By David Hazledine
Musicians from across Indiana honored veterans on May 30 with a unique performance titled ‘Taps Across the Water,’ hosted by Chutauqua-Wawasee and Syracuse American Legion Post 223.
Starting at 9:09 p.m., the musicians — trumpeters/buglers of all ages and backgrounds — performed ‘Taps’ from various locations around Lake Wawasee, Syracuse Lake and Lake Papakeechie, creating what bugler music educator Mattew Murdock called a “cascade” effect if heard simultaneously over the lakes.
“Cascading is a better description,” he explained, than synchronous, because the buglers would start in synchronicity but would not be playing each note together. The word also refers to the water of the lakes surrounding the performers.
Trumpeter Faith Bradley drove from Fort Wayne, where she attends Purdue University Fort Wayne, to take part. “It will be different with the echo effect,” she said before the event. Bradley had never played “Taps” in a group setting and said, “I thought it would be educationally interesting.”
The performance followed a minute of silence, after which “Taps” was played through twice, with the buglers pointing the bells of their horns in different directions.
Boaters were seen at all three lakes gathering for the performance. Brian Simmons was out on Lake Wawasee where he saw boats gathering to hear the echo across the lakes. Another spectator, Scott Rogers, was at Wawasee Family Fishing Area. “It was great,” he exclaimed.
At the end of the performance, the horns of boaters could be heard honking in appreciation around the lakes.
Prior to the performance, the roughly 20 buglers gathered at Oakwood Resort at 8 p.m. for instructions and directions to their performance locations from organizer Mark Knecht. They also received a brief history lesson from Murdock, explaining the origins of “Taps.”
According to Murdock, this solemn, reverent bugle call — so different from most regimented military “tattoos” intended to communicate instructions — was developed in 1862 by Union General Daniel Butterfield during the Civil War’s seven-days Peninsula Campaign to honor his fallen men.
“Taps” replaced the usual salute of rifle volleys so as not to incite the Confederate soldiers to recommence fighting.
Murdock’s own father was a Korean War veteran, and he congratulated the younger people present, such as Wawasee High School student Nadia Whalen, stressing the importance of “bringing people up in this tradition … that passion I applaud you for.”
Murdock also said many people had come up to him in recent weeks “with tears in their eyes,” thanking him for the event.
Other buglers taking part included Keith Brauer and Bill Huffman on Syracuse Lake; Chris Longebaugh, who was positioned at the dam on Lake Papakeechie; Tony Pawlicki, Wawasee High School band teacher; Kris Stump, Syracuse Elementary band teacher; Dan Bachman, at the sail club on Waco; George Simpson, near Wawasee Yacht Club; Dave Wisler at Kale Island; Hudson Branch, Bethel University freshman, on Lake Wawasee.