Brother Clark Terry, who passed away in February, was one of the first African-Americans to earn the rank of Bandsman in the US Navy during World War II, and received a military honors funeral when he was laid to rest. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, the Navy was unable to provide a live performance of Taps at his gravesite, instead sounding Taps on an electronic device shaped like a bugle that plays Taps with the press of a button.
It is unthinkable that a man Dizzy Gillespie once referred to as “the greatest trumpet player who ever lived” should not have a fitting musical tribute upon being laid to his final rest. President John Mongiovi has offered Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s full support to efforts by Tom Allen of Bugles Across America to organize a proper performance of Echo Taps for Brother Terry this Sunday, March 15, at 9:30 AM at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, NY.
Allen is requesting civilian brass musicians from across the country to assemble at Brother Terry’s gravesite to provide a fitting commemoration of a life lived for music. “Clark Terry’s contribution to American culture, through his music and his commitment to music education, is as significant as any politician’s or military leader’s. An athlete or coach of equal stature would receive a full day tribute in the national media. For the Navy to not go the extra mile to find a live fellow American to sound Taps is disappointing, bordering on heartbreaking,” said Tom Allen, who is helping to organize this event with Bugles Across America, the Buglers Hall of Fame, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. “We just want to make it right,” Allen added.
We are asking that any buglers who are in the New York area, including brothers who reside within the boundaries of Provinces 1, 17, 21 and 27, take part in this event to show the world that Sinfonia honors and respects our brothers who served. B-flat and G instruments are welcome. Please tune ahead of time, and arrive prepared to be cooperative and flexible.