Fall 2003 Bruin
Photography by Jonah Light
Jens Lindemann hears Taps, its haunting melody, crystallized
in only 24 notes, has the power to move him. So when the UCLA music
professor and international trumpet soloist heard of frustrated families of
veterans being unable to find buglers to play Taps at the funerals of loved
ones, he was appalled.
“I have no
military history,” Lindemann says. “But as a performing artist,
I find it insulting that there’s no live body around to do this. Is this
the best we can do for veterans and their families?”
In the past, buglers
were provided by the military. But in 2000, legislation was passed to allow
Taps to be played on a CD because of the scarcity of horn players. There are
even fake bugles, Lindemann says disgustedly, that have a recording of Taps
in their tips so that anyone can “play” one.
The blow to tradition
motivated Tom Day, a former military trumpeter, to form “Bugles Across
America,” a Chicago-based nonprofit organization of 2,050 volunteer horn
players, men and women, willing to play Taps at veterans’ funerals. After
talking to his 10 UCLA trumpet students about volunteering, Lindemann and his
corps of Bruins joined Day’s group. To support the UCLA contingent, Yamaha
Corporation of America is donating a specially engraved trumpet to be used for
While the UCLA
contingent waits for its first call-up, Lindemann is planning to ask other horn
players in the UCLA Bruin Marching Band and at other universities to volunteer.
Says Adam Bhatia,
a third-year trumpet-performance major at UCLA: “I consider it a great
honor to be among the many trumpeters who have responded to this wonderful cause.
have put their lives on the line and need to be honored with a military funeral,”
Bhatia continues. “The playing of Taps is just as significant as the presentation
of the flag to a family member or a 21-gun salute.” For more information: