Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

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Posts Tagged ‘bugler’

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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My “Things Remembered” Show at SHAG Retirement Community in Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 20, 2017

 

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Glenn Ledbetter (background) plays trumpet and cornet in his one-hour show, “Things Remembered,” for SHAG’s Lynnwood City Center Senior Living residents

 

Last Saturday afternoon, 15 December 2017, about 45 people in a retirement community whom I’d never met came to hear me play trumpet. I had promised to perform a one-hour show for them, playing a mixture of 25 songs—12 Christmas songs and 13 songs from classic musicals and movies. I entitled my show “Things Remembered.”

I chose songs to induce them to remember different times and stages in their own lives. Here are some examples. One of the most beautiful songs ever written, “Over the Rainbow,” expresses our universal hopes and dreams about finding happiness and IMG_4631success, and “I’ve Got the World on a String” expresses our achievements of the same. But then, “Stormy Weather” expresses our feelings of failure and depression, while “Make Someone Happy” answers the question of how to make those Over-the-Rainbow dreams come true—love. For caring for babies, those helpless, totally dependent creatures we conceived, “Summertime” says it best.

The Christmas songs I played were to entice us to remember being a kid and later, having kids and grandkids. They tell us of the birth of our Savior. They renew our spirit, they spark new hopes and plans and joy and peace. My elderly audience sang the words from memory.

IMG_4641For thinking about retirement, I chose “When I’m Sixty-Four.” For feeling gratitude, I played “God Bless America.” For summing up our lives, I played the lovely, precious “What a Wonderful World,” and then finished with this earnest farewell, “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas.”

Amongst the songs, I worked in a dozen jokes that I have shared this year with my 12-year old granddaughter, who last Christmas gave me a whole book of jokes. And I offered a handout to the audience—a list of 50 jokes and riddles from that same book, so that they could share them with their own grandchildren. All 30 copies disappeared.

I played both my Getzen trumpet (Doc Severinsen model) and Super Olds cornet (63 years old). Sometimes I used a Harmon mute, as in “Santa Baby.” When I use a deep-cup mouthpiece with the cornet, it sounds like a flugelhorn. I tried to make my horns sing the lyrics of those lovely songs. IMG_4599

Their kind gifts totaled $20, which I then donated to VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood, where I am the Post Bugler.

 

SHAG’s Lynnwood City Center Senior Living

Senior Housing Assistance Group (SHAG) is a non-profit organization formed in 1988 and is the largest provider of affordable senior apartment homes in Washington State. SHAG offers some units at market rates with no tenant-income restrictions, and others which are for tenants living on limited incomes. In compliance with state and federal laws, SHAG gladly accepts Section 8d and VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) certificates and vouchers.

SHAG  communities serve more than 5,000 active, independent seniors in 25+ locations in the Puget Sound region, from Bellingham to Olympia, including eight locations in Seattle. These locations are near public transit hubs, retail shopping and public services.

All SHAG senior living communities have income and/or age restrictions that residents must meet in order to qualify for an apartment. The Lynnwood City Center Senior Living community serves seniors of all income levels who are 61 or older by the end of the IMG_4649 current year or 55 or older and disabled. The minimum lease term is 6 months, if available, but leases are generally for 12 months. The units are 1- and 2-bedroom size. Certain units have washer/dryer hookups and reserved garage parking. However, you need not own a car to live here. If you qualify, you can join SHAG’s Nissan Leaf Program and drive a so-called “company car.” Many SHAG residents contract with in-home care providers for housekeeping and medical help.

Amenities at Lynnwood City Center include courtyards, a rooftop deck, fully equipped fitness center, social room and TV lounge, craft and game room, business center, pea patch, rooftop dog run, free Wi-Fi in common areas, and social activities. Small pets, such as cats or dogs weighing 25 lbs. or less, are welcome. There is a two-pet maximum per household, and a $100 fee per pet is due at move-in. All pets are subject to approval.

You can reach SHAG’s Lynnwood City Center at www.shaglynnwood.com and 425-201-5284. For SHAG itself, the website is http://www.housing4seniors.com, telephone 1-844-592-SHAG (7424).

Photos are courtesy of SHAG’s Lynnwood City Center. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

 

 

 

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Annual “15 Minutes of Fame” at the Independence Day Parade in Edmonds

Posted by glennled on July 10, 2017

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Lynnwood Community Band plays the famous march, “Washington Post,” at Edmonds Independence Day Parade, 2017

“9-11” changed everything. As we veterans marched in the parade through the streets of downtown Edmonds on Independence Day, the crowd of thousands continuously clapped and cheered. To us on this perfect, sunny, 71-degree day, the parade was a shower of blessings such as we ordinary men and women undoubtedly will never experience for anything else in our lives. We are not sports or rock stars.

I wore my black and white POW-MIA t-shirt—“You Are Not Forgotten.” I carried my beautiful Getzen Field Trumpet, proud to be the VFW Post 1040’s Bugler.

This parade is our annual “fifteen minutes of fame,” and I will drink of this fountain again next year, God willing.

Photos by Nancy MacDonald and Janelle Squires. Please click on any photo below to enlarge it.

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Glenn, the Edmonds Trumpet Busker!

Posted by glennled on July 7, 2017

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Glenn Ledbetter, busking at Veterans Plaza in Edmonds. All donations ($128, so far) go to VFW.

I finally did it—public busking with my Getzen trumpet. It’s an idea that’s been germinating within me for a long time, especially since my wife and I enjoyed listening to a grisly, picturesque old accordion player on the bridge crossing the River Wear in Durham, England in August, 2014, and to a dandy Scottish bagpiper blasting his stirring tunes at the corner of Government and Belleville streets in downtown Victoria, B.C., Canada, on the many occasions we have visited there.  “That’s fun,” I thought. “I can do that.”

So, on three recent Saturdays in June and July, as Nike would advise, I just did it. I donned by veterans cap, American-flag T-shirt, and sat myself down in Veterans Plaza in downtown Edmonds, adjacent to the Saturday Market on 5th Ave. N. and Bell St. As people came and went, walking, sitting, eating, talking, listening, I played for two hours from my busking book of about 125 pieces of music, mostly taken from musicals and movies, plus some patriotic songs and marches.

In my open trumpet case, I placed the sign, “Your Donations Go to VFW.” One Saturday, people donated $48, another $35, and another $45. I sent the $128 to VFW Post 1040 (Lynnwood), where I am the Post Bugler, and VFW Post 8870 (Edmonds), which built the new, outstanding Veterans Plaza. The plaza was dedicated on Memorial Day, 29 May 2017.

Busking is indeed fun. People come up and say the nicest things. Toddlers dance. It’s true—music is the universal language of mankind. Just do it, and you’ll see.

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Stories of Sacrifice on Memorial Day at Veterans Park in Lynnwood, 05-29-2017

Posted by glennled on June 29, 2017

Who knows the stories of all the people who came to Veterans Park in downtown Lynnwood on Memorial Day, 2017, to honor those who died while serving in our country’s armed services? And think of all the other stories of all the other people who gathered at similar ceremonies throughout our nation and the world on this special day.

It brings to mind the closing stanza of the most famous war poem, “In Flanders Fields,” by Major John McCrae, a Canadian brigade doctor during World War I:

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.

Whatever their individual stories, they all sacrificed their lives for us. Indeed, we live in gratitude in this blessed “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

And so it was on this Monday when Gavin, a former trumpet student of mine and a 7th-grader at Skyview Jr. High School in Bothell, and I sounded “Echo Taps” to close this year’s ceremony—he, a Boy Scout with the Bugling Merit Badge, and me, former Boy Scout, a Navy Vietnam veteran, VFW Post 1040 Bugler, now 77, lucky man.

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150th-151st “Taps” on a Saturday at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 31, 2016

So, who’s counting? Buglers, that’s who. And yes, I am aware that some have sounded “Taps” thousands of times and that I evergreen-washelli-seattle-wa-0021-copynever will reach those numbers. For one thing, I don’t live near a national cemetery, and for another, it’s my age. But on Saturday, 17 December, I passed another of my own, personal, little milestones.

In freezing weather, at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Veterans Cemetery at Evergreen-Washelli (E-W) in north Seattle at about 9:30 a.m., I sounded “Taps” for the 150th time while serving as bugler with the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard during the past five years. Then at noon, I did it again at the North Evergreen Court Mausoleum (also at E-W) for the entombment of Lois Kathryn Grasmick, the wife of an Army veteran.

In honor of those who have served, I had my new Getzen bugle engraved with this inscription: John 15:13.

Photos below by Tonya Christoffersen, courtesy of Navy Wives Club of America, Totem 277. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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