Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

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  • December 2011
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Archive for December, 2011

Cornet Solos at Home with the Family on Christmas Eve

Posted by glennled on December 31, 2011

Glenn Ledbetter on cornet

After a wonderful, hearty dinner on Christmas Eve, we carried on our traditional family program: readings from Isaiah and Luke about the birth of the Christ child, prayers, carols, gift opening, and snacks. Meanwhile, about four cameras were continuously flashing and whirring. For music, my wife passed out our colorful booklet of carols (which she produced herself) and played the piano while we sang. Normally, I play one or two tunes on my cornet, too, always with her accompaniment. This year, I soloed. I played “Angels We Have Heard on High” straight as written, but to “Santa Baby,” I added a little fun with some special sound effects using my Harmon (wah-wah) mute in the middle of the piece and a long, quick glissando from G to an accented High G at the end! (Smiles and applause!)

Happy New Year!  😉

Posted in Musical Events at Home | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

“A Baby Changes Everything” as Christmas Nears

Posted by glennled on December 18, 2011

Today, I got to play 2nd trumpet in the church orchestra that I like so much. At the 7:20 a.m. rehearsal before the first of three Sunday church services, the Worship Director called out the next song—“A Baby Changes Everything.” Quietly, the lead trumpeter quipped, “We don’t do baby changes,” and a French horn player added, “No more baby changes, never again!”

And then we rehearsed one of the loveliest songs ever written about the coming of the Christ child. The arrangement we played was by David T. Clydesdale and is available through Word Music (see The concluding lines are “My whole life has turned around, I was lost but now I’m found. A baby changes everything, yeah, This baby changes everything.”

It was written and composed by Tim Nichols, Kim Wiseman, and Craig Wiseman. Faith Hill made it a #1 hit in 2008. To see and hear her sing it, please see:

Think about this special baby—can you name any other man who has ever had a more profound, widespread, long-lasting impact on humanity and human history?

We also played several hymns and Christmas carols. The jazz arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Tom Payne was especially good (see

For my four other posts about playing in this church orchestra, simply click on Church Music at the beginning of the paragraph below this post.

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Six Sharps (Key of F#)—Who Cares in this Great Church Orchestra? Not me!

Posted by glennled on December 17, 2011

F-Sharp Major

Last Sunday, I played trumpet in the church orchestra again, and this time our music was in the key signatures of F# (six sharps), B (five sharps), E (four sharps), and B-flat (two flats). So what, who cares? I did last spring when I facetiously complained about it in my post of 28 March (see also, 11 April) 2011. But no more. As the Worship Director commented with a wide smile, she chooses the key signature of the music for the benefit of the congregation. It’s all about worship by everyone, not about the musicians or the orchestra. Right on!

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“Taps” for Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Posted by glennled on December 16, 2011

Last Saturday at 8:45 a.m., the 2nd Annual Wreath Laying ceremony was held in the Chimes Tower at Evergreen Washelli’s Veterans Memorial Cemetery in north Seattle. On the second Saturday of every December, similar ceremonies are conducted at Arlington National Cemetery, other veterans cemeteries in all 50 states, and veteran’s burial grounds around the globe. The Navy Wives Clubs of America led the volunteers who made this event happen here. See for a description of the national organization and event.

The Navy provided the color guard, and VFW Post 1040 of Lynnwood furnished the rifle team and bugler—me! You can see a video of the event and hear “Taps” at King-5 TV News,–135386858.html . The volunteers placed 100 wreaths on veterans graves here. There are six Medal of Honor and two Silver Star recipients buried at Evergreen Washelli (see my posts of 2 and 19 July 2011).

All but three of the photos below are courtesy of the Navy Wives Clubs of America. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Four-Band Winter Concert at Eckstein Middle School in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 14, 2011

Eckstein Wind Ensemble

At Eckstein Middle School in northeast Seattle on 8 December, more than one-quarter of the entire student body performed in one of four bands at the winter concert. These bands are comprised of 341 musicians out of the student body of 1280 students–that’s 27% and that’s success! You simply can’t argue about the superiority of this music program when you look at all the trophies in the hallway outside the auditorium, which was packed with parents, relatives and friends like me.

The Beginning Band (31 students) conducted by Chris Boscole played three pieces. Next was the Junior Concert Band (109 students) conducted by Cuauhtemoc Escobedo (aka “Mr. E” or “Moc”), Director of Bands at the school. The Junior Band played five pieces, finishing with Leroy Anderson’s “A Trumpeter’s Lullaby,” featuring three trumpet soloists. After that, Mr. Escobedo conducted the Intermediate Concert Band (107) in another five pieces, one of which featured another trumpeter. Finally, Mr. Escobedo conducted the Wind Ensemble (94) in yet another five pieces. Soloists included two clarinetists and five flutists.

Flute soloist in Eckstein Wind Ensemble performs "Gemeinhardt Suite" by Robert W. Smith

The music, including some Bach and Mozart, was challenging for the students—there was no effort to “play it safe” with easy compositions—and the students were up to the challenge! It was very impressive and enjoyable.

Two of my trumpet students performed—see my blog posts of 18 November 2009, and 19 April 2010. One is in the Wind Ensemble, and the other is in the Junior Concert Band. I was very proud of and happy for them.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

Thus ends "Sheherazade" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Students don Santa hats for the finale, "Sleigh Ride," by Leroy Anderson

Three trumpeters accept the applause from the Eckstein Junior Band (standing) and the audience after soloing in "A Trumpeter's Lullaby" by Leroy Anderson

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Photo Gallery of Elementary Band Concert at Skyview Jr. High, Bothell

Posted by glennled on December 13, 2011

Mr. Shawn McGinn (left, front), 2nd-year band (left, back), and 1st-year band (right)

On Thursday, 8 December, the parents and relatives gathered at band period (7:55-8:35 a.m.) to hear their kids play in the band in the school cafeteria at Skyview Junior High School in Bothell. For the 1st-year band, it was their first concert ever, and the featured song was “Jingle Bells.” Then the 2nd year band played two pieces: “Apollo Fanfare” by Robert W. Smith and “Five Christmas Favorites,” a medley. The band director is Shawn McGinn, and I am his assistant for brass instruction (trumpet, trombone, baritone, and French horn). Photos by I-Phone; click on any photo to enlarge it.

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New Post Bugler Appointed on Pearl Harbor Day by VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 12, 2011

Glenn Ledbetter, 10 Dec. 2011

On 7 December, the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day (1941), Martin Spani, Commander, VFW Post 1040 of Lynnwood, appointed me the new post bugler. It’s not national news, but quietly, it’s a big deal to me. I’m a Vietnam veteran who served on three ships in the Pacific Fleet during 1963-1967: USS Los Angeles (CA-135), a heavy cruiser homeported in Long Beach, CA; USS Walton (DE-361), a destroyer escort homeported in San Francisco; and USS Koiner (DER-331), a radar picket escort vessel homeported in Agana, Guam.

World War II was formative for me, even though I was a small boy not yet in school. And more important to me than Pearl Harbor Day are V-E Day (8 May 1945) and V-J Day (14 August 1945), when I was five years old…I remember the relief and exhilaration of those days.

When I was at Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island in late 1962, I played in the drum and bugle corps. After I graduated from OCS, my first orders as an Ensign were to report for duty aboard the Los Angeles, then in Japan. Enroute from San Francisco, I stayed over in Hawaii and went to Waikiki. Now, whenever I go on vacation to Honolulu, I always visit the “Punchbowl,” the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. I love to listen to the birds in the trees as I walk in the sunlight among the graves, read the markers, survey the wide, green burial field, and thank God and those of that great generation—my mother’s and father’s generation. They stand very tall in world history. At the Punchbowl, the soft, peaceful truth stares and sings right back at you: freedom is not free.

My ship bombarded the coast once, but I never shot to kill in Vietnam, and neither I nor my ship was ever fired upon. Our naval duty was to patrol the coast of South Vietnam to prevent and stop the movement of supplies from North Vietnam, China, or wherever which might support the Viet Cong. We patroled in the combat zone, but it really was a land war. With a crew, I boarded junks in coastal waters, searching for contraband. Anything could have happened.

I’m a lucky man. Not so for many others in American history. Have you heard “American Anthem,” by composer Gene Scheer, as sung by Nora Jones on the sound track of the Ken Burns film, The War? That tells you why it’s a big deal to be a VFW post bugler in a little town far off in the northwest corner of America. Please listen to it at

“Let them say of me, I was one who believed in sharing the blessings that I received. Let me know in my heart, when my days are through, America, America, I gave my best to you.”

Posted in Ceremonies & Celebrations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Sacred Christmas Sounds—SPU’s Concert at Benaroya Hall in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 11, 2011

On 28 and 29 November, thousands of people started this Christmas season by attending the 12th annual concert at Benaroya Hall presented by Seattle Pacific University (SPU) called “The Sacred Sounds of Christmas.” The program divided into two parts: one, “The Promise Made” (Advent and Annunciation), and two, “The Promise Fulfilled” (Incarnation and Celebration).

The choir members processed down the aisles through the crowd to the stage, singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” which always chokes me up: “O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind; bid thou our sad divisions cease, and be thyself our King of Peace.” And on from there went the splendid concert to start the blessings of the Christmas season, 2011. ‘Tis a joy to be a believer in these past 18 years after living the previous 34 years as an agnostic. In 1994, I gave up “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” for “Thy will be done.” It’s a Good Life!

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Piano Concert Tonight Benefits Underprivileged Children in Vietnam

Posted by glennled on December 3, 2011

Saturday night at 7 p.m., 3 December, Brooks Tran will sit down at the piano and play a concert to benefit low-income Vietnamese families whose children might otherwise be unable to attend school. The concert is a fund-raiser for the sponsor, Compassion in Deeds (CID), a non-profit organization. The concert location is in the chapel at The Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N. in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. Tickets are $12 each. See

Tran was one of the winners of the concerto competition in November within the School of Music at the University of Washington. On 12 January 2012, he will perform Piano Concerto #1 in G Minor, OP. 25, by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) I. Molto allegro con fuoco II. Andante III. Presto – Molto allegro e vivace. Tran is a student of Craig Sheppard. He plans to complete his Master of Music degree in Piano Performance in Spring 2012. See

Proceeds go into the CID Scholarship Program which provides financial assistance to students attending primary or secondary schools in Vietnam, where the average family income is less than US$90 a month and the average primary/secondary tuition at a public school is nearly US$70 a year per child. Kids in poor families often must drop out of school to help their families. Without proper education, they have little chance for a better life.

Scholarships in the amount of $100 a year help pay for the basic educational needs such as tuition, fees, uniforms and school supplies. The monies are distributed directly to the recipients. To encourage students to earn a high school diploma, CID pledges to continue assistance to the recipients each year until graduation, provided they keep in good academic standing.

Currently, CID’s prime target areas are in the rural southern region near Ho Chi Minh City, central region near Binh-Thuan and Da-Nang, and the highlands region near Kon-Tum.  In the past two years, CID has provided 85 scholarships, with over half of the awards going to repeat recipients.

If you are unable to attend but wish to make a donation, please see the CID website,, or email As they say in their motto, “Because every child deserves a chance.”

Posted in Professional Concerts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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