I work in a school, K through grade 12, and just finished playing my last service for the school year. During last Sunday’s Baccalaureate, I couldn’t help but think back to Burbank High’s Class of 1968 Baccalaureate forty-six years ago at the Starlight Bowl. I’m sure that no one except me remembers it! Because, you see, for me it was a nightmare!
As you may recall, I was sitting at the organ and supposed to play processional music. I played Jeremiah Clarke’s “Trumpet Tune,” for the processional and his “Trumpet Voluntary” for the recessional. No problem there–these pieces are used a lot for weddings and other grand occasions and I had practiced them well.
The problem is that each of the pieces only lasts three minutes or so. Now, do you remember how many kids were in our class? Over six hundred, and I had only brought the “Trumpet Tune” to get everyone in and the “Trumpet Voluntary” for everyone to march out. Which meant that I played each of the pieces over, and over, and over, and over . . . I think I lost count of the repetitions after about thirty or so, and I started flubbing up. A missed note here, and a missed note there. STOP THE WORLD! I WANT TO GET OFF!
I felt like I was running an uphill battle! Do you remember the story of Sisyphus? In case you’ve forgotten Greek mythology (and I dare say that most of us have!), Sisyphus was punished for his deceitfulness, and required to push a large boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down. Repeat, and never stop.
Forty-six years later, I know better, and bring several pieces of music in related keys to play for long processions, whether they be graduating students or shy brides.
Class of 1968, do you have any memories of Baccalaureate that you would like to share? Use the Contact Us form above or send email and/or pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyway, here is a version of the piece as played by Gregory Pierson:
And here is the Trumpet Voluntary, also known as “The Prince of Denmark’s March.”