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Hitting the High Notes

Story of Unknown Bugler.

By Eric Lewis

Hitting the High Notes…For Those that say I have one of the worst Jobs.

My preparation is always the same. My instrument is so highly polished, that even on a dark day, its gleaming on all sides and angles. A mirror of every visible image.

The carrying case is dark and deep black with a bright shiny luster. Most people I pass are curious as to what’s in the case. I casually smile but keep to myself.

I take great pride in my music, even if it’s only one tune. I practice for hours and hours. There is absolutely no room for error. There is too much on the line for a single mistake.

My shows sometimes have huge crowds, often lately they have been of smaller attendance. I never have complaints or praise. I see it in their eyes or I feel it in the air.

Unlike most musicians, I fail to enjoy the yells and screams. There are no groupies, interviews or demands for an autograph. I may occasionally get caught in the background of a picture, but it’s purely by accident.

The stage is never adorned with speakers or sound synthesizers. There is no support staff to direct lights or sound boards to adjust music pitch and tones. I tend to keep to a distance and look for a level place under my feet.

All of my gigs are during the daytime, sometimes it’s up to the last sun’s rays, brilliant colors of reds, oranges and yellows falling behind the horizon.

I play in rain or shine, snow or smothering heat. I truly have faced the elements and defeated them soundly. I am prepared for it all. My instrument can out thunder the dark clouds, my tones can break through the heaviest of rain. Almost like it has a Spirit within itself. Truly it might, it has never let me down.

My Song is “Taps”. I play the bugle. My presence announces the loss of a Veteran. My notes welcome another Hero into the gates of Heaven. Me and My instrument cannot and will not fail this final mission.

For truly……I have one of the most rewarding jobs.

© 2018 by Eric Lewis “Octo” BCS Nassau County Florida Chapter


  1. Tapsbugler Tapsbugler Post author | March 18, 2019

    The original design for the Getzen was a Bb. The added slide to G was an afterthought
    Best to stay on the Bb side and work toward getting higher notes.

  2. Bill Mulholland Bill Mulholland March 15, 2019

    This is very touching! I do have a question. I just purchased a Getzen silver bugle with a G tuner. The B flat bugle sounds pure and the notes are spot on. That all changes with the G tuner, it is hard to exactly hit even the lower notes. So I am sticking with the B flat but struggling to always hit the high note. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


  3. Jim McDevitt Jim McDevitt February 14, 2018

    Please send me info where I could look into getting a silver bugle like the one shown by you. Thank You!!!

  4. Jim Cossetti Jim Cossetti February 14, 2018

    I’ve had the pleasure of playing in the same group as Jim McDevitt and his brother Jack and know both to be a fine musicians. His dedication and deep commitment to perform this most sacred duty does not surprise me. It is my pleasure and honor to know him and other buglers that perform these notes of Farewell for fellow veterans for their final journey

  5. Jim McDevitt Jim McDevitt February 14, 2018

    Eric, As I read this article, I am getting ready to play TAPS today for six fallen veterans at The Washington Crossing National Cemetery, As this is my mission for today. I have volunteered myself for five years now, having over 1650 missions. Being a veteran myself, and having the time and talent, I feel privileged to be the Bugler every Wednesday. I will continue until I no longer am able. With Honor, Jim Mc Devitt

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