Sacramento bugler never misses a note, despite emotion of “Taps”

Posted on: September 13, 2011

In Sunday’s (9/11) Sacramento Bee, Edward Ortiz writes, “Ask bugler and trumpeter Baldwin Wong what the hardest music is to play and he may surprise you. Not Mahler or Mozart. In his estimation, the hardest are the 24 notes that make up the military ceremonial tune ‘Taps.’ As an ex-military man, Wong’s emotions rise to the surface whenever he performs it. ‘If it’s for a memorial to honor someone I know, I just try to get through it,’ said Wong, 62, a Sacramento native. A few years ago, he performed ‘Taps’ at his uncle’s military funeral. … Every bugler’s nightmare is to crack a note. Since he started performing at military funerals six years ago—more than 200 funerals so far—Wong hasn’t cracked a single note. But the emotion is always there, threatening to throw him off his performance. Playing ‘Taps’ at a funeral for a fallen young soldier who served in Afghanistan or Iraq is particularly hard. … Wong’s three sons are serving in the Marines, one of them deployed as a special operations Marine in Afghanistan. … Wong is one of the few Veterans of Foreign Wars buglers in the state. And of the handful, he is probably one of the most eager to volunteer his time to perform at military funerals.”

Posted September 13, 2011