Did you hear someone performing "Taps" yesterday afternoon at 3 o'clock? Who was that?

Chances are, no matter where you were in Grand Junction or Clifton at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day (May 25), you probably heard a trumpeter playing Taps. How can that be? A trumpet player can't be in all parts of the valley at the same time.

What exactly is Taps? According to Wikipedia:

"Taps" is a bugle call played at dusk, during flag ceremonies, and at military funerals by the United States Armed Forces. The official military version is played by a single bugle or trumpet, although other versions of the tune may be played in other contexts.


As part of a coordinated effort, trumpet players across Grand Junction, Clifton, and Fruita, all stepped outside to perform "Taps" at precisely 3 p.m. yesterday. Most any trumpet player can count on performing Taps several times on Memorial Day. Most are at the cemetery bright and early, and again at dusk to perform the ritual. Whereas yesterday is concerned, area trumpet players agreed on 3 p.m. as the time to step out of their homes and perform the piece.

Scott Bett Performing Taps on Memorial Day
Scott Betts

The guiding force behind yesterday's performances was Clifton resident and Big Band leader Clark Gault. At Sunday night's rehearsal with Gault's band, the Swing City Express, he asked all trumpet players to participate in the 3 o'clock performance on Monday. In addition to the members of that band, other area trumpet players, including faculty members at Colorado Mesa University, joined in. Trumpet players were asked to step out the front doors of their homes and perform the piece.

Clark Gault Performing Taps on Memorial Day
Clark Gault

Some of the areas around the valley where you probably heard trumpets would include:

  • Main Street in Clifton
  • Main Street in Grand Junction
  • Around CMU
  • 27 Road and Unaweep
  • 31 Road and Patterson
  • Paber Avenue in Fruita

The locations listed above represent only a portion of the places where you might have heard Taps. While this effort was localized, this same practice is observed all over the country. Via his Facebook page, Clark Gault posted:

A few minutes ago at 3pm, local time, I played 'Taps' on my flugalbone (trumpet 1/2 brother) along with the trumpets from my band, all the local players I could think of, and trumpets from all over the United States in every state, to honor those who sacrificed so the rest of us could enjoy the life we have. - Clark Gault

Some of the local musicians who participated include:

  • Scott Betts
  • Clark Gault
  • Ron Bradley
  • Charlie Sweet
  • Jonathan Hinkle
  • Zan Waller

Thank you to all of the local musicians who shared their talents in order to perform this tribute. I hope everyone had a chance to hear them.

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