WELCOME, and thank you for taking the time to visit.
If you need a Taps Bugler for a funeral ceremony, please make your request at TapsForVeterans.org. We are ready to assist you with having the most respectful ceremony that honors your family or friend.
On this site you will find a wealth of information on the bugle call Taps, the history of bugles, and the role of bugles and buglers throughout American history. There is a section on Taps Performance Guidelines for those who are interested in sounding Taps for funerals and ceremonies, and a section on Getting Started on the Bugle, for those who are new to this subject and looking for resources. You will also find personal stories of buglers and links to other Taps and bugle-related sites on the Internet.
We also have a store where you can purchase bugle related items CLICK HERE
You can find all the posts on Tapsbugler here.
We have a Patreon Page set up for your continuous support of
the services TAPS BUGLER provides for our veterans and thier families.
Please consider a modest subscription!
New information and photos will be posted from time to time, so I encourage you to bookmark this site and return periodically to check out any new material. And if you have bugle stories or photos you wish to share, please contact me at Jari Villanueva. I have tried to correctly attribute information and cite the sources of the material posted here. If you believe there is any problem with the accuracy of the information on this site, please let me know and I will correct it as soon as possible. An excellent bibliography for my Taps research can be found at the end of my booklet, Twenty Four Notes That Tap Deep Emotions: The story of America’s most famous bugle call. You can read an excerpt of Twenty Four Notes here.
All the information on this site is copyrighted, all rights reserved. If you wish to use any of it, please contact me here for permission, which I will usually grant. The bottom line is that it is important to me to get the correct information out about Taps and help enlighten people about the history of bugles in the United States. To this end I am willing to make this material available on the Internet.
If you also feel it is important to spread this information, you can help support my efforts in one of several ways:
One, you could send bugle-related material to me for inclusion on this site. Such material could be photographs, letters, books or music.
Two, you could engage me to speak at your local Civil War Roundtable, library or community center. This is something I’ve done many times, visiting as far north as West Point, NY and as far west as Erie, PA.
Three, if you are interested in even more information than you will find here, please visit my sister website JV MUSIC, where you may purchase my booklet Twenty Four Notes That Tap Deep Emotions, along with CDs of Civil War music performed by The Federal City Brass Band and Helen Beedle; A Pictorial History of Civil War Era Musical Instruments & Military Bands, Mark Elrod’s fantastic book on Civil War brass instruments; 20 Bugle Calls of the US Armed Forces, a collection of the most commonly used modern bugle calls; and music I have arranged for brass ensemble, including many pieces from the Civil War era.
Four, you can make a donation (any amount, large or small) via PayPal, linked in the right column of this website. A portion of all donations made on Tapsbugler will go towards various events we stage throughout the year, as well as maintaining this website. Please note that all of our Taps Buglers sound taps solely on a volunteer basis.
When I first developed an interest in the bugle and began my research I found that the manuals, books, and other published information on the subject were soon exhausted. Outside of encyclopedias and music dictionaries, there was not much written on the history or use of the bugle in the United States military. Oh sure, there were articles written on the subject (most dealing with the origin of Taps) but there was no one authority on the bugle. I have spent the past twenty years doing research and developing the material that is posted on this site and published in my booklet. My information on Taps has appeared in many newspapers across the country and on many websites. I have appeared in a History Channel segment about the origins of Taps and in many TV stories that pop up around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Now you need only to do a Google.com search with the words “Taps,” and “Jari,” and you get many hits that will lead to me.
Many historians have guided me along in my quest to uncover information on bugles. Three who come to mind, and to whom I owe a huge debt, are Jack Carter, Mark Elrod, and Randy Rach. There are many other collectors and historians to whom I have been much indebted for their expertise and advice. I have also gained much information from the many re-enactors who portray Civil War field musicians. It is through these living historians’ eyes that I’ve been able to understand how the bugle was used in battle, camp life, and ceremony during the Civil War. Thanks are in order to all the many buglers, both military and civilian, that have helped me with this and of course to the many historians with whom I have had the pleasure to work. I also want to thank my lovely wife and webmaster Heather Faust for all of her hard work, without which none of this could be possible.
I hope you enjoy this site and will come back and visit us again. Please contact me with your feedback and comments via email.
Mr. Jari Villanueva, Taps Historian, USAF (Ret)
Jari Villanueva retired from the United States Air Force where he spent 23 years with The USAF Band in Washington DC. He is considered the country’s foremost expert on military bugle calls, particularly the call of Taps which is sounded at military funerals. While in the Air Force he was the Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge of The USAF Band’s State Funeral Plans and was the NCOIC of the command post at Andrews AFB which oversaw the arrival and departure ceremonies for the late Presidents Reagan and Ford. As a ceremonial trumpeter, Villanueva participated in well over 5,000 ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, served as an assistant drum major leading The USAF Ceremonial Brass in funerals at Arlington. He was responsible for all the music performed by the USAF Bands for state funerals. Between 1998-2002 Villanueva created a display at Arlington National Cemetery highlighting the history of the military bugler. He was responsible for moving the bugle used at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral from the Smithsonian to Arlington where it is currently on display. In 2007 Villanueva was inducted into the Buglers Hall of Fame, the first active duty military bugler to be so honored
From 2008-2017 Villanueva worked for the Maryland Military Department, serving as the Director of Veterans Affairs, Maryland National Guard Honor Guard (MDNGHG). The mission of the MDNGHG is to provide Military Funeral Honors to Armed Forces Veterans in Maryland and performs over 3,500 ceremonies each year. He is also retired as a conductor/commander of the Maryland Defense Force Band and retired at the rank of Lt Colonel (MDDF) in the Maryland Military Department.
Villanueva’s military awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with six oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal with one service star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Maryland Distinguished Service Cross, the State of Maryland Meritorious Service Medal and the State of Maryland Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.
Villanueva is a graduate of the Baltimore Public School system and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1978 from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. In 1984 he received a Master of Music degree from Kent State University, Ohio. He is also a 2006 graduate of the Air Force Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy.
From 1998 to 2010, Villanueva was an adjunct professor in the Music Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he served as Director of Bands. A Civil War historian and re-enactor, Villanueva is 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, recreated regimental bands of the Civil War era. He also sounds bugle calls at many re-enactments. In addition, he is music director for the National Civil War Field Music School where students learn to play fife, drum and bugle.
He is a member of the American Legion Post 109 in Arbutus, Maryland, the Air Force Musicians Association, the Maryland Historical Society, the Maryland Military Historical Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and an associate member of the Society of the Honor Guard Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He is married to Heather Faust and resides in Catonsville, Maryland.
Thanks so much
made it here upon suggestion from brass-playing brother.
he received link, because he knows from tpin how to find what he wants.
i sent that link to him, so he would know i found it.
he wasn’t sure he had spelled villanueva right …
and i’ve plans to share the link with others.
all kinds of others.
hope more eyes will serve as my lowly contribution
to the continuance of your remarkable work.
regards and best of best wishes.
I served in the British Army and I was aware of Taps.
We in the UK have the “Last Post”. It is played on Remembrance Day and at military funerals.
I avoid listening to it now.
I was recommended this website by way of my cousin. I’m no longer positive whether or not this publish is written by him as nobody else recognise such certain approximately my trouble. You are wonderful! Thank you!
I am a band director and just came across this site tonight, trying to find an explanation for the ‘Il Silenzio’ story! We are having a Veteran’s Day program at my Middle School (Clear Creek Middle School, in Ellijay, GA) and I proposed that I teach a student to play taps. Most students in our school have never heard taps played live and, therefore, they have never felt the emotions and honor that comes along with that experience. My trumpeters will be learning to play taps and I will have the top student perform it on November 11th. I expect it to be a meaningful moment of rememberance and respect for everyone involved. For my young trumpet player, I expect that playing taps will give him/her a true sense of selflessness, honoring the men and women we will never have a chance to know or thank.
If the gentleman above would consider donating his bugle to my Middle School, I can guarantee it will be taken care of and treated with the utmost respect and care. It will be used for years as I have numerous students who have been asking to learn taps on a real bugle. One of my little girls said, “I love my trumpet, but I think I’d love the bugle more.”
Please contact me if you are interested in donating your bugle to my school! firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for reading.
I am a Tonkin Gulf Vietnam Vet. My friend, who recently retired from the Army and is now in charge of one of our National Cemeteries told me of a retired officer who will send someone FREE OF CHARGE a bugle if they promise to learn how to play taps and from there go on to play taps at military funerals. Do you know anything about that?
As far as the bugler at President Kennedy’s funeral… I am only 42 years of age, so President Kennedy passed before I was even born.
But, I grew up with the Challenger, with 9/11, with Columbia… so I can understand the “hurt” that the nation was feeling when Kennedy was killed.
Was the bugler “immune”? His “sour note” came from the pain he was feeling not too far from the casket of his “Commander-in-Chief” who was murdered a short time before. I think that he must have had a “tightness in his throat”, the same that I felt when the second World Trade Center tower was hit and WE KNEW, it was NOT AN ACCIDENT. That I think was the cause of his “sour note”.
Read the article on this website about “The 11th Wing at Bolling Air Force Base, DC and the Kennedy Funeral” and you will hear from the “horses mouth” how people who had just a portion of that Funeral Detail had such a hard time. The bugler, hitting a “sour note”, is something that was HUMAN, and EXPECTED given how it must have personally affected THE MAN on the other end of the bugle.
I’ve spent 18+ years in the Army. Even though I learned to play Taps (from an old dude that played on the Tonight Show) when I just 7 years old, I just played for the first time at a military funeral for a dear Vietnam Vet friend last weekend using my son’s middle school trumpet. Even as bad as I am (25+ years since I played the trumpet in HS), it’s more befitting to have hot air from old lungs passing through a crappy $75 middle schooler’s trumpet than a digitized Taps on a shiney $500 bugle.
I just wish I’d have found this site prior to the funeral. I’m now on a quest to find an actual “old school” 100+ year old bugle/field trumpet to honor some of these old goats like my drinking buddy, Jerry Davis.
I’m playing here at about the 7:45 mark. I kinda jacked up the first note, but as sucky as I am, I still put JFK’s bugler to shame.
My Army discharge was in 1969 as a Staff Sergeant, E6. I earned a bronze star and a purple heart while in Viet Nam during 1967. I spent 1968 at Fort Sill, OK where many in this unit were Viet Nam veterans. One duty I had was NCOIC in charge of the rifle squad for military funerals. We assisted at many veteran funerals in Northern Texas, throughout Oklahoma and Arkansas. We spent many hours in a military bus from early morning to sometimes late at night. TAPS brings me many touching and moving memories.
Thank you for this great site.
Great Site Jari!