Every day in the U.S.on average, a thousand of our veterans pass away. For almost two decades there has been a shortage of trumpet or bugle players to play ‘Taps’ at their funerals.
The 24 note song known as ‘Taps,’ but which is actually named ‘Day is Done,’ has been played at military funerals for more than 50 years. But these days when you hear it at a funeral of a service member, you’re hearing a recording.
A few years ago the military came up with a solution to the shortage of real players by authorizing the Ceremonial Bugle. It’s a bugle-shaped device that has an electronic device that plays a recording of ‘Taps.’ The director of the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spanish Fort says however, it’s important to many families that a real person actually plays the real song. But he says because of the shortage of players, ‘Taps’ is played electronically at almost 100 percent of funerals at the Veterans Cemetery.
State Representative and trumpet player and teacher Randy Davis is looking for solutions to the shortage. He’s played ‘Taps’ at military funerals for decades but he’s one of only a few in the area that can be called on to do it. And like other players, he’s not always available, typically on short notice.
Davis is working with the group ‘Bugles Across America’ to identify trumpet and bugle players willing to volunteer to play at military funerals. The web-based, grassroots organization has worked all across the country to match buglers to the funerals of servicemen and women.
Davis says he will also team up with State Senator Bill Hightower during the next legislative session to sponsor legislation aimed at student players. The legislation would allow band students to be excused from classes to play ‘Taps’ at the funerals of veterans as a form of community service.
Davis says there are a number of trumpet players in this region of the Gulf Coast. If you’re one of them, here is a link to the ‘Bugles Across America’ website. It is a non-profit organization and you’ll have to register on the website. An audition is also required to volunteer with the group.