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Archive for April, 2015

“Taps” at 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War Ceremony at Tulalip

Posted by glennled on April 30, 2015

Vietnam War Commemoration Flag

Vietnam War Commemoration Flag

On 7 February 2015, some 150 veterans, family members, and friends gathered at the Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center, north of Everett, WA, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. The theme of the ceremony was “Welcome Home,” exemplified by displaying the new Vietnam War Commemoration Flag.

In a Proclamation (see http://www.vietnamwar50th.com), President Barack Obama declared that the period 28 May 2012 through 11 November 2025 is designated as “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.” He called upon federal, state, and local officials to honor, with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities, “our Vietnam veterans, our fallen, our wounded, those unaccounted for, our prisoners of war, their families, and all who served.” That’s just what the hosts did on this occasion. The sponsors were the Tulalip Veterans Center and the Washington State Gold Star Mothers (see my posts of 06/17/2014 and 06/19/2014).

USS Koiner (DE-331)

Some 15 symbols on the flag are explained at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com/about/about_the_flag. Martin Spani of VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood, spoke about each one. The message at the bottom of the flag has special meaning to Vietnam vets: “A Grateful Nation Thanks and Honors You.” The keynote address was presented by Vietnam veteran, Michael Reagan, of the Fallen Heroes Project (see my posts of 11/19/2011, 11/19/2012, and 06/17/2014).

To open the ceremony, I sounded the bugle call, “Assembly.” At its conclusion, I sounded “Taps.” I also am a Vietnam War veteran—Lt., USNR, served in Operation Market Time off Vietnam in 1965-67, USS Koiner (DE-331), Operations Officer. The Koiner was home-ported in Agana, Guam during the Vietnam War. She was named for Ltjg. James Duval Koiner who died during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942.

You may click on any image to enlarge it.

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A 2014 Winter Holiday Concert at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore

Posted by glennled on April 29, 2015

Mr. Jim Rice conducts IHS Symphonic Band

Mr. Jim Rice conducts IHS Symphonic Band

This year’s “Winter Holiday Concert” at Inglemoor High School’s (IHS’s) Performing Arts Gymnasium in Kenmore on 18 December 2014, started with about 30 minutes of music by the school’s jazz band, as the full-house audience arrived and got seated in the grandstands. They played Bernard’s “Winter Wonderland,” among other tunes. Mr. Jim Rice is the Jazz Band Director, and he also conducted the Symphonic Band (including “Themes from ‘The Nutcracker'”) and String Orchestra (Holtz’s “In the Bleak Midwinter”).

Mr. Ted Christensen directed both the String Orchestra (Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride”) and the Wind Symphony (including “Flourish for Wind Band”). The Wind Ensemble featured 8 new cornets in “The Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol” by Richard Franko Golman. Mr. Christensen is not only the IHS Band Director but also the Northshore School District Music Coordinator. This is Mr. Christensen’s 32nd year at IHS. The Wind Ensemble took a trip in April 2015 to play at the “Ring of Fire” Concert in Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The Concert Choir, Belle Voci, and Chamber Choir were directed by Teresa Sullivan, who is both IHS Choir Director and Music Department Chair.

Below is a photo gallery of the concert. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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5th Annual Wreath Dedication at Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, Seattle

Posted by glennled on April 28, 2015

Lianna Bennett sits at the headstone of her grandfather U.S. Army Col. William W. Etchemendy during Wreaths Across America's 150th anniversary, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Lianna Bennett sits at the headstone of her grandfather, U.S. Army Col. William W. Etchemendy, during Wreaths Across America’s ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Every December, every year, the crowds keep getting bigger as the Wreaths Across America ceremony spreads and becomes more well-known. Here in Seattle, it was celebrated for the fifth time on 13 December 2014, at the Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli. The prime sponsor of the local event is Navy Wives Clubs of America #277, led by Lorraine Zimmerman.

The 1st Corps Command Honor Guard performed Color Guard duties. For the fifth year in a row, the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040 in Lynnwood furnished the rifle team and bugler for the rifle salute and bugle calls, “Assembly” and “Taps,” and as you know, I’m 1040’s Post Bugler. I’ve posted two other articles in this blog about this annual event (see my posts of 12/16/2011 and 1/9/2013).

This ceremony has its roots in the patriotic experience of the owner of the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, in 1992, when he and others took some surplus wreaths to be laid at selected tombstones, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. At the third website in the list below, you can read the history of how this ceremony has spread nationwide since 2007, when the non-profit organization, Wreaths Across America (WAA), was formed.

In 2010, WAA and its national network of volunteers laid more than 220,000 memorial wreaths at 545 locations in the USA and beyond. One year later, Navy Wives Club #277 joined that group of volunteers in bringing the ceremony to Evergreen-Washelli and Seattle.

For additional information, please go to the following websites:

 

 

 

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2014 Winter All Bands Concert by Hamilton International Middle School in Seattle

Posted by glennled on April 27, 2015

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HIMS 2014 Winter All Bands Concert concludes after Dan Rowe conducted “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson

 

One of the outstanding music programs in Seattle did it again—four Hamilton International Middle School bands gave a great “Winter All Bands Concert” at Lincoln High School Auditorium on 11 December 2014.

Each band performed four pieces. Among those by the 48-member Beginning Band, conducted by Angela Babbitt, was “March Miniature” by Dan Rowe. The other three bands were conducted by Mr. Rowe himself. The 72-member Cadet Band was next, and two of its pieces were by Mark Williams, “Drive” and “Bryce Canyon Overture.”

Beginning with the 66-member Concert Band, some soloists and an ensemble started to emerge from the two remaining bands. The ensemble was featured in “Drums A-Plenty,” arranged by Lew Pollack. And finally, when the 70-member Symphonic Band took the stage, the spotlight fell on an accomplished xylophone soloist, playing “Galop” by Dimitri Kabalevsky.

A gallery of photos of the four bands follows (below). Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“A Time for Christmas,” the 2014 Musical at Alderwood Community Church, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on April 23, 2015

"It's a Merry Christmas Eve!" sung on a city sidewalk by townspeople and carolers

“It’s a Merry Christmas Eve!” sung on a city sidewalk by townspeople and carolers

I confess–I love musicals more than I love opera. I’m simple. After most musicals, I walk out of the theater with some song in my head, some melody in my heart, some lyrics on my lips. I like that. But although some opera music is magnificently beautiful and I like it, too, I often can hardly hum even my most favorite arias.

And so it was when I was invited to play trumpet with the orchestra of Alderwood Community Church (ACC) last Christmas season. Each year, ACC stages a Christmas play, and in 2014, the choice was the superlative religious musical, “A Time for Christmas” by Paul McCusker, David T. Clydesdale, Steven Amerson, and Lowell Alexander.

Mistress Lewis and children sing and dance at the orphanage in 1850 to "With A Little Bit of Faith"

Mistress Lewis and children sing and dance at the orphanage in 1850 to “With A Little Bit of Faith”

The plot features the very hard-working Bill, a young businessman who gives lip service to Christmas but is too busy to celebrate it, and his consultant, Mary, who understands the meaning of Christmas and loves the joy and hope found in the celebration of it. In a dream, Bill encounters Bartholomew, a mysterious stranger, who leads Bill on a journey through five scenes of various Christmases past, from the birth of Christ to the present. It awakens Bill—through watching others in other times and places, he begins to realize what he’s missing and warms to Mary.

play2014-2The orchestra and choir were conducted by Linda Collins, and the musical was dedicated to Dave Ballbach, “whose support and encouragement has inspired this endeavor for two decades.” It was presented five times during the weekend of 5-7 December at the church, which is located in Lynnwood near the intersection of I-5 with 196th St.

What tune was I singing when I left the church after the performances? Well, sometimes it was “With a Little Bit of Faith,” but more often it was “It’s a Merry Christmas Day!” And you know it’s a truly special musical when there are TWO songs stuck in your mind and heart!

The photos in the gallery below were provided courtesy of the professional photographer, John Crozier of Edmonds (see http://www.crozierphotography.com). Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

 

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Photo Gallery: Elementary Bands’ Holiday Concert at Skyview Jr. High in Bothell

Posted by glennled on April 16, 2015

On 4 December 2014, the two elementary bands (1st year and 2nd year) which are affiliated with Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell played their first concert of the school year in front of an adoring, proud crowd of parents, relatives and friends in the cafeteria/auditorium. Below is a photo gallery of the concert, with an emphasis on the brass section, whom I teach. Shawn McGinn, Director of Instrumental Music, conducted the concert and graciously allowed me to conduct the final piece by the 2nd-year band. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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“Echo Taps” on Veterans Day at Veterans Park in Lynnwood, 11-11-2014

Posted by glennled on April 15, 2015

Trumpeters who sounded "Echo Taps"

Trumpeters who sounded “Echo Taps”

Why is this holiday on 11 November? Because that’s when World War I ended—at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. And that helps explain why, 96 years later on Veterans Day 2014, the memorial ceremony at Veterans Park in Lynnwood, WA commenced at 11 a.m.

VFW Post 1040 hosted the event, attended by hundreds of people who gathered to honor all veterans. Participants included Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith, Puget Sound Honor Flight, Northwest Junior Pipe Band, Boy Scouts Troup 49, Cub Scouts from BSA Pack 331, Legion of Honor  of the Nile Shrine Center, and the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard.

As VFW Post 1040 bugler, I sounded three bugle calls: “Assembly” to call the people to order to commence the ceremony, “Echo Taps” to conclude the ceremony, and afterwards at noon, “To the Color,” to raise the flag from half-staff to full-mast. In playing “Echo Taps,” I was joined by a trumpet student of mine from Juanita High School in Kirkland. Please click on the photo to enlarge it.

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23rd Trumpet Student—Back to the Basics in Order to Jump Ahead

Posted by glennled on April 14, 2015

Shorewood Thunderbirds

Shorewood Thunderbirds

Grandma knows best—that’s why she sent me an email on 10 November 2014, about starting trumpet lessons with her grandson, a freshman in the band at Shorewood High School in Shoreline, WA, just north of Seattle. “He seems to enjoy the school band,” she wrote, “but I would like him to be successful, and wonder if you would have time to schedule him for some lessons.” And so we began.

What I found during our first session at his home was that some of his fundamentals were weak. His embouchure formation was fine and his tone decent, but his note recognition was not yet automatic and his upper range was too low. Developing embouchure strength and increasing range is pretty straightforward. However, developing automatic note recognition, reflexive fingering, and embouchure slotting can be very problematic for some students. I selected two instruction books for him: I Recommend by James D. Ployhar and Exercises for Ensemble Drill by Raymond C. Fussell. Other books will follow if he wants to develop further.

What does it mean to him to play trumpet well? He will have more confidence, enjoy playing music more, develop closer friendships, and have more fun in band. He’s on his way to becoming Grandma’s success story!

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22nd Trumpet Student Has High Ambitions

Posted by glennled on April 13, 2015

Chris Botti, trumpeter

Chris Botti, trumpeter

Natalie Dungey. trumpeter

“We’re a musical family!” says the Mom of my 22nd trumpet student, a 7th grade student at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell. His first lesson with me was on 1 July. He plays his Mom’s trumpet, the one her parents bought for her when she was in 10th grade at age 16. (Her Dad played cornet.) She made All-State Band in Texas, and now her son (13), has an even loftier ambition–to become a professional musician and play “awesome” trumpet. His favorite trumpeter is Chris Botti (www.chrisbotti.com/us), and he’s a great admirer of Natalie Dungey (www.nataliedungey.com).

He likes classical music but also plays in the school jazz band, which he says helps him make different sounds and improves his ability to read music. Within the past year, he’s taken up drums (his Dad plays drums) and tinkers around on the piano. He’s started a composition for an ensemble of 2 trumpets, 2 violas, 1 tuba, 1 snare drum, 1 alto sax, and 1 flute. Meanwhile, he also wrestles and plays soccer. And his older sister sings and plays piano, guitar, and clarinet, while his younger sister “sings like a mocking bird,” says her Mom.

Why did he choose trumpet? Because it has such a “powerful sound that it hits you in the face, but at the same time it can make soft sounds that are pure beauty.” Right on!

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High School Band Day, 9-20-’14, UW Huskies vs. Georgia State Panthers

Posted by glennled on April 12, 2015

Georgia State hardly had a chance–the University of Washington Huskies never (hardly ever) loose on High School Band Day! And two-legged dogs always beat two-legged cats, no? And so it was on 20 September 2014, that UW came out on top, 45-14, scoring all 45 points in the second half. The first half was a stinker for the Huskies, who got booed off the field into the locker room to re-group. In any case, the win left the Huskies with a 4-0 record thus far in the season.

Could it be that the combined bands’ massive half-time show on High School Band Day inspired the Huskies to come back from 0-14 to win? 😉

Here’s how the bands did it—see the photo gallery below. As always, trumpeters are featured. Field-level shots were taken by Louis Figueroa, and press box shots were by Garry Nakayama. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

 

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