Most memorable Taps performance?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by edfitzvb, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    I imagine there are many of us who have played taps for funerals, memorial days, etc. Most of these are freebies and some are easier than others. It's hard to play when you are hearing a widow sob. Which taps is most memorable for you?

    I think mine was this last Memorial Day Sunday. I was at a different church than my home chiurch, because they had asked me to play with a praise band and also to perform Taps at the end of congregational prayer. In an effort to get the best effect, I went into a room which was adjacent to the choir area and faced into and across the choir area perpendicular to the congregation. Little did I realize that I was backlit and throwing a shadow of my trumpet and the hand holding it across the Cross behind the stage. I had a Veteran come up to me afterwards with tears in his eyes thanking me and telling me how moved he was at the presentation. He was quite surprised to hear that I did not realize the visual he saw and found so touching. Sometimes we get it right by accident.
  2. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I played Taps at the funeral of the last Confederate widow back in 2004. At least, that's what everyone thought at the time...another widow surfaced shortly after, but it was still a great honor to play for MS. Martin.

    Played it on a Civil War era cornet...
  3. hahkeystah

    hahkeystah Piano User

    Jan 12, 2011
    Charlottesville, VA
    while i was deployed my unit learned i used to be a bugler, so they asked me to play taps at our memorial services. i was fine for the first 3, but the 4th, my throat locked up on the 3rd note. i had to quickly switch to the electronic thing, slap it in the bell and pretend for the rest of it. i felt terrible that i couldn't finish it... yeah that was tough
  4. hahkeystah

    hahkeystah Piano User

    Jan 12, 2011
    Charlottesville, VA
    Hey Dale, just checked out that website and read the history. One heck of a story, wish I could have been at her funeral, helped give her a good send-off
  5. Fluffy615

    Fluffy615 Piano User

    Nov 30, 2006
    New Jersey
    My Dad was a WWII vet and used to stay with me when I had to play Taps at all of the Veteran's Day or Memorial Day ceremonies when I was in high school. It was my job for all 4 years. He used to tell me that he wanted me to play for him when he died. Like most 16 year olds I didn't want to hear about a parent dying. But 20 years later when he passed away I remembered what he always told me. So, someone brought my horn to the funeral for me and at the appropriate time in the service I took it out of the case, walked to the appointed spot and started playing. No warm up, I just started playing it. It was the best I've ever played it. It was for my Dad, how could I mess up. He would have let me know. LOL.
    hahkeystah likes this.
  6. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    When my mother was dieing, she asked me to play taps at her funeral. I told her I thought it would be inappropriate and I didn't want to. She was never in the service. She always supported my playing and insisted that it was her last dieing wish. I did it.
    It was a little hard for me. It came out very emotional and my family all told me how nice it was.
  7. Darthsunshine

    Darthsunshine Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 19, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    When I was 12 or 13 one of the kids on my soccer team was killed by a car while riding his bike. I don't recall much about surrounding the whole thing, but I still clearly remember the playing part. Tough.
  8. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

    Dec 19, 2009
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Great story. Thanks for sharing that. Wish I could have seen it. I played taps for a Veteran's Day service just this past November and I will say I was really nervous but it went over very well. A lot of people had some very nice comments.
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    It's tough for me to pick just one or two - I've done roughly 400 funerals, and a number of memorial services.

    One that was memorable was at the funeral for a kid who had come home on leave to get married, had gone out partying with his only sibling - a brother, and both were killed in a car accident. Their mother had died sometime in the year before that. The only survivor of the family was the father - a big guy, but he was just struck down with grief from losing everyone he loved. That one was tough.

    Another was at a memorial service where the Army band I was in was playing music for a memorial ceremony. There was supposed to be a VFW bugler to play Taps, but when the time came and no Taps could be heard, my Bandmaster, CW4 David Ratliff, pointed at me and said, "play!" Just like that I was on the spot to play Taps.

    Another one was up in the Pennsylvania mountains at a small cemetary out in the country. It was about 28 degrees, and the air was really still, but it had just started to snow gently. When I started to play the sound just rang and echoed off of the mountains.

    I also played Taps at the funeral of the father of some high school classmates. He had gotten killed in a car wreck, and that one was pretty tough. I also played Taps at the funeral of the high school's business teacher - a teacher and coach who was really well liked by everyone, but who lost his battle with cancer.

    And then I played Taps for many of the soldiers of the 14th Quartermaster detachment when their barracks was hit by a SCUD missile, killing 29 and injuring many more. Many were from the Greensburg, PA area and they sent me, two other buglers and a guy to do operations to go play those funerals. Lots of news-media there, but it brough the war, Desert Storm, right up close even though I didn't get deployed.

    I also played Taps at the funeral of my father-in-law - another tough one.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  10. JimCulp

    JimCulp New Friend

    Dec 13, 2010
    I went up to Pittsburgh a few years ago to play Taps for a couple I know whose son was killed by a drunk driver. At the graveside, I played standing under a tree with small branches hanging down in front of me, and heard a thump near the end. After the final release, I moved where I could see better, and realized the mother had thrown herself on the casket. I won't forget that if I live to be 150. God bless that family.

Share This Page