CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - For Kenneth Holvenstot, performing ‘taps’ is the best way to give his final salute to fellow vets. He says, "Its mixed emotions every single time, just knowing what taps means and what it's for, it's a very sacred tune."
The former marine still gets nervous performing it. He explains, “You can also hear the reaction from the family. A lot of time you'll hear tears. Nobody starts crying at a funeral until right when you start hearing ‘taps,’ and it chokes us up even when you hear it for the 15th time, 100th time."
Holvenstot doesn't use a basic bugle. It’s fake. There's a speaker inside the bugle that plays taps, while he holds it to his mouth. That's actually really common since there are a lack of real bugler players out there.
He explains, "Even the reserve units when they bring in a bugle they use an electronic bugle too."
Richard Bader is also a veteran. He plays the bugle when needed for the Marion American Legion. He explains, "There's always a need for buglers. We have three guys available for the Marion legion and we still don't have enough buglers."
He prefers to play ‘taps’ on his trumpet. He says, "I like my trumpet better. Basically it makes the same sound (as a bugle).
Holvenstot says most people can't tell the difference, and it doesn't matter to them. He says he doesn’t plan on trying to play a real bugle.
He explains, "It's a very specific skillset. I don't think I will learn. Especially since we got this handy thing. Just grab a 9 volt battery and it works."
He says the bugle can be hard to learn, and that it’s not that popular because it’s not a normal band instrument that’s taught in school.