Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

  • January 2013
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“Mele Kalikimaka” Honors Lost Family Matriarch on Christmas Eve at Home

Posted by glennled on January 12, 2013

Glenn Ledbetter plays "Mele Kalikimaka" on his Super Olds Cornet (1954)

Glenn Ledbetter plays “Mele Kalikimaka” on his Super Olds Cornet (1954)

Our family tradition on Christmas Eve includes singing Christmas carols after dinner and before opening gifts. My wife plays piano as we sing, and a few years ago, we added a couple of trumpet solos to the program. This year, I played “Mele Kalikimaka” because on all our minds was the recent loss of my wife’s mother, Ruth, who died peacefully on 12 October. This was our first Christmas without her.

To Ruth, Hawaii was paradise. She and her husband, Mac, first went to Waikiki to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They always returned annually until he passed away, and then she continued to go back. In all, she vacationed there for 39 straight years! She was a bright spirit, and we miss her so much.

“Mele Kalikimaka” means “Merry Christmas,” and Robert Alex Anderson wrote the song in 1949. Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters recorded the song in 1950 on Decca 27228 (78 rpm)/9-27228 (45 rmp). To hear their recording, please see

For my second trumpet solo, I played “Angels We Have Heard on High,” a traditional French carol.

9 Responses to ““Mele Kalikimaka” Honors Lost Family Matriarch on Christmas Eve at Home”

  1. I agree with Mom. Grammi might have giggled at the “matriarch,” but soon after would have struck a pose as official matriarch…which would have made us giggle.

  2. Nancy said

    I do think my petite little mom would have giggled at the “Matriarch” title. Can’t you hear her saying, “But I’m Baby Ruth!”

    • glennled said

      Yes, you’re right on! “But I’m Baby Ruth!” with a pouty face, followed by a wide smile and a twinkle in her eyes, looking directly at you.

  3. Tarnya said

    Finally have a moment to sit down. Love the write-up. Will have to listen at some stage to the song. I can’t imagine the hurt of loosing a Mum :(. Please pass on a hug to Nancy. Love, Tarnya (New Zealand)

  4. wwayne said

    Talking about trumpets solos, I love the one that suddenly peeps out at the end [minute 3:34] of this reggae song, because it adds an unexpected and delightful jazz touch to it:

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