphrase a famous saying, when you put on the military uniform, whether on active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve, you write a blank check at that point in your life, made payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount of “up to and including your life.” Engraved on my bugle is a citation of the Biblical verse, John 15:13. We honor such men and women.

Rev. Graham found me through my membership in Bugles Across America (please see http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org/ and my post of 4 May 2015). I’m glad she did. I’m glad I played cornet through high school and college. I’m glad I teach private trumpet lessons. I’m glad I teach beginning brass at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. I’m glad I play trumpet in the Husky Alumni Band. I’m glad I play in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra in Lynnwood. I’m glad I’m the VFW Post 1040 Bugler. All these things enable me to sound “Taps” for veterans every chance I get—it’s my honor, and I’m grateful. Lucky me.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Photo Gallery—Huskies Dominate Stanford, 44-6, before Husky Alumni Band and 72,000 Other Fans

Posted by glennled on November 9, 2016

On Friday evening, 30 September, there was a Showdown in Seattle—#7 Stanford came to Husky Stadium to face #10 Washington—and it was a Blowout. The Huskies dominated the Cardinals, 44-6, before a sellout crowd of 72,027, the largest crowd since the stadium renovation was completed in 2013 for $280 million. ESPN broadcasted the game nationwide.

 

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Glenn Ledbetter

This game also featured the reunion of the 1991 UW football team that won the national championship. This year is the 25th anniversary of that momentous achievement.

 

As a member of the UW Class of 1962, I played in the Husky Alumni Band as we performed for the Husky fans at various venues during pre-game tailgating. That entitled us to sit alongside the Husky Marching Band in the horseshoe stands at the west end of the stadium. I took the photos below. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

Below is a gallery of photos taken by the Husky Marching Band’s photography crew (see https://www.facebook.com/huskyband/photos/) . Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Beginning Brass Teacher at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell—My Sixth Year!

Posted by glennled on October 4, 2016

quartetLucky me! Under the guidance of Charlie Fix, Band and Orchestra Director, I get to teach beginning brass again to 5th and 6th graders in the two elementary bands that practice and perform at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. Classes for 2nd-year band members began on 12 September and for 1st-year band members, today, 4 October.

This year, I have about 35 trumpet students, 10 trombones, and one French Horn. Some years, I have baritone players, too. This is my sixth year as a para-professional teacher in the Northshore School District.

In addition, I give private lessons to other students in the North Seattle-to-Edmonds and Eastside areas.

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31st Trumpet Student Comes from New Jersey to Bothell, Washington

Posted by glennled on September 22, 2016

picture4Last April, a family from Cherry Hill, New Jersey (just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia) moved cross-country when the Dad took a new job in Bothell, Washington. At Cherry Hill, the son attended Rosa International Middle School, which offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. He’s been playing trumpet since 4th grade and took private lessons back there, starting in the 6th grade. Now that he’s an 8th grader at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell, he has become my 31st trumpet student. Our first private lesson was on 28 July.

Listening to music at a young age, he especially liked “Star Wars” and decided, “I can play an instrument, too.” He likes percussion—“rhythm is fun”—but so do lots of other kids. So his attention turned to saxophone, flute, and trumpet. Then he realized that the sound of the saxophone usually blends in with other sounds, and the flute isn’t very versatile. On the other hand, the trumpet can either blend in or stand out and often gets to play the melody. It can play all styles from classical to jazz—“It all works!” And it looks simple–only three buttons instead of all those keys. Only later did he learn how the embouchure complicates playing a brass instrument. So that’s how trumpet became his choice, and obviously, he’s happy with that decision.

He takes private lessons because he likes to excel at whatever he’s doing and wants to play in the lead group of the trumpet section. But he has no ambition to become a professional. He will eventually choose some other career. Meanwhile, being in the concert and jazz bands is fun, and he’s looking forward to playing in the marching and concert bands at the new North Creek High School. After that, he’d like to play in college, too.

That’s my privilege and challenge: to help him play well, be a leader, and enjoy doing it!

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