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Posts Tagged ‘bugle’

Trumpet Show on 31 May re: Memorial Day at Edmonds Landing Retirement Community

Posted by glennled on June 20, 2019

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For me, the trumpet show, “I Stand for the Flag” that I recently performed at Edmonds Landing Retirement Community (ELRC) was the last of seven performances clustered around Memorial Day.  Three performances during the period of 21-31 May were of that one-hour trumpet show of 25 patriotic marches and songs; four were strictly bugle calls—“Assembly,” “To the Color,” “Taps,” and “Echo Taps.” They were spread through Edmonds, Lynnwood, Seattle, and Mercer Island. It was exciting for me to have that level of activity in so many locales within 11 days.

The trumpet show at Edmonds Landing happened on the Friday (31st) after the nation had observed the national holiday four days earlier (27th). Patriotic feelings were still high. Awareness and memories of those who died in military service to our country were still high. Nancy Thomas, Lifestyle Director was right to book this show at this time. The residents are proud of America. They are blessed, they know it, and they are grateful for our freedom. They sang “America the Beautiful” and the other songs, and together, we stood for the flag.

Edmonds Landing Retirement Community (ELRC)

ELRC is located about four blocks southeast of the Washington state ferry dock in Edmonds. It is one of 9 communities in Washington operated by Frontier Management, founded in 2000 and based in Portland, Oregon. Frontier Management operates 90 communities in 16 states. One-third of those are in Oregon. Please see https://frontiermgmt.com/ and https://edmondslanding.com/.

Built in 2001, ELRC offers both independent and assisted living. It has 83 apartments with three different layouts: studio with alcove and one- bedroom (Types A & B). The main difference between Types A & B is the access to the bedroom and bathroom. Please see the floor plan drawings below. These and the photos are courtesy of Edmonds Landing. Please click on any image to enlarge it.

 

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Milestone—My 200th Sounding of “Taps”—at Rotary Club, Mercer Island

Posted by glennled on June 17, 2019

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Glenn Ledbetter, VFW Post 1040 Bugler, sounds “Taps” for 200th time, 5-28-2019.

On Monday, 27 May, the nation observed Memorial Day, and I sounded “Taps” at Veterans Park in Lynnwood. The next day, I sounded it twice. In the morning, it was for a Hmong pilot who fought with America in the Vietnam War. The ceremony was held at the Hero’s Café in the Verdant Community Wellness Center in Lynnwood. In the afternoon, it was for those Americans who died while in military service, as remembered by members of the Rotary Club on Mercer Island. That ceremony was held at a luncheon in the Mercer Island Community Center, and it was the 200th time I’ve sounded “Taps” during the 9 years that I have been VFW Post 1040 Bugler. As usual, I used by lovely Getzen bugle at both ceremonies.

It’s a significant milestone for me, but buglers who live near a national or state veterans cemetery quickly and easily surpass my number. Some buglers have sounded “Taps” more than 5,000 times!

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Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos (L) and Glenn Ledbetter (R

Let’s see—the first of my 200 was on 16 July 2011. Let’s call it 9 years ago. That’s an average of about 22 per year. Q: At that rate, how many more years will it take me to reach 5,000 soundings? A: 218. Q: How old will I be then? A: Almost 300. Forget it…trying for some goals just isn’t worth it.

I lived on Mercer Island for 34 years and served on the City’s Planning Commission for 10. It was Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos, Chaplain at Covenant Shores Retirement Community, who invited me to sound “Taps” after his short speech at the end of the Rotary Club luncheon. Please see https://glennstrumpetnotes.com/2018/05/24/trumpet-show-at-covenant-shores-retirement-community-on-mercer-island/.

Photos are by Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos.

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Bugle Calls: “Assembly,” “Echo Taps” and “To the Color” on Memorial Day at Veterans Park, Lynnwood, 2019

Posted by glennled on June 16, 2019

 

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Honor Guard, VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood. Photo by Lynnwood Today.

This is the 8th straight year that I have sounded the bugle calls at the Memorial Day ceremonies held at Veterans Park in downtown Lynnwood, home of VFW Post 1040 (please see https://vfw1040.org/). For me, it’s the most important military ceremony because it honors those who died while in military service of the United States of America, “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” This holiday traces its roots back to the Civil War.

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NW Jr. Pipe Band. Photo by Lynnwood Today.

On 27 May, in beautiful weather, about 250 people gathered remember and render their respect and honor. It appeared to be the largest crowd in my years with VFW Post 1040. On my superb Getzen bugle, I sounded “Echo Taps” with my former trumpet student, Zach Wilson, now a junior at North Creek High School in Bothell. In addition, I sounded the bugle calls “Assembly” (to start the program) and “To the Color” (at noon, after the ceremony, when the flag was raised to full staff).

Recently, I purchased the DVD,  “D-Day 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition” of Steven Spielberg’s 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan. [It has now been 75 years since D-Day.] Please see https://www.amazon.com/Saving-Private-Ryan-Two-Disc-Special/dp/B0001NBLVI/ref=sr_1_2?crid=VJH9Z74BFRWH&keywords=saving+private+ryan+dvd&qid=1559912600&s=movies-tv&sprefix=saving%2Caps%2C203&sr=1-2

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Legion of Honor, Nile Shrine Center. Photo by Lynnwood Today.

When I’ve watched the film in the past in the theater and on TV, I’ve never been able to hear what Capt. John Miller whispered to Private Ryan just before Miller died. I bought the DVD for two reasons: to listen carefully to (a) Miller’s dying whispers and (b) what Ryan says to his wife years later when, as an old man, he and his family visit the American cemetery at Normandy.

Miller’s dying words are “James, earn this. Earn it.” Ryan says to his wife, “Tell me I’ve led a good life.” She responds, “What?” He says, “Tell me I’m a good man.” She replies, “You are.” My, oh, my, how much I admire my parents’ generation!—it was termed The Greatest Nation by Tom Brokaw.

Among other things, the film reminds me of the last stanza of the WWI poem, “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae:

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Photo by Lynnwood Today.

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Zach Wilson (L) and Glenn Ledbetter (R)

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In the film, both Miller and Ryan took up the torch—they lived and died carrying the torch for freedom. There is a saying today which I first heard from Raelynn Ricarte (please see my blog post of 20 July 2016). At a Memorial Day ceremony in 2016, she said, “Be an American worth dying for.”

Private Ryan tried to live up to the archetypal charge delivered to us all by McCrae, Miller, and Ricarte. Another Memorial Day—the bugle calls us to honor them and always remain grateful for their sacrifices and our heritage.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Trumpet Show at University House, Wallingford in Seattle on Memorial Day Weekend

Posted by glennled on June 13, 2019

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From the moment I arrived at University House, Wallingford (UHW) on 26 May in Seattle, I felt that things here were special. I parked in the gated garage, went up to the lobby, and was ushered into the Olympic Auditorium by Beth Sutton, Life Enrichment Director, there to find an elevated stage with the American flag correctly placed of the left, from the audience’s perspective. Perfect for my trumpet show, “I Stand for the Flag.”

It was Memorial Day weekend. For one hour, I played 25 patriotic marches and songs and told a few jokes to an enthusiastic audience of about 40, including several veterans. I used four horns and four mouthpieces (two for my trumpets and bugle and two for my cornet). Judging from the sing-a-long participation, applause, laughs, comments, and compliments, it was a success. They went away happy, and so did I.

University House, Wallingford (UHW)

UHW was developed in 1997 by Eli and Rebecca Almo, real estate developers specializing in retirement communities. They now have a family of 8 such communities in the Greater Seattle area (please see http://www.eraliving.com). The sister community to UHW is University House, Issaquah (please see my blog post of 30 March 2019). Both communities have affiliations with the UW Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work and the UW Retirement Association for the benefit of their residents. There is an emphasis in their programs and services on a “lifetime of learning.” Please see http://www.eraliving.com/about/health-wellness-partnerships/.

UHW has 146 maintenance-free, senior residences in one or two-bedroom floor plans, with 22 different layouts to choose from at current prices ranging from $3,640 to $6,770 per month. Please see http://www.eraliving.com/communities/wallingford/floor-plans/.

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UHW Garden

Amenities:

  • Elegant restaurant with flexible dining options, featuring various cuisines and in-house chef
  • Vibrant Life Enrichment program
  • Wellness and Active Aging programs
  • On-site Wellness Center staffed by a nurse and caregivers
  • Emergency call and daily check-in system
  • Weekly housekeeping and linen services
  • Maintenance services
  • Group transportation
  • Access to public transit
  • Personal transportation services*
  • Full service, on-site salon and massage therapy*
  • Resident* and guest parking
  • Large fitness center with various fitness programs and access to a personal trainer
  • EnhanceFitness classes
  • Large, professionally maintained library
  • Beautiful garden courtyard, lush landscaping, and al-fresco dining
  • Business Center with internet access
  • Auditorium for large gatherings and events
  • Private meeting rooms
  • Professionally curated art collections

*Additional fee.

UHW-Lobby

UHW Lobby

Residence Features:

  • Private balconies available in most residences
  • Cable TV and internet access
  • Full kitchens
  • Easy-access adjustable shower
  • Individually controlled heating
  • All utilities except telephone
  • Emergency call system
  • Additional storage available
  • Pet-friendly

Photos are courtesy of University House, Wallingford. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Trumpet Show, “I Stand for the Flag,” at Ida Culver House Broadview in North Seattle

Posted by glennled on June 9, 2019

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Entrance, Ida Culver House, Broadview in North Seattle

 

On 21 May, I gave my first performance of my trumpet show, “I Stand for the Flag,” a collection of 25 patriotic marches, songs, a bugle call, and a hymn. The venue was Ida Culver House, Broadview, a retirement community in north Seattle. For one hour, I entertained the residents with pieces such as “Semper Fidelis,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,” “Over There,” “Shenandoah,” “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” (The Navy Hymn), “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful,” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

The residents sang along and, in between songs, laughed (or groaned) at my jokes. I introduced each song with a wee bit of information about it, such as when it was written by whom or with what branch of the service it is associated or what famous singers made recordings of it, etc.

Dressed in my VFW uniform, I used four Bb instruments: my Getzen trumpet, Super Olds cornet, Getzen bugle, and Jupiter pocket trumpet.

On the bugle, I sounded my favorite call, “Tattoo,” which nightly is played 15 minutes before “Taps,” which signals lights out at 10 p.m. For the mournful “Shenandoah,” I played my cornet with a Denis Wick 4 mouthpiece which makes it sound like a flugelhorn. For “The Navy Hymn,” I used my regular Bach 8C cornet mouthpiece. My Jupiter pocket trumpet was my choice for playing “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” And for the marches and most other pieces, I used my Getzen Eterna Severinsen trumpet (please see my blog post of 14 December 2015), with either a Bach 8C or Bach 1.5C mouthpiece. For me, the 8C plays easier in the high range, and the 1.5C does better in the low range.

Ida Culver House, Broadview (ICHB)

This retirement community is part of the Era Living family of 8 such communities in the Greater Seattle area (please see https://www.eraliving.com/communities/broadview/). ICHB offers facilities and services for independent, assisted living, skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation, and memory care. Stephanie Butler, Life Enrichment Coordinator, offered me this opportunity to entertain the ICHB residents.

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Private cottage residences

ICHB has 245 residences with floor plans ranging from studios and three-bedroom apartments to single family cottages with garages! From some vantage points, there are breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Residents enjoy a lavishly landscaped garden courtyard, refreshing saltwater pool, elegant décor, and fine dining.

Amenities include:

  • Vibrant Life Enrichment programs
  • Café Bistro and billiards
  • Elegant restaurant with an in-house chef
  • On-site Wellness Center staffed by a nurse and caregivers
  • Emergency call and daily check-in system
  • Weekly housekeeping and linen services
  • Maintenance services
  • Personal* and group transportation
  • Access to public transit
  • EnhanceFitness classes
  • Swimming pool & spa
  • Beautiful outdoor amenities, lush garden, and terrace seating
  • Full-service, on-site beauty salon and massage therapy studio*
  • Library and Media Room
  • Fireside lounge
  • Professionally curated art collections
  • Resident garage* & street level parking available

* Additional fee

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Fitness class

Residence Features include:

  • Full kitchens
  • Cable TV and internet access
  • All utilities except telephone
  • Easy-access shower
  • Bath tubs in select residences
  • Individually controlled heating
  • Washer & dryer in select apartments
  • Private decks or patios in select residences
  • Emergency call system
  • Additional storage available
  • Pet-friendly

Sample Floor Plans and Starting Monthly Fees: please see https://www.eraliving.com/communities/broadview/floor-plans/.

Photos are courtesy of Ida Culver House, Broadview. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Taps” and “The Navy Hymn” for Burials-at-Sea in Puget Sound Off the Ferry, Spokane

Posted by glennled on May 11, 2019

 

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“Let me go”—Joseph P. Doyon, 1922-2018

 

At about 9:50 a.m. on Saturday, 4 May, the Washington State Ferry, Spokane, enroute from Edmonds to Kingston, cut her engines and drifted for about five minutes in the ebb tide of Puget Sound while the ashes of Joseph P. Doyon and his oldest son, Paul, were committed to the sea. Joe died on 13 September 2018, age 95. His last home was in Tigard, Oregon, and his funeral service was held at Finley Sunset Hills Park and Mortuary in Portland on 7 October 2018. Paul died on 9 December 2017, age 62.

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Glenn Ledbetter plays “The Navy Hymn” aboard the ferry, Spokane

Joe was a World War II Navy veteran who participated in the D-Day landing at Normandy. I sounded “Taps” on my Getzen bugle, and the ferry captain gave three long blasts of the ship’s whistle in honor of him. As the ferry engines powered up and the ferry came up to speed, I closed the ceremony by playing “The Navy Hymn” on my Getzen trumpet. The family sang two verses:

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly
And those who on the ocean ply;
Be with our troops upon the land,
And all who for their country stand:
Be with these guardians day and night
And may their trust be in thy might.

Dale, Joe’s younger son, and his wife, Michelle, arranged this event. Michelle said that Joe loved to fish, golf and dance and was very sociable all his life. She called him a great man with many friends, a very hard worker, and a true gentleman. He spent many years writing the memoirs of his four years in the Navy and his WWII experiences. Dale intends to publish them soon. Michelle said that had Joe attended his own burial-at-sea ceremony, he would have said, “This is Marvelous!”

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Joe Doyon is standing (center) with pistol in hand during the Normandy invasion, 6 June 1944. The caption reads, “German prisoners were carried back to the west bank of the Rhine in landing boats. Prisoners on the boat fish some comrades out of the drink.”

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Joseph Paul Doyon, 1922-2018, U.S. Navy veteran, WWII

Fourteen family members attended; one daughter, JoAnn Watson, traveled from Arizona. Among others taking photos was a step-grandson, Matthew, an Eagle Scout and a trumpeter.

Joe was born in Augusta, Maine in 1922, and served in the Navy from 1943-1946. He became a Motor Machinist Mate Second Class. At age 21, he was aboard one of the first amphibious landing boats at Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944. Joe was awarded many medals (see photo). He was a member of the U.S. LST Association (see https://www.uslst.org/). He lived in Edmonds, Washington for about 45 years and had a 41-year career at University Swaging, shaping and joining metals for its clients. In 1987, he retired as Vice President and Manager of the Boat Division. He also lived for several years on a houseboat on Lake Union. Joe and Paul often fished in Appletree Cove and off Apple Cove Point near Kingston. It was Joe’s favorite spot. Paul’s death was devastating to his father. Joe had six children (two boys and four girls), four step-children, 12 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

Burial-at-Sea Memorial Services

If approved by the Washington State Ferry Service, burial-at-sea memorial services are free but subject to the ferry captain’s final discretion due to weather or unforeseen operational issues. Cancelled services may be moved to another vessel or rescheduled. Advanced reservations are required, and memorials are permitted on six routes only: IMG_2884 (2)

  • Seattle/Bremerton
  • Seattle/Bainbridge
  • Edmonds/Kingston
  • Mukilteo/Clinton
  • Anacortes/Friday Harbor/Orcas
  • Port Townsend/Coupeville

Permissible times are during non-peak hours only:

  • Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday/Sunday, prior to 10 a.m.

Ashes must be contained in so-called “journey urns” which dissolve quickly after being dropped in the water.

Reflections

Memorial ceremonies call us, compel us, to reflect upon our own mortality. Each person who participated in or witnessed the Doyon burial-at-sea had his/her own memories and thoughts about the deceased father and son, life, and death. I did not know the Doyons, but here are my personal thoughts, brought up from the deep to the surface of me by this burial-at-sea.

First, Joe’s military service. I am immensely grateful to Joe and his generation. Without their values and fortitude, we Americas probably would now be speaking German or Japanese. Joe was a veteran who served with honor and survived D-Day. And as Jose N. Harris wrote, “A Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life.” And as Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” And as Raelynn Ricarte of Hood River, Oregon, who lost her son, a Marine Corps Captain, says, “Be an American worth dying for.” The Doyon family lost such a man—Joe. I bugle for such men and women. IMG_4135

Second, Joe’s disappearance. Through cremation, the major parts of the bodies of Joe and Paul were combusted, vaporized, and oxidized. Their ashes (mostly pulverized bone fragments) have now been separated, mixed and scattered in 3-D salt water. Their particles may someday settle to the sea bottom, or circulate in the North Pacific gyre, or be taken up into the atmosphere and fall again in the rain on a distant continent or ocean, circulating here and there around the globe throughout the ages. At various times in various places, their particles probably will be chemically broken down into their inherent molecules and even reformed into other compounds. By choice, Joe’s and Paul’s bodies are no more, vanished without trace, except in memories and images. “Let me go” was Joe’s last message, expressed in the program at his funeral service in Portland last fall. Last Saturday, his and Paul’s ashes blended with nature.

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Dale and Michelle Doyon hold Dale’s father’s ashes in the biodegradable urn as the ferry, Spokane, approaches the Edmonds landing

Third, Joe’s life lessons for me—the afterlife. Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there” (Job 1:21). God said to Adam, “…for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen 3:19). But wait—the assemblages of organic matter that were identified as Joe and Paul are disintegrated, lost, gone. And my body, also, will be cremated. But wait again—Joe left his memoirs. Was he a believer? I don’t know. But it’s clear that Joe pondered such things in his heart. There is a saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” In other words (according to the saying), when under extreme stress, all people believe in, hope for, even call upon and appeal to a higher power. Joe certainly had been in the line of fire. How did it form him or change him, spiritually? Perhaps his memoirs will tell us.

But wait yet again—Joe is gone. I will follow, but for now, I’m still here, still vertical, still thinking, feeling, and kicking, “Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive,” as the Bee Gees sing. Is death the end of me? C.S. Lewis said, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Ah! Despite cremation and even burial-at-sea, our distinct, individual identities, our being, are preserved.

Change is the only constant in life, said Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher. “To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). And Lord Alfred Tennyson writes in his poem, The Brook, about how the water keeps on flowing after we are gone. The brook is the narrator:

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

“Change…a season…a time…heaven…forever…” The tide comes in and goes out. Day changes to night, and winter passes into spring. Years turn into eons. Millions multiply into billions, and so on. We die, and life goes on without us. But no, ultimately, the brook also will not survive. Scientists say that Earth itself will be consumed by the expanding Sun. The Sun, too, will die. The whole Milky Way Galaxy will be swallowed by a Black Hole. Everything—an atom, a toothpick, an aircraft carrier, a solar system, a galaxy—has a life cycle. Perhaps even a Black Hole. Perhaps even our entire universe. But, by definition, not Heaven. There dwells the Absolute, the Infinite, the great I AM, in Eternity. Endless time. No more cycles. Everlasting life in love, peace and joy. Justice—the triumph of Good. The promised ideal, made possible only by Grace.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

In his song, “Gotta Serve Somebody,” Bob Dylan sings:

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“Laughing Jesus” by Segura

“You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls…

“You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

“You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody”

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalms 53:1). Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:44). In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:2-3). Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27). Then he [one of the two criminals who were crucified with Jesus] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed…O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (I Corinthians 15:52,55).

Photos are courtesy of the Doyon family. Please click on any photo below to enlarge it.

Posted in Ceremonies & Celebrations | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Five Trumpet Pieces for the Mark R. Heglund (65) Funeral at Evergreen-Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on March 2, 2019

Last week, the weather forecast for Thursday, 28 February, was for snow. Oh, no! I was booked to play three pieces at the funeral service of Mark Richard Heglund (65) at Evergreen-Washelli Funeral Home and Cemetery in north Seattle. One piece would be inside the chapel, and the other two would be outdoors. Thankfully, it turned out to be a sunny-bright day with a clear, deep-blue sky and a cool, calm 45 degrees. Perfect! IMG_2782

The program called for a trio to present “Pie Jesu” by Andrew Lloyd Webber—Laurie Geyer (soprano soloist), accompanied by Laurie McFarland (pianist) and me on my Getzen trumpet (see my blog post of 14 December 2015). Laurie sang in Latin, and the title, Pie Jesu (Pious Jesus) is usually translated, “O Sweet Jesus.” Here, He is asked for forgiveness, mercy, peace and rest.

Mark’s surviving sister, Helene (Heglund) Reed, chose the music. I was referred to her by the very professional funeral director, Ryan Rasmussen. She gave a moving eulogy for her older brother and presented a lovely video about him and their family. He was born on 15 May 1953 and died on 11 February 2019, after suffering during his last years from cancer and pneumonia. He was a successful commercial real estate agent, investor, developer, and landlord. He loved basketball, Seattle Supersonics, Golden State Warriors, demolition, Chinook’s Restaurant, University Presbyterian Church, family, friends, people, jokes, road trips, art history, antiques, trumpet, Herb Alpert, and Jesus. Mark was a gifted musician, playing drums and trumpet in the school band. In Boy Scouts, he loved “Reveille” and “Taps” and earned the “esteemed Eagle Scout rank.” A good man who lived a good life. While I’m no Herb Alpert, I am grateful to have been chosen to play Mark’s favorite instrument at his memorial service.

When the service ended and the pallbearers carried the casket to the coach waiting outside the chapel, I played “Amazing Grace.” At the grave site, I played the bugle call, “Funeral March,” as the pallbearers carried the casket to the grave. There, Laurie (Mark’s cousin), sang “The Lord’s Prayer.” At the close of the service, I played “Il Silenzio” (The Silence), a song written in 1965 by Italian trumpeter, Nini Rosso, which became a worldwide hit and is now a standard.

Finally, as the casket was lowered into the grave, I played “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” One of the verses has been translated from the Latin thus:

O come, O Branch of Jesse’s tree,
free them from Satan’s tyranny
that trust thy mighty power to save,
and give them victory o’er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

Here are links to some worldwide favorite renditions of “Pie Jesu” and “Il Silenzio”:

Pie Jesu https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=K6RSB39DMfM

Il Silenzio:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmK-uaYFBJc

 

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“Taps” for Laurence Joseph Mensing (70), Career Army Specialist

Posted by glennled on February 22, 2019

 

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Once in awhile, a memorial service stands out as special among the many others at which I have sounded “Taps” during the past 10 years for a deceased veteran and his family and friends. Such was the case on Sunday, 10 February at Purdy & Walters Funeral Home at Floral Hills in Lynnwood.

It was between snowstorms that we gathered in the chapel at 1 p.m. to remember and honor Laurence Joseph (“Larry Joe”) Mensing, who passed away in Mountlake Terrace on 21 January 2019. His son, Joe, had contacted me through Bugle Across America (BAA) for “Taps.” The officant was Anne Jenny, herself a veteran. Two of Larry Joe’s younger brothers and a niece spoke about his important impacts upon their lives. Their IMG_2701testimonies were emotional, even tearful. He was clearly adored and honored by his family and friends. One brother, with choked, cracking voice, said Larry Joe was his best friend and talked about how the Army had changed his older brother into a dignified gentleman. Another brother, pounding the podium and mourning the loss, said that all his life, he wanted to be just like Larry Joe. The niece said Larry Joe was known for pranks and teasing, and from a young age, she was always certain that he loved her.

Born and raised in Montana, Specialist (SPC) Mensing had joined the Army in 1968 and served almost 24 years. Afterwards, he was an active member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He met his wife, Yoko Makishi, while stationed at Fort Buckner, Okinawa. They were married 45 years and had four children and six grandchildren. She preceded him in death. “After retiring,” reads the program, “more than anything ‘G-PA’ ala ‘Pa Pa’ loved spending time with family and friends.” He was the family leader. IMG_2720

The Army Honor Guard consisted of 9 soldiers; I had never seen so many at such a ceremony. They fired the three-volley rifle salute, and as six of them held the flag level above the casket, I sounded “Taps” on my beautiful Getzen bugle with the BAA engraving on the bell (see my blog post of 4 May 2015).

Later, as I watched the audience file out of the chapel, there were lots of red eyes and wet cheeks. They could not hold back. He was that beloved. On leaving, I went up to Joe, who held the flag in his arms. We shook hands, and I thanked him for the honor and privilege of sounding “Taps.” Like the others, his eyes were wet and red. RIP, Larry Joe. You were Special.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Who Was Arthur F. Church?

Posted by glennled on February 5, 2019

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A bugler’s headstone among the 5,000 graves in Evergreen-Washelli’s Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Seattle, including seven Medal of Honor recipients

 

For seven years (2011-17), I always stood in one spot to sound “Taps” at the annual Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony, held each December at Evergreen-Washelli’s Veterans Cemetery in north Seattle. That one spot is among about 5,000 veterans’ graves. It’s right next to one gravestone that had become quite special to me. I had developed a fond image of the man buried there. But this year, the ceremony was moved farther west within the cemetery (please see my blog post of 15 January 2019). I missed my old spot near my departed comrade from “Auld Lang Syne” (old times gone by). I knew his name but not his story.

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WWI U.S. Army recruitment poster for the horse cavalry

I first sounded “Taps” at the WAA ceremony on 10 December 2011. Prior to the ceremony, as the Honor Guard (rifle team) of VFW Post 1040 lined up along the sidewalk leading uphill to the Chimes Tower, I searched nearby among the hundreds of gravestones for a spot to stand. It’s important to be close to them but not so close that the ejected shell casings might hit you. Also, you want to be visible by the ceremony’s participants and audience.

I made my choice, positioned myself there, and waited for my cue. During the ceremony, I started to read the round-top gravestones nearby. To my left, I saw this inscription: “Arthur F. Church, Idaho, Bugler…”

Imagine that—how rare, how unusual! In my life, I’ve learned to pay close attention to such coincidences. Immediately, I was curious. Churchwas he a Christian believer? Idahosince 1851, when the first settlers built cabins on Alki Point, hundreds of thousands of people, including me, have moved to Seattle from everywhere. Born 28 October 1889America entered WWI in April 1917, when he was 27. Died 10 January 1945only four months afterwards came WWII’s Victory-in-Europe (V-E) Day. He was only 55 when he died. Had he been wounded in the war? Buglers were special targets; kill a bugler, and you disrupt your enemy’s communications. And there I was, 66 years later at age 71, standing near his marker, near his grave, near his remains, waiting to sound “Taps” at a ceremony meant to honor all those like him, who served.

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Glenn Ledbetter sounds “Taps” near headstone of Arthur F. Church, Bugler, in Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen Washelli, 2012

So, every time I’ve played “Taps” at any subsequent military ceremony near the Chimes Tower, that’s where I’ve always stood—next to Arthur. And lately, I’ve begun to ponder—Who was Arthur F. Church, Idaho, Bugler, 109th Infantry, 28th Division?

After much searching on the internet, I learned a lot about him. I read about the regiment and the division, his active duty in the military, his family including two brothers, one sister, and six half-siblings, his two wives but no children, his work, his troubles with narcotics and the law, his early death, and more. Let me focus on bugling because that’s what we have in common.

I had imagined that he might have been a career musician, perhaps even playing cornet in a military band. But it appears that Arthur was drafted into the Army toward the end of WWI and served only one year. He enlisted on 24 May 1918, and was discharged on 20 May 1919. The Armistice (cease fire agreement) that ended WWI was signed on 11 November 1918. He already was a married man. He had married Florence Strike in Wallace, Idaho on 2 April 1917. Did he play a brass instrument before entering the service? I don’t know. In any case, the Army made him a bugler, and apparently, that’s all the bugling he ever did.

Census records in 1920 and 1930 indicate that after the war, he lived as a lodger in Seattle and worked as a miner and a hook tender in the regrading industry. Other public records describe him thus at age 34: height 5’6″, weight 144 lbs, dark brown hair, brown eyes, medium build, ruddy complexion, with gold-crowned, upper left molar teeth and scars on the back of his head, right hand, and right thigh. Arthur seems to have had a “hard-knock life,” as the song goes in the musical, Annie.

Did he serve in Europe? Was he ever in combat? Did he ever sound bugle calls in battle—“To Arms, Charge, Retreat, Commence Firing, Cease Firing,” and more?  Or did he, like me, sound only those used in the daily routine and at ceremonies—“Reveille, Mess, Sick, School, Church, Assembly, Drill, Dress Parade, To the Color, Officers’ Call, Adjutants’ Call, Tattoo, Taps, Funeral March,” and more? Either way, it was important. As the soldiers said, “How else would we all know when to wake up and go to chow?”

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Bugle that sounded end of WWI, courtesy of National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.

There is a book that covers all the calls that every 1918 U.S. military bugler had to know. It’s by V.F. Safranek and was published in 1918 in New York by Carl Fischer, 158 pages. It’s entitled, Complete Instructive Manual for Bugle, Trumpet and Drum. Now we know what Arthur F. Church, Bugler, knew.

In addition, I own two other excellent bugle call books:

  • 67 Bugle Calls As Practiced in the Army and Navy of the United States, New Edition published by Carl Fischer in 1998. It is based upon John Philip Sousa’s A Book of Instruction for the Field Trumpet [Bugle] and Drum, also published by Carl Fischer in 1886.
  • Infantry Bugle Calls of the American Civil War, authored by George Rabbai and published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc. in 1998. Forty-nine bugle calls are included, as well as narration, spoken commands, and anecdotes and stories from the accounts of infantry soldiers.
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American WWI buglers, including Leo Foster (right)

Arthur’s father is buried in Port Townsend, WA. His mother, older brother, and at least three of his half-siblings are buried at Evergreen-Washelli.

On 4 September 1945, Evergreen-Washelli applied for a military, upright marble headstone for Arthur. It was approved, shipped, and installed amongst his fellow veterans, as shown in the accompanying photos. Why does the inscription reference the state of Idaho? It might just be a clerical error because his Company D, 109th Regiment, 28th Division was neither created nor stationed in Idaho. They’re out of Pennsylvania. Neither was Arthur born in Idaho; he was born in South Dakota. But perhaps it was simply because Arthur probably was living with his bride in Idaho when he was drafted.

The next time I sound “Taps” near the Chimes Tower in Veterans Memorial Cemetery, I’ll again stand next to Arthur F. Church, whose gravestone bears the cross above his name.

Let me express my gratitude to Mary Ann Fuller, my primary information source, and to Karen Sipe for additional information presented in this article. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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My 45th Student Is Only 70 Years Old

Posted by glennled on February 2, 2019

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Olds Ambassador cornet in its original case with 1962 Indiana state trumpet competition medal pinned inside the lid (left)

Why does the above headline read, “only 70 years old”? Well, because my student #26 was an 81-year old retired engineer (see my blog post of 18 February 2016), and my student #38 was a 76-year old retired Army veteran (see my blog post of 17 November 2017). The 81-year old played a Kanstul cornet, and the veteran played a Getzen bugle. My new student (#45) plays an Olds Ambassador cornet, and as you may remember, I still play a Super Olds cornet given to me by my parents when I entered high school in 1954.

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Olds Ambassador cornet, c. 1961

On 27 December 2018, I had my first private lesson with Victor Snyder at his home in the Bryant neighborhood in Seattle, east of the University of Washington. In fact, in 2015, he retired from UW, where after 20 years of employment, he was the Associate Director, Career Counseling Center [now, Career and Internship Center]. Now that he’s retired, he wants to play cornet again.

The first time Vic played his cornet was when he was a 7th and 8th grade student at St. Pius Catholic School in Tell City, Indiana. In 1962, while in the 8th grade, he won a state solo competition, was graded “superior,” and was awarded a medal by the Indiana School Music Association. He performed “The Pals” polka by George D. Barnard (see photo). The next year, as a freshman, he started taking band at Tell City High School but then dropped it. Nevertheless, his mother saved his cornet and his music, thinking that since he was talented, he might someday take it up again. I’m sure that would make her happy and proud again.

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“The Pals” polka by George D. Barnard can be played as either a solo or duet with piano accompaniment

After high school, Vic earned a Bachelors degree at Kent State University in Ohio, served a tour in the U.S. Navy including being stationed on Whidbey Island in Washington, and then earned a Masters degree at the University of Washington in 1976.  The next time he played his cornet was in 1989, twenty-seven years after winning that medal. He took private lessons for about half a year. The tutor assigned him only exercises in Arbans Complete Conservatory Method: Trumpet, but he wanted to play songs, too. As everyone knows, Arbans is a wonderful instruction book and even contains many old songs, but it is designed for advanced students, not beginners or re-starters. He became bored and frustrated and stopped the lessons.

Now, Vic is taking up the horn once again, simply for his own pleasure. Eventually, he might join a combo with a friend and/or play with a community band and such—or not. He’s really doing this to please himself. He found me through http://www.takelessons.com. His weekly lessons are one-hour long, and he often practices twice a day. He’s working his way through two exercise books that are more appropriate for his current performance level:

  • Rubank Elementary Level, Cornet or Trumpet by A. F. Robinson.
  • Progressive Beginner Trumpet by Peter Gelling.

The skills are coming back, but in addition, Vic is learning much more than he ever did. He knows that I host an annual recital in my home in late May or early June. Perhaps by then, he will be able to play “The Pals” again, but if he wants to play something else, we’ll find the right thing. I’m betting that his mom, who passed away in 2005, would be proud to hear him once more—after all, he’s only 70 and has many more miles yet to go.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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