Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

And the Trumpet Shall Sound in the Church Orchestra

Posted by glennled on December 25, 2010

This past Sunday was different from any other in my long life. I’ve played in marching bands, drum and bugle corps, concert bands, orchestras, ensembles, operas, and musicals. As a teen, I led congregational singing, but until 19 December 2010, I had never played trumpet in a church orchestra.

Archangel Gabriel Wall Relief, Church of San Michele, Florence, Italy, 1359 A.D.

My wife and I have heard and joined in congregational singing with this orchestra at a local community church several times this year. It is the best of its kind that I’ve ever heard in the Greater Seattle Area. The compositions and arrangements are sophisticated and even challenging at times.

One Sunday in the church bulletin, there was an offer to consider new members in the orchestra. I auditioned and was accepted as a substitute trumpeter. There are three regular trumpeters and several subs like me. The lead trumpeter has been there well over 20 years and plays at least a dozen instruments. Another regular also has been there more than 20, and the other more than 15.   

The day I played, there were about 18 musicians in the orchestra; sometimes there are as many as 25-30. The choir numbered about 50. On this occasion, we were not playing “And the Trumpet Shall Sound” from Handel’s Messiah. Instead, this was the music:

  • “Festival of Carols” (a medley of four)
  • “Angels We Have Heard on High”
  • “The First Noel,”
  • “Come, Emmanuel,”
  • “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”

Bass Performance Hall, Ft. Worth, TX, by Tony Gutierriz/AP, 14 June 2002

I had not known that “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” was written as a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow after he had lost two wives and one of his sons had been severely wounded in the Civil War. He wrote the words on 25 December 1864. About four months later, the Civil War ended and peaced reigned over the land once more. Later, the poem was modified and became a carol. Its last two stanzas read as follows:

“And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!'”

Can you worship with a horn? Until last Sunday I was not sure—maybe concentrating on playing the music correctly would displace worship. No, to my pleasant surprise, it did not. It was a moving experience. You can worship with your horn just as surely as you do with your voice in song. And it’s especially poignant when you’re accompanying an excellent church choir like this one.  Volunteer and try it someday—you’ll like it.

Posted in Church Music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Newest Student from Lynnwood Attends School in Texas!

Posted by glennled on November 27, 2010

Have you heard of the Marine Military Academy? Neither had I when I got an email from a parent in Lynnwood inquiring about private lessons for her son, a trumpeter, coming home from Texas for vacation during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. At first, I wondered, does “marine” refer to the navy, merchant marine, oceanography, biology, or what? No, none of the above—it’s the U.S. Marine Corps, of course! We arranged four one-hour lessons while he’s home in November, and I now have my 13th student.

The Marine Military Academy (MMA) is in Harlingen in south Texas, only about 11 miles from the Rio Grande River and the border with Mexico.  Forty-five years ago in 1965, it was established as a private college preparatory school for boys, grades 8-12 (see www.mma-tx.org). It is the only Marine prep school in the USA, and the typical enrollment is about 350-400.

My student is 17 and a senior. As a cadet at MMA, he plays in the school band. Three bugle calls get used regularly in the daily/weekly routine of school life: “Attention,” “Adjutant’s Call,” and “Taps.” For Pass in Review, the band plays the stirring march by John Philip Sousa known as “Semper Fi”—that’s short for Semper Fidelis (Latin, meaning “Always faithful”, the motto of the Marine Corps). And they play the moving “Marine Corps Hymn” (Halls of Montezuma), too, among many other pieces of music. For next year, he’s now considering three universities in Washington, Illinois, and Texas, and the Naval Academy in Maryland.

His dream is to play trumpet in The United States Marine Band, known as “The President’s Own” (see www.marineband.usmc.mil/). God bless the Marines and all our military and all our veterans, way back to the Revolutionary War, 1776-1783.

Trumpeters in “The President’s Own” Marine Band

Freedom is not free. It’s a universal, human desire, and its costs, for every generation on this precious globe, are high. In these Thanksgiving holidays, I pray he lives his dream, God willing.

Posted in New Students - Intro Posts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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