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White River graduate plays taps at Arlington National Cemetery

Kelli Taylor, a graduate of White River High School, had the honor of playing taps on her bugle at the Arlington National Cemetery.  - Courtesy photo
Kelli Taylor, a graduate of White River High School, had the honor of playing taps on her bugle at the Arlington National Cemetery.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Kelli Taylor, a graduate of White River High School who earned a degree from Central Washington University this spring, had the honor of playing taps on her bugle at the Arlington National Cemetery. She performed with buglers from throughout the nation, all members of Bugles Across America.

A solemn aura surrounds Arlington National Cemetery. It was founded in June 1864. Nearly 400,000 graves are scattered across the cemetery.

An integral part of Arlington ceremonies is the bugle, as a bugler plays taps to commemorate the passing of a loved one.

Taylor is a member of the organization that has more than 7,500 buglers in all 50 states and growing number overseas.

“Arlington National Cemetery stands out to me because of the expansiveness of the cemetery,” Taylor said. “It was such an amazing experience being able to play there.”

Buglers Across America does not have an age limit, but requires, “the bugler has to have the ability to play the 24 notes of taps with an ease and style that will do honor to the veterans, their families, and the burial detail performing the service,” according to the BAA website.

Taylor has been playing the trumpet since fifth grade and, when she was 14, began playing a bugle at ceremonies, including funerals. Transferring from the trumpet to the bugle was a relatively easy switch for Taylor. The bugle is simply a trumpet with no valves and it has a range of about two octaves, much more limited than the trumpet.

“I did my neighbor’s funeral. I met a bugler there and he invited me to spend the day with him to learn a few things and I went back every couple of weeks," Taylor said. "I got hooked after that."

Taylor has performed at many services for the Enumclaw chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“I loved seeing the respect she gets from the VFW members,” mother Trina Taylor said.

Taylor graduated from Central with a degree in music education. She is certified to teach kindergarten through 12th grade and wants to teach at the high school level. She has applied to 30 schools in hopes of landing a job as a music educator.

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