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Posts Tagged ‘bugler’

Six Bugle Calls at Memorial Day, D-Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day Ceremonies at Shoreline Veterans Recognition Plaza

Posted by glennled on July 29, 2020

Veterans Recognition Plaza, Shoreline, WA
On Flag Day, Dwight N. Stevens, WWII veteran, was honored with a wreath as his son, Larry Stevens, holds his hand over his heart. “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” was played, the Honor Guard (background) fired three volleys, and “Taps” was sounded. Photo by Denise Frisino.

During a recent six-week span, Shoreline City Hall was the scene of four major military ceremonies held outdoors at the adjacent Veterans Recognition Plaza which was dedicated on 21 May 2016. The ceremonies were organized and led by a Shoreline resident, Major General Ray Coffey, United States Volunteer Joint Service Command (USVJSC)

  • 25 May – Memorial Day
  • 6 June – D-Day
  • 14 June – Flag Day and 246th birthday of U.S. Army
  • 4 July – Independence Day and 244th birthday of USA

Participating in these ceremonies reminded me that, of course, the Army was formed before the United States became an independent nation. We had to fight a war to win independence. On 14 June 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the enlistment of riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year. On the next day, George Washington was chosen as Commander-in-Chief and assigned the rank of General.

Major participants in the various ceremonies included members of the USVJSC, U.S. Army Reserve Command, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, VFW Post 3348 (Shoreline), VFW Post 1040 (Lynnwood), American Legion Post 0227 (Shoreline), NW Junior Pipe Band, Boy Scout Troop 312 (Edmonds), and veterans of all five military branches.

When called upon, the Honor Guard of VFW Post 1040 fired the three-volley salutes at these ceremonies. Likewise, when called upon, I sounded up to six bugle calls: Assembly, To the Color, Adjutant’s Call, Flourish for Review (“Ruffles”), Taps, and Echo Taps. On 4 July, a Boy Scout who has earned the Bulger Merit Badge sounded both Echo Taps with me and To the Color (solo). I used my Getzen bugle, and he used his trumpet. He is now an 8-grader at Madrona School in Edmonds and sounds Taps with the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard at funeral services. Symphony Aimes sang “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” at the Independence Day ceremony.

Please click to enlarge a photo.

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“Taps” Twice at Veterans Day Ceremonies at Crystal Springs Elementary School in Bothell

Posted by glennled on December 4, 2019

 

Now and then, a song will pluck your heart strings in a special way. That happened to me when I first heard “We Honor You” by Roger Emerson, a prolific, award-winning composer and arranger of choral music with over 900 titles in print and 30,000 copies in circulation. He wrote this song in 2016 and told me, “I have always felt a huge debt to those who fought our wars.”

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“Taps,” alongside the CSES 4th grade choir

I was at Crystal Springs Elementary School (CSES) in Bothell to sound “Taps” at the close of two school assemblies on 8 November. At 9:40 a.m., the K, 3rd, and 4th grade choirs performed, and at 10:25 the 1st, 2nd, and 5th grade choirs did so, under the direction of Jane Lin, general music teacher. It was the 4th graders who sang “We Honor You.”

Afterwards, I emailed Mr. Emerson (please see http://www.rogeremerson.com) in appreciation of his words and music: “I’m a VFW Bugler and play various calls at many military ceremonies and funerals. I’ll admit that it now takes something unique to move my heart strings. Last Friday…I heard ‘We Honor You’ for the first time. I am a Vietnam vet. The young voices of the 4th grade choir singing your song really got to me. They sang with innocent voices about things they never experienced but I did. They have the freedom we fought for.”

Ms. Lin’s programs were unabashedly chocked full of patriotism. A Cub Scout Color Guard presented the flags, and the kids and the audience of about 300 parents, relatives and friends stood with hands over their hearts, reciting “The Pledge of Allegiance.” Altogether, counting both assemblies, the choirs sang 11 different songs:

Jane Lin & Glenn Ledbetter, CSES, 11-8-'19

Jane Lin and Glenn Ledbetter

  • I Love America
  • The Great Defenders
  • One Nation
  • We Won’t Forget
  • On Veterans Day
  • We Honor You
  • Thankful for the USA
  • Thank you to Our Veterans
  • Grand Old Flag
  • Thinking of You
  • Hallelujah (Veterans version), accompanied on guitar by Collin Sarchin, CSES general music teacher

The well-organized programs moved along smoothly and timely. The choirs were well-dressed and well-rehearsed. Their movements were well-choreographed. They sang with feeling, precision, and fun. They spoke and read their parts nicely. Everyone knew what was next, and they were ready for their turn on the program. They were engaged—not bored and drifting. And they clearly loved their leader. The sound system, slide show, and light controls functioned perfectly. If this were a military unit, we would say they were proud and ready. And so was I when I sounded “Taps” for them on my beautiful Getzen bugle—twice!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it. The video is courtesy of Jane Lin, Crystal Springs Elementary School.

First Assembly (9:40 a.m.)

 

Second Assembly (10:25)

 

Audience

 

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My 49th Trumpet Student Aims for Juanita High School Jazz Band, Kirkland

Posted by glennled on July 18, 2019

My 49th trumpet student found me online and signed up for 10 one-hour lessons. We started with the first one on 3 July. His immediate goal is to make the jazz band at Juanita High School (JHS) in Kirkland, where, at age 14, he will be a freshman in September. I’m all in—let’s go for it!

1[1] (2)What experience does he have? It’s good that there’re some musicianship in his family. His mother played flute and piccolo, and his older brother, a junior at JHS, plays saxophone. He started band classes in fourth grade at Thoreau Elementary School. When he got to Finn Hill Middle School, he joined the jazz band and played there for three years. Last year, he and another trumpeter usually took the solos. Also, he’s a Boy Scout bugler.

Where to start? I listened to him play. He has excellent range—above high C. His tone is solid but meek. His articulation is accurate. Naturally, he has some weaknesses and bad habits—who doesn’t, especially at his age? That’s why he’s taking lessons! But his attitude is good, and his spirit is pleasant and positive. He has ambition and loves trumpet. He wants to earn the Boy Scout’s Bugling Merit Badge. He fits my tutoring motto—“Become Your Best!”

Next, we considered his equipment. He rents a student-level trumpet and, in time, plans to move up to an intermediate horn. He has a few mouthpieces; we identified the one that gives him the highest range. Later, after school starts, we will identify the one that is the most versatile, responsive and comfortable in the range where he’ll be playing most often.

Third, I asked him what improvements he could make that would enhance his chances of being selected for jazz band. His answer: “dynamics.” To me, that says he wants to improve his technique so that his sound will be more expressive of feelings. In other words, he wants to be able to make the horn “cry and sing and inspire.” Won’t that be fun to teach!

So—I asked his mom to buy three books:

 

  • Mel Bay’s Complete Jazz Trumpet Book by William Bay, published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc.
  • 101 Jazz Songs: Trumpet by Hal Leonard Corporation
  • 67 Bugle Calls by Carl Fischer, New Edition

Next week, we’ll have our fourth one-hour lesson. School classes start in less than six weeks on Tuesday, 3 September. Here we go!

Incidentally, he is not my first trumpet student at JHS. Two others are featured in my blog post of 4 June 2013, which contains photos of the JHS Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Jazz Band at that time. To read about today’s band program at JHS, under the direction of Annemarie Smith, please see https://jhs.lwsd.org/activitiesathletics/performing-arts/band.

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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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“To the Color” and “Taps” at 5th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Edmonds Community College

Posted by glennled on June 10, 2019

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March to “Boots to Books” Monument. Photo by My Edmonds News.

 

The annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Edmonds Community College (ECC), held this year on 22 May at the Black Box Theatre, just keeps improving. This is the sixth such ceremony. The structure remains the same, and I think the execution is better. For one thing, Lt. Col. Jon Ramer, USAF (Ret.) was an excellent Master of Ceremonies. After his 25-year career, he is now the Veterans Event Coordinator for the City of Mill Creek. The excellent keynote speaker was Joe Wankelman, U.S. Army (Ret.).

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Myra Rintamaki, Gold Star Mother, escorted by Chris Szarek, Director, VRC. Photo by My Edmonds News.

There was a variety of music at various times in the program. Prior to the event, as the audience filed into their seats, the excellent five-member ECC Brass Ensemble played numerous pieces—two trumpets, French horn, trombone, and tuba, led by Stacey Eliason, ECC music faculty member. Peter Ali improvised on two of his flutes. Linda Kappus provided piano accompaniment as the audience sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” Toby Beard played three songs on the bagpipes. And I sounded two bugle calls, “To the Color,” and “Taps.” I’ve been the bugler at all six of these ECC ceremonies. I use my beloved Getzen bugle.

For more information (including photos) about this annual ceremony and its sponsor, the ECC Veterans Resource Center (VRC), please see my blog posts of:

  • 31 May 2018
  • 28 June 2017
  • 20 July 2016
  • 18 August 2015
  • 17 June 2014

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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Photo Gallery of Trumpeters and Buglers at 2018 Royal Military Tattoo, Edinburgh, Scotland

Posted by glennled on September 6, 2018

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On opening night, 3 August, my wife and I attended the 2018 Royal Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K. It’s a great show, and this is the third year we have attended (2014, 2017, 2018). This year, I shot more than 300 photos. By far the most prevalent musical instrument was the bagpipes, but there were lots of trumpeters and buglers, also, in the many bands. I got a few photos of some of them, and here are the better ones. Wouldn’t it be a thrill to play your trumpet or bugle at the Tattoo?!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Edmonds 4th of July Parade

Posted by glennled on July 15, 2018

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Color Guard, VFW Post 8870, Edmonds, 4th of July Parade, 2018. Photo by Nancy MacDonald.

 

2018, another year, another 4th of July Parade in Edmonds where I live. Each year I’m honored to march with other veterans near the front of the parade, carrying my bugle as VFW Post 1040 Bugler. This year, I got to carry the U.S. Navy flag, too, right behind the Color Guard from VFW Post 8870. As Michael Medved, radio talk show host says, the USA is “the greatest country on God’s green earth!” How lucky we are to live here in this, the best era in human history!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Flag-Changing Ceremony on Flag Day at Cristwood Park Retirement Community in Shoreline

Posted by glennled on July 11, 2018

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U.S. Joint Volunteer Service Command Color Guard from Shoreline prepares to hoist the new flag

With love and respect, Elizabeth Hudson takes good care of the flag that flies on the grounds of Cristwood Park Retirement Community in Shoreline, where she is the Life Enrichment Coordinator (please see https://cristaseniorliving.org/explore-retirement-lifestyles/communities/). Three years ago on 12 June 2014, Ms. Hudson hosted a similar flag-changing ceremony at which I sounded two bugle calls, and this year on 14 June, she did it again. Both times it was on our national Flag Day. (Please see my blog post of 28 June 2014.)

For me, however, there was a big difference in the two ceremonies—this year, starting about 30 minutes before the ceremony, Ms. Hudson let me play patriotic songs as the crowd of about 25 residents slowly gathered. Then during the ceremony, I first sounded “Retreat” as the U.S. Joint Volunteer Service Command Color Guard from Shoreline lowered and removed the old, worn flag, followed by “To the Color,” as they hoisted the new flag to full mast on the flagpole. Afterwards, she invited me to play several more songs as the crowd dispersed.

Nice weather, nice day, nice music, nice ceremony, nice flags. It’s nice to be the VFW Post 1040 (Lynnwood) Bugler. You get to do nice things like this for nice people.

Photos are courtesy of Cristwood Park Retirement Community. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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8th Annual “Wreaths Across America” Ceremony at Evergreen-Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 29, 2017

Air Force Master Sgt. Shanda De Anda salutes the wreath on which she just placed a flag (2)

Air Force Master Sgt. Shanda De Anda salutes the USAF wreath. Photo by Alan Berner, The Seattle Times.

On Saturday, 16 December 2017, a crowd gathered at Veterans Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli in north Seattle to participate in the Wreaths Across America (WAA) ceremony, along with 1,422 other participating locations nationwide. The ceremony is held annually on the 3rd Saturday in December.

Locally, it was the 8th annual WAA event, hosted by the Navy Wives Club of America (NWCA), Totem 277 (Seattle to Burlington), with Lorraine Zimmerman the emcee.
The guest speaker was Col. Anthony D. Babcock, USAF, Commander, 62nd Maintenance Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

At Arlington National Cemetery, more than 75,000 volunteers placed 244,700 wreaths (one for each marker there). It was the largest crowd since the tradition began in 1992. A network of hundreds of volunteer drivers trucked nearly 500 truckloads of  more than 1,565,000 remembrance wreaths to every state in the union.  Other dedicated volunteers committed countless hours to conduct this coordinated event that helps accomplish WAA’s mission to “Remember, Honor, and Teach.” Please see the WAA Official Facebook page and its website, http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/, as well as http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil.

VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood, supplied the Color Guard and Honor Guard (rifle team and bugler). I sounded “Taps” on my Getzen bugle at the close of the ceremony. The Post’s website is http://www.vfw1040.org.

For an 11-photo slideshow with captions by Alan Berner, The Seattle Times, please see https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-area-fallen-veterans-honored-in-wreaths-across-america-ceremonies.

For more information on both WAA and this local event, please see my past blog posts of:

  • 30 Dec 2016
  • 5 Feb 2016
  • 28 Apr 2015
  • 9 Jan 2013
  • 16 Dec 2011

These photos are courtesy of Alan Berner, The Seattle Times. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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