Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

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Archive for December, 2021

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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