By Timothy Olsen
2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the composition of the bugle call ‘Taps,’ written in 1862 by General Daniel Butterfield, a graduate of the Union College class of 1849.
To commemorate this event, noted military historian, performer, and conductor Jari Villanueva will lead a fifteen-piece brass band made up of Union College students, faculty, and professional musicians in the performance of music from the Civil War as well as famous pieces by John Philip Sousa and George M. Cohan.
Jari Villanueva spent 23 years with the USAF Band in Washington DC. As a ceremonial trumpeter, he has participated in over 5,000 ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. He is currently Artistic Director of the National Association for Civil War Brass Music, Inc., where he directs and leads The Federal City Brass Band and the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band; he is also President of TAPS 150, an organization formed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of “Taps.” He is also a co-founder of Bugles Across America, an organization that honors fallen veterans by providing volunteer live buglers who perform ‘Taps’ at graveside services.
Numerous other events commemorating the 150th anniversary of Taps will take place in 2012. On May 19 (the same day as the Union College concert), a massed sounding of “Taps” will take place at Arlington National Cemetery. In June, a three-day event in Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, the birthplace of ‘Taps,’ will feature Civil War re-enactors, the music of fifes, drums, and bugles, and the re-dedication of the ‘Taps’ monument. On Saturday, June 3, buglers will span the Walkway over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie in a massed Taps performance.
The event is being organized by Tim Olsen, Associate Professor of Music at Union College, and Steve Weisse, trumpeter and director of the Schenectady-based Signature Brass Quintet. Both Weisse and Olsen are active members of Bugles Across America.
This event will take place during Union’s ReUnion Weekend on Saturday, May 19 at 9:00 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. Fireworks will follow at 10:00 p.m. For more information, contact Linda Goodman in the Arts Ofice at 388-6785.