Reflections

100 Nights of Remembrance Art Kellerman, Drum Corps World News(artandmarykell@verizon.net)

In a world where human tragedy, political complexities, and global threats face the world we live in every day, it is always refreshing to see acts of humanity, fellowship and community that remind of us hope, compassion and the good will of mankind. It is even more satisfying when men and woman of drum corps show the true spirit of what the drum corps activity’s mission of music, art, and education that come through engaging in acts of social responsibilities around the world. Often it is small acts of humility and honor that grow into incredible efforts of many that touch the fabric of our lives and instill a sense of pride community. In a small corner of the United States, a simple act of respect of members of drum corps has done just that. Nearly 10 years ago, a handful of drum corps members in New Hampshire decided to honor men and woman of our armed forces by a simple act, from Memorial Day to September 11th they would volunteer to go to a Veterans Cemetery at sunset and play 24 simple notes of respect. Not playing it for anyone other than for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country and who had borne the battle for the country they loved.

The sounding of Taps in a quiet cemetery is perhaps one of the most incredible senses of peace, solace and respect that you will ever hear and for the wives, husbands and children of those who have gone before us that listened on while visiting the cemetery, to them it seemed to have stopped time and created a quiet connection that bridged time and memories to the present day. Encouraged and inspired by the comments of the veteran families and the volunteers, long time DCI and DCA member Noel Taylor created the “100 Nights of Remembrance,” now entering its 10th year. Brass players from all over New England, called “Knights,” travel to Veterans Cemeteries during the summertime and play Taps every night, many times with an echo. Small crowds of young and old come nearly every night just to hear the notes call out to the coming darkness, reminding all who can hear that we shall not forget, and we shall always be grateful. At the end of the summer, on 9/11, members of countless corps, bands, public safety agencies, veterans service units and even military units join together in one evening of thanks and remembrance in an incredible display of respect and honor and, of course, to hear those incredible 24 notes one last time, sounded by dozens of brass instruments. IN recent years, the 9/11 closing ceremonies for the “100 Nights of Remembrance” have expanded to educational opportunities for hundreds of young men and woman of high school age to spend an afternoon learning about military service, ceremonious respect of those we have lost in service to their country and the music that is the call of service. From drum corps’ early beginnings after World War I to the millions of lives we have touched over the years, it is impressive to see drum corps come full-circle, by giving our music, time and knowledge back to our communities in respect of those who fought to build and protect them, while educating our next generation of the importance of self-sacrifice and giving respect and honor as a way of remembrance and connecting generations. As a member of drum corps, the “One Hundred Nights” extends a personal invitation to you as a current or former brass musician to become a “Knight” and support their efforts this year as Taps is sounded on the hollowed grounds of the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery during their closing ceremony on 9/11. Their hope is to deliver a vision of unity and camaraderie displaying a unique drum corps expression of “We will Never Forget.” For those who would like to be part of this or other events you can learn more at www.100nightsofremembrance.org or 100 Nights of Remembrance on Facebook. Opportunities for individuals or groups to experience these efforts happen year around. If you would like to participate in sounding Taps, color guard (American age squad) or even perhaps opening a chapter in your area, organizer Noel Taylor can be reached through e-mail at noeltylr@gmail.com.