Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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My Trumpet Student Stars at Recital in Seattle by Lessons In Your Home

Posted by glennled on June 5, 2022

He had never performed a trumpet solo in front of an audience. He’s 13 and this fall will be an 8th grader at McClure Middle School on Queen Anne in Seattle. Weeks ago, he sorted through several possible songs and then made his choice–“The Wild Blue Yonder,” the official song of U.S. Air Force.

“The Wild Blue Yonder,”
photo by Stephanie Owen

I was very pleased. It not only is a great, patriotic song, but also it presented some technical challenges for him. One is range. In the trumpet key of C (Concert Bb) near the end of the piece, the high Es are in the top of the range where he plays confidently. Then, there is the time signature–6/8, with its many triplets throughout. Next, there are several accidentals (all sharps). Finally, there is rhythm–one couplet. Through isolation and repetition, we worked out all the frustrating kinks, and he mastered them all. Despite the common butterflies all performers experience, he played confidently and expertly with a nice tone. Hooray!

He began lessons with me in March 2020, just as Covid-19 struck the USA and lockdowns forced students out of their school classrooms and online. As of the recital date, all our lessons had been on Zoom.com. I had never met him or his family in person until we introduced ourselves and sat together in the audience at The Royal Room in the Columbia district of south Seattle on 15 May. He made his mother, father, sister, and I proud. It was lovely. Success is sweet.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Armed Forces Day Draws Me to Merrill Gardens at the University in Seattle

Posted by glennled on June 1, 2022

Until this year, I’d never been asked to perform my one-hour trumpet show, “I Stand for the Flag,” on Armed Forces Day. But that changed when Mindy Milton, Active Living Program Director, booked me to return for the second time to Merrill Gardens at the University in Seattle on Saturday, 21 May 2022. (Please see my blog article of 15 August 2021.)

I played 24 patriotic marches, songs, and bugle calls on four instruments: my Getzen trumpet, Super Olds cornet, Getzen field trumpet (bugle), and Jupiter pocket trumpet. The repertoire includes “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Tattoo” (a bugle call), the official songs of all five branches, “The Liberty Bell” (a march by John Philip Sousa), “Over There,” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” The audience sang along and laughed at a few jokes.

How does Armed Forces Day differ from other military holidays and observance days? It celebrates all five branches of the military on the third Saturday of May, annually. The five branches are the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The first four are within the Department of Defense (DOD), created in 1947. The Coast Guard is within the Department of Homeland Security, created in 2002. The Space Development Agency is one of many agencies within the DOD.

Armed Forces Day was created on 31 August 1949 when Harry S. Truman was President. It was first celebrated on 20 May 1950—five years after WWII ended and one month before the beginning of the Korean War.

The longest, continuously-running, Armed Forces Day Parade in the USA is held in Bremerton, Washington. This year, Bremerton celebrated its 73rd Armed Forces Day Parade.

Major wars and conflicts in which the U.S. military participated:

  • Revolutionary War
  • Indian Wars of the 1790s
  • War of 1812
  • American Civil War
  • Spanish-American War of 1898
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • Korean War
  • Vietnam War
  • Gulf War
  • Afghanistan

Numerical facts:

  1. About 800 military bases outside the U.S.
  2. About 1.2 million active-duty personnel in the U.S. military
  3. About 800,000 reserves
  4. About 18 million living veterans
  5. More than 81,600 POW/MIA personnel, mostly from WWII

Photos are courtesy of Merrill Gardens at the University. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“In Retrospect” Trumpet Show at Merrill Gardens at Burien

Posted by glennled on March 15, 2022

Plaque at Merrill Gardens at Burien

It’s always nice to be invited back to perform one of my six trumpet shows for the residents of a retirement home. And so it was, on the 4th of March, that I drove to Merrill Gardens retirement community in Burien to present my show, “In Retrospect,” comprised of 25 hit songs from the residents’ era. Last July, I had performed “I Stand for the Flag” (25 patriotic marches, songs and bugle calls) there in my VFW uniform.

Here’s a sample of the popular songs in the “In Retrospect” repertoire:

  • I Whistle a Happy Tune
  • When I Fall in Love
  • You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby
  • Dream a Little Dream of Me
  • I’ve Got the World on a String
  • Money, Money, Money
  • You Are My Sunshine
  • When I’m 64
  • What a Wonderful World
  • God Bless America

I use three horns: my trumpet, cornet, and pocket trumpet and by inserting my Denis Wick 4 mouthpiece into the cornet, it sounds much like a flugelhorn. People sing along and I tell a few jokes.

Now that Covid restrictions are easing, I expect more bookings this spring and summer. For those still concerned about booking a wind instrumentalist, I can use bell covers to inhibit aerosols that might emanate as I play those great old tunes. Here is a link to the ProTec covers that I use: https://www.amazon.com/Instrument-Trumpet-Clarinet-Saxophone-A321/dp/B08HX9KFHS/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1PQCDZF934VOK&keywords=protec+trumpet+bell+cover&qid=1647288146&sprefix=Protec+trumpet+bell+covers%2Caps%2C117&sr=8-5.

For more information about Merrill Gardens at Burien, please see https://www.merrillgardens.com/senior-living/wa/burien/merrill-gardens-at-burien/ and my previous blog post dated 15 August 2021.

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“An Evening with Chris Botti”

Posted by glennled on March 14, 2022

He came here so I had to go–Chris Botti, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle, 11 January 2022, 7:30 p.m. At the entry, they checked my Covid vaccination and booster credentials, and I found my Table 160 (partially obstructed view), $106.50. Halfway into the show, they let me move to an empty table with a perfect view. Bought my favorite cocktail, a “Stinger on the Rocks,” and sipped it all night.

Great show! What Botti can do with his horn is amazing–the variety of sounds, the accuracy of intonation and articulation in all ranges, the styles of music! I never saw him change horns or mouthpieces. And I was impressed with how he sometimes stepped aside into the shadows and featured every member of his troupe, including his five guest performers. I did not recognize most pieces, but I did know “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “When I Fall in Love,” “You Don’t Know Lovin’,” “Blue in Green” (Miles Davis), “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “There Will Never Be Another You,” “Time to Say Goodbye,” and Puccini’s aria, “Nessun Dorma” from his opera, Turandot.

Botti’s quintet consists of trumpet, piano/keyboard, bass, guitar, and drums. His five guest performers were Lucia Micarelli, violinist; Sy Smith, female vocalist; Chad LB (Lefkowitz-Brown), tenor saxophonist; Jonathan Johnson, tenor vocalist; and Veronica Swift, female vocalist.

What a great treat it is to hear great performers! Do it.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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New Trumpet Student #56 from Newcastle Is Comeback Player After 42-Year Layoff

Posted by glennled on January 5, 2022

My trumpet student #56 is a 61-year old businessman who got his first trumpet when he was in third grade. His parents gave him a 1961 Conn Constellation. Over the years, he’s accumulated five more trumpets, but he quit playing as a junior in high school. Then, about a year and half ago, he started playing again in earnest when he picked up a 1947 Super Olds for $5.00 at an office rummage sale. It plays well, but his favorite is his 1971 Getzen Eterna Severinsen.

So, for 42 years, he hardly ever played except for the few months in 2003 when he joined the community band, Brass from the Past. They gave him a mellophone for the march in the Seafair Parade. They disbanded that same year, but not before he got to play a few other gigs, too. Besides that, he once played the “Star-Spangled Banner” at a Little League game. That’s all–in 42 years.

It was the Super Olds that got him going again. He thought he should not own such a good horn unless he could play it. So, he started practicing using the Rubank Method Intermediate exercise book. Then he moved on to the Rubank Method Advanced Vol. 1 and went from there to Saint-Jacome’s Grand Method.

That’s when he contacted me for lessons. We had our first one on 1 December 2021. Due to Covid, our lessons are online on Zoom. I found that I had a student who is serious, practices regularly, and is already competent enough to play in another community band. He says he would also enjoy playing in a Big Band dance band. But until he retires, he doesn’t have the time to make all the rehearsals and gigs. That’s when he’ll look around for a group. For now, he tells me he wants to increase his range and endurance. So, we’re doing lots of lip slurs, arpeggios, intervals, scales, and etudes in higher keys. We’re awakening his awareness of his embouchure, tongue, and lip aperture and buzz. I had him buy Earl Irons’ Twenty-Seven Groups of Exercises for Cornet and Trumpet, and he says he wants to master it.

But we musicians practice exercises so that we can play music for ourselves and an audience. He’s got good articulation, so I sent him a copy of “Chicken Reel.” It starts in the key of Bb and switches to Eb. That has him playing lots of 16th notes and takes him up to high Eb above the staff…a fun piece that works his chops and tongue.

Meanwhile, I invited him to sound “Echo Taps” with me at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli’s Veterans Memorial Park in north Seattle on 18 December (please see my blog post of 31 December). We sounded good together, and he said he was honored to perform at this 13th annual wreath-laying event.

His son, who lives in Portland, Oregon, has played sax and guitar in the past, but Dad recently bought him a Conn Coprion trumpet. Its bell is 100% copper and is seamless. Perhaps they’ll be able to perform duets someday.

His other three trumpets are an FA Reynolds (1944), Jupiter pocket trumpet, and Blessing Standard (1958), which he works on to teach himself how to repair brass horns. He likes vintage trumpets and classic American cars.

He’s doing all this because he enjoys it! Is there any better reason?

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13th Annual Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Veterans Cemetery in North Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 31, 2021

Volunteers lay more than 1,000 wreaths on Veterans’ graves at Evergreen-Washelli’s Veterans Cemetery. Photo by Phil Onishi Photography.

The third Saturday of December was the 18th, and that could mean only one thing to a bugler—it was time for the annual Christmas wreath-laying ceremony, Wreaths Across America (WAA). Never mind that it was raining steadily. At 9 a.m., the President and Executive Director of the Veterans Memorial Wreath Foundation, Lorraine Zimmerman, announced over the loud speaker, “Bugler, sound ‘Assembly!'” And so I did for the 11th time. Then the Color Guard of the Navy ROTC program at the University of Washington presented the colors, and the crowd of about 200 patriots pledged allegiance to the flag. Chaplain Linda Haptonstall gave the invocation.

MKC Noah Vogeli, U.S. Coast Guard

At about 9:15 came the main program segment, the Ceremonial Wreath Dedication. One by one, eight men placed and saluted small flags on eight wreaths in memory of and gratitude for those who have fallen in service to America. After the benediction, the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040 of Lynnwood fired a three-volley rifle salute, immediately followed by “Echo Taps,” sounded by me and Laurence Stusser. He used his Olds trumpet, and I used my Getzen bugle. The colors were retired, and after the benediction by the Chaplin, this 13th annual ceremony concluded. Similar ceremonies were held at more than 3,100 locations nationwide on this day.

But the local event was not over—there was more to be done. The crowd voluntarily began laying 3,000 wreaths on the gravestones in the Veterans Memorial Park at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in north Seattle. VMWF has the ambitious goal of adorning all 5,000 veterans’ gravestones someday. To do that, more sponsors are needed. A donation of $15 sponsors one wreath; two, $30; five, $75 (most popular); ten, $150.

VMWF was founded not only to conduct this ceremony and lay these wreaths but also to teach coming generations about the cost and value of our freedom. VMWF plans to provide educational scholarships soon to military dependents and ROTC students. For more information, please see http://www.vmwf.org.

The WAA was officially formed in 2007 but originated in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery. Its mission is to remember, honor and teach. Read more at http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org and at http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/pages/19064/Overview/relatedld=17280. Also, use the Search box in the upper right column of this blog to find 8 articles with photos about past ceremonies here. Simply enter the word “wreath.”

Photos are courtesy of Phil Onishi, https://philonishiphotography.smugmug.com/Veterans-Memorial-Wreath-Foundation-Dec-18-2021/n-tVDwMv. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

Overview, Ceremony and Wreath Laying

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard

U.W. NROTC Color Guard

Veterans, Participants, Volunteers, Attendees, and Scenes

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Premier Performance of “Where Were You, Back Then?” Trumpet Show at Cristwood Park Retirement Community in Shoreline, WA

Posted by glennled on December 30, 2021

Photo courtesy of Cristwood Park, 390 N 190th St, Shoreline, WA

When I performed my one-hour trumpet show, “Where Were You, Back Then?”, for the first time on 22 August this year, it was at Cristwood Park Retirement Community in Shoreline, WA. But that was not the first time I had performed at Cristwood (see my blog articles of 24 June 2019, 11 July 2018, and 28 June 2014). I offer six different shows, and the Life Enrichment Coordinator, Gabrielle Herndon, wanted something new and different. She chose to host the premier performance of my latest show.

It’s different because its format is chronological, not topical. I choose a year, recall for the audience a few significant events that happened back then, invite everyone to remember where they were and what they were doing at that time, and then play one hit song from that year.

Inside is a large auditorium and fully-equipped, elevated stage

This time, I used three of my horns: trumpet, cornet and pocket trumpet, but when I get my new flugelhorn in March, I’ll start using four.

The show starts with the year 1947 and ends with 2008. That’s a span of 61 years, but I have time to play only 20 songs. So how do I choose those 20 when, each year, there are hundreds of nationally- and globally-significant events? Well, I chose 1947 simply because that’s the year my wife was born–a very significant year, wouldn’t you agree if you were in my shoes?! The song I play is “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah.”

Why end in 2008? Simply because I like playing Abba’s “Money, Money, Money” which was featured in the movie, Mama Mia, and my audience members couldn’t be living in a retirement community as nice as this one unless they had had some financial success in their long lifetimes. And as with all my shows, I invite the audience to sing along, and I tell a few jokes.

So, take 1963, for example. Where were you, back then? On 2 February, Julia Childs presented her show, “The French Chef,” on educational TV for the first time. On 21 April, Dr. Michael E. De Bakey implanted an artificial heart in a human for the first time at a hospital in Houston, TX. On 22 November, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, TX. Lyndon Johnson immediately succeeded Kennedy as President. On 24 November, Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald. Others who died that year included C.S. Lewis (64); Robert Frost (88); Aldous Huxley (69); Patsy Cline (30); and Edith Piaf (47). And then I play “Days of Wine and Roses” from the movie starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick. That song won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

With that performance, Cristwood became the 24th retirement community in the Greater Seattle area where I have presented at least one of my six trumpet shows. For more information about Cristwood, please see https://cristaseniorliving.org/cristwood.

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“I Stand for the Flag”–Trumpet Shows at Five Different Retirement Communities in Five Straight Days Clustered Around Veterans Day

Posted by glennled on December 26, 2021

Glenn Ledbetter performs at University House, Issaquah. Photo by Tina Kaiser.

Era Living has 8 retirement communities in the Greater Seattle area, and on five consecutive days around Veterans Day (11 November) I performed my trumpet show, “I Stand for the Flag,” at five of them (please see http://www.eraliving.com). I hope to perform at the other three in 2022.

If there were such a thing as a contest among these five for Best Veterans Day Decorations, then First Prize would have to be awarded to The Gardens at Town Square in Bellevue, where is Stephanie Butler is Life Enrichment Director. See photos below.

Interesting people come to talk with me after a show. For example, a lady at Ida Culver House, Ravenna in Seattle said her husband (deceased) was a direct descendant of Gen. Daniel A. Butterfield. With the help of his brigade bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton in July 1862 during the Civil War, Butterfield composed the bugle call, “Taps,” at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia after the Seven Days Battle. Please see my blog article about this, dated 19 November 2012.

After my show at University House, Wallingford (UHW) in Seattle, a man and his wife told me that her ancestry tree includes a relationship with Frances Scott Key. Key, of course, is the author of the poem which became the lyrics of our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

I wear my VFW Honor Guard uniform when I perform this show, which consists of patriotic marches, songs, and bugle calls. And I use four horns: my Getzen Eterna Severinsen trumpet, Super Olds cornet, Getzen field trumpet (bugle), and Jupiter pocket trumpet. Next spring, I’ll be able to add my new Austin Custom Brass Doubler flugelhorn, which is now on order as a Christmas gift from my wife.

My six one-hour trumpet shows include sing-alongs and jokes. They are:

  • “I Stand for the Flag” – Patriotic marches, songs and bugle calls
  • “Things Remembered” – A mix of Christmas songs and popular songs loved by residents
  • “Showtune Favorites” – Hit songs from musicals and movies
  • “In Retrospect” – More of residents’ favorite songs
  • “St. Patrick’s Day Celebration” – Irish ballads, jigs and reels
  • “Where Were You, Back Then?” – Popular songs from selected years during residents’ era

Normally, “I Stand for the Flag” consists of 25 pieces of music. However, this time, the Executive Director of UHW, Deborah Montelaro, asked me to combine the music with a talk about Veterans affairs. That reduced the pieces to 16, and I performed that version of the show at four of the five venues.

I have now performed at least one of these shows at 24 different retirement communities in the Greater Seattle area, and I look forward to many more appearances in 2022, Covid and God willing.

9 Nov – Aljoya, Mercer Island (Photos courtesy of Aljoya and me)

10 Nov – University House, Issaquah (photos by Tina Kaiser of UHI and me)

11 Nov – Ida Culver House, Ravenna (photos courtesy of ICHR and me)

12 Nov – The Gardens at Town Square, Bellevue (Photos courtesy of TGTS by me)

13 Nov – University House, Wallingford, Seattle (Photos courtesy of UHW and me)

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“Showtune Favorites” at Two Retirement Communities in Mountlake Terrace, WA

Posted by glennled on December 20, 2021

Two retirement communities in Mountlake Terrace got the same treat last summer—my one-hour trumpet show, “Showtune Favorites”! They’re located within a few blocks of each other, and I appeared at the second one 9 days after I had performed at the first one. Vineyard Park at Mountlake Terrace residents saw and heard it first (on 27 July), and Mountlake Terrace Plaza residents followed next on 5 August.

The show is one of six different ones in my repertoire. It consists of 25 favorite hit songs from musicals and movies that appeared during the residents’ era. It takes them back to many pleasant memories, and my jokes bring a few chuckles. I loved it, and so did they. As soon as I played the finale, a resident said aloud, “We want him back!”

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New Trumpet Student (#55) Is 6th Grader at Sherwood Elementary School in Edmonds

Posted by glennled on December 6, 2021

Last June, my 55th trumpet student moved to Edmonds, Washington from Johns Creek, Georgia, just north of Atlanta, but there is no southern accent in his speech. How could that be? Perhaps it’s because his Mother once lived in Edmonds and Olympia during her childhood, and his Dad is from Puyallup. So, they must have passed along their Washington accent to him, but they did not pass along or push him into music, although his Dad once played the saxophone. His Mom says he developed his love of trumpet entirely on his own in about the third grade.

Back in Georgia, my trumpeter (now 12) attended Dolvin Elementary School, and now he’s a 6th grader at Sherwood Elementary School. In-person classes have resumed, and he’s in the school band, directed by Lance Ellis. I’m his third trumpet teacher, and for now, all our sessions are online, using Zoom.com. In Johns Creek, his first tutor retired from teaching due to Covid. His second one taught him until the family moved back west this past summer.

During our first lesson last June, I was amazed that he practically had “The Star-Spangled Banner” memorized. He had no trouble with the high F, except that after a short time, his throat would hurt. So, I taught him what it feels like to play with an open throat. He owns a student horn, the Bundy BTR-300 series. He could also play “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.” Where did his attraction to patriotic songs come from? Again, his Mom says he did it on his own. She says he does like sports (NFL football and NASCAR), so maybe he picked it up from that. He wants to become a firefighter. He sounds like a red-blooded, All-American boy to me!

We began with his school band exercise book, the familiar “Essential Elements, Book 1, Bb Trumpet,” and I had his Mom order Michael Sweeney’s “Patriotic Favorites, Bb Trumpet.” It contains 11 songs, and he can play most of them. He’s at the point in his development where he’s learning a little syncopation. We’re working on rhythms that employ dotted-half, -quarter, and -eighth notes and rests—tricky stuff, learning to count beats and figure out rhythms in different time signatures, learning to recognize downbeats and upbeats.

I believe he is well-advanced for his age. And I love his wonderful smile, enthusiasm, and desire to excel. Our lessons are fun! He already has that competitive drive and pride for which trumpeters are known. It’s the best instrument of them all—that’s what we believe!

How do you get a trumpet player to play fff volume?

Write “mp” on the part.

Why did the military brat stop practicing his trumpet at Christmas?

Because his mother prayed for peace on earth.

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