Mr. Jari Villanueva, Taps Historian, USAF (Ret) PRESIDENT
Jari Villanueva retired from the United States Air Force where he spent 23 years with The USAF Band in Washington DC. He is considered the country’s foremost expert on military bugle calls, particularly the call of Taps which is sounded at military funerals. While in the Air Force he was the Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge of The USAF Band’s State Funeral Plans and was the NCOIC of the command post at Andrews AFB which oversaw the arrival and departure ceremonies for the late Presidents Reagan and Ford. As a ceremonial trumpeter, Villanueva participated in well over 5,000 ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, served as an assistant drum major leading The USAF Ceremonial Brass in funerals at Arlington. He was responsible for all the music performed by the USAF Bands for state funerals. Between 1998-2002 Villanueva created a display at Arlington National Cemetery highlighting the history of the military bugler. He was responsible for moving the bugle used at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral from the Smithsonian to Arlington where it is currently on display. In 2007 Villanueva was inducted into the Buglers Hall of Fame, the first active duty military bugler to be so honored
Since 2008, Villanueva has worked for the Maryland Military Department, serving as the Director of Veterans Affairs, Maryland National Guard Honor Guard (MDNGHG). The mission of the MDNGHG is to provide Military Funeral Honors to Armed Forces Veterans in Maryland and performs over 3,500 ceremonies each year. He is also conductor/commander of the Maryland Defense Force Band and holds the rank of Major (MD) in the Maryland Military Department.
Villanueva’s military awards and decorations include the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with six oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal with one service star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the State of Maryland Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.
Villanueva is a graduate of the Baltimore Public School system and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1978 from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. In 1984 he received a Master of Music degree from Kent State University, Ohio. He is also a 2006 graduate of the Air Force Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy.
From 1998 to 2010, Villanueva was an adjunct professor in the Music Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he served as Director of Bands. A Civil War historian and re-enactor, Villanueva is Artistic Director of the National Association for Civil War Brass Music, Inc., where he directs and leads The Federal City Brass Band and the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band, recreated regimental bands of the Civil War era. He also sounds bugle calls at many re-enactments. In addition, he is music director for the National Civil War Field Music School where students learn to play fife, drum and bugle.
He is a member of the American Legion Post 109 in Arbutus, Maryland, the Air Force Musicians Association, the Maryland Historical Society, the Maryland Military Historical Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and an associate member of the Society of the Honor Guard – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He is married to Heather Faust and resides in Catonsville, Maryland.
Mr. Leslie Hampton, Coordinator Echo Taps 2007, VICE-PRESIDENT
Les Hampton is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War where he served most of his four years aboard destroyers. After his military service, he returned to college where he received an engineering degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Les joined Corning Incorporated’s R&D facility at Sullivan Park and worked as a Ceramic Engineer/Scientist. He holds nine US patents (18 worldwide) and has authored several professional publications.
In 1970, Les began his teaching avocation while playing with the US Navy Drum and Bugle Corps at Great Lakes. Since that time he has worked in the drum corps, marching band, and winterguard activities as performer, instructor, designer, adjudicator, clinician, and consultant.
Les regularly sounds Taps for veteran burial honors, and organizes community and veteran recognition programs. This work earned him a Jefferson Award nomination for community service. Recent projects include the 2005 EchoTaps event which extended 674 brass players over a 42 mile course to play a cascading version of Taps. He received a Telly Award for producing the television documentary EchoTaps: The Long Brass Line and served as a consultant to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the 2007 EchoTaps Worldwide event. The scope of the project included all National Cemeteries, American Battlefield Monuments worldwide, State Veteran Cemeteries, National Park sites, and Arlington National Cemetery.
Recently retired, Les resides in Corning, New York with his wife Suzanne and continues to teach, volunteer and organize events.
Mr. John Foreberger, SECRETARY
John Forberger is a graduate of Rutgers University where he earned his B.A. (Summa Cum Laude; Phi Beta Kappa) and his M.A. (Beta Gamma Sigma) in Economics. His professional career began in 1971 when he was hired into the IMDP Trainee Program in New Jersey Bell. He directed positions of increasing responsibility in the telecommunications industry and reported directly to the Treasurer, Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer until his retirement from Verizon in 2007. During his career, he was awarded the Leadership Excellence Award for his work on Y2K remediation on behalf of all financial operations at Verizon. He has appeared as a professional economic witness before the Federal Communications Commission, several State Public Utility Commissions and in the District of Columbia. In 2008, we became President of the Masonic Charity Foundation of New Jersey. As a Trustee, he successfully led the Foundation through significant financial challenges from 2006 – present. He resides now near Quantico, Maryland where he is a choir director and musician for several local Churches. He is a member of the MDDF Band where he serves as a Finance Major.
Mr. Ron Glazer, CMSgt, WV ANG TREASURER
Ron Glazer, Sr. grew up in Ontario, California where his love of music began in junior high school. After graduating from high school in 1985 with music scholarships he instead enlisted into the U. S. Army. After tours in Georgia and Germany, he returned to Maryland in 1990 and made a home in Hagerstown, MD, where he became his church’s music director and Sunday School Superintendent.
While working as a computer technician in Williamsport, MD, Ron was ordered to active duty in January 1991 for service in Operation Desert Shield. He was deployed to Saudi Arabia and served through Operation Desert Storm. After returning to the states, Ron served in the Maryland Army National Guard before transferring to the West Virginia Air National Guard in Martinsburg, WV, a year later. In 2000 Senior Airman Glazer joined his base’s honor guard to assist with military funerals.
After discovering the Honor Guard used only a recording of Taps at funerals, he volunteered to serve as the base honor guard bugler. This same year he joined Bugles Across America and he serves as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and its National Chaplain. In 2006 Ron wrote “The Bugler’s Prayer” a poem in honor of buglers who sound Taps at funerals.
Ron served for a large insurance company for 7 years as a computer technician before deciding to take on an active duty position as the Personnel Systems Manager in his present unit, the 167th Airlift Wing in 2002. In April of 2007 Senior Master Sergeant Glazer interviewed and accepted the position of the Planning and Implementations Chief of the Communications Flight. With his experience and training his commander interviewed him in 2008 for his current position of Plans and Resources Branch Chief. He attained the rank of Chief Master Sergeant in November of 2011.
Ron presently serves as his church’s moderator, music leader, and assistant treasurer. Ron has two sons and lives with his wife Carol in Clear Spring, MD.
Mr. Gerald McDonald, C.P.M., A.P.P. COL, New York Guard
COL Gerald McDonald graduated from Norwich University and severed twenty eight years with the US Army, Army Reserve and National Guard. He performed duties ranging from tank commander, air cavalry helicopter pilot in Viet Nam, to being the Theater Army IRAC Officer in Desert Storm. He is now the commander of the 65th Brigade of the New York Guard.
Gerald joined forces with Les Hampton on day one of what was to become EchoTaps. The first planning session occurred in his garage. He and the 65th Brigade provided the logistics leadership and support for EchoTaps. He and Les Hampton served as consultants to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the 2007 EchoTaps Worldwide event. The scope of the project included all National Cemeteries, American Battlefield Monuments worldwide, State Veteran Cemeteries, National Park sites, and Arlington National Cemetery, and included over three thousand brass players world wide.
He is currently employed as a Senior Buyer with Sikorsky Aircraft and teaches computer applications at two local colleges. He has commanded several ritual teams of several service veterans’ service organizations, providing military burial honors for departed veterans, and currently commands the ritual team of the Corning American Legion Post and is continuing to perform military funeral services with that team. As one of the few non-musician members of Bugles Across America, he even learned to play taps well enough to be in the bugle line for EchoTaps Worldwide in 2007.
Gerald resides in Corning with his wife Phyllis and is an active firefighter with the East Corning Volunteer Fire Department.
Mr. John Pursell, D.M.A., SMSgt (Ret) Yamaha Trumpet Artist
Dr John Pursell holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in trumpet performance from the University of Maryland, and undergraduate and graduate degrees from West Chester State College. He has studied trumpet with such prominent teachers as Mel Broiles, Seymour Rosenfeld, Emerson Head and Kenneth Laudermilch, and has performed under the baton of such illuminaries as Eugene Ormandy, Max Rudolf, Claudio Abbado and Robert Shaw. He is a published author, with numerous articles on trumpet pedagogy and history in national music journals.
After a distinguished 21 year career as the Senior Ceremonial Trumpeter with the United States Air Force Band in Washington, DC, and over 5,000 performances in 38 states and 14 foreign countries, Dr. Pursell is now available for solo engagements with band or orchestra, and clinic appearances at high schools, colleges and music conferences.
Dr Pursell became a Yamaha Artist & Clinician in 2002, and performs on Yamaha trumpets exclusively.
Mr. Woodrow English, SGM, Principal Bugler, The US Army Band
As trumpet soloist for the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” in Washington, D.C., Sergeant Major Woody English is often spotlighted when the unit performs public concerts and for official military functions. English is the Army Band’s solo bugler for ceremonies in Arlington National Cemetery. He is also a member of the U.S. Army Brass Quintet, a versatile group, well known throughout the country and around the world. The quintet, of which English has been a part of over two decades, has performed in 46 states and seven foreign countries. SGM English also has served as principal trumpet with the Alexandria Symphony and solo cornetist with the popular Brass Band of Battle Creek since 1996. He is a sought-after soloist in the Washington area and has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington Opera as well as countless other chamber ensembles. A native of Coldwater, Michigan, English attended high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy before graduating from Eastern Michigan University.
Mr. Ken Wales, Veteran Film Maker
Veteran filmmaker Ken Wales, Executive Producer of the critically acclaimed and award-winning CBS Television series Christy, began his drama career playing a juvenile role on a local radio show in Kokomo, Indiana. At age 14 he operated the projector at the legendary Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, where he became a serious film buff. Wales received the firs Walt Disney four-year scholarship and graduated with honours form the School of Cinema at The University of Southern California. He has acted in over 35 films and television shows.
During a fifteen year partnership with director Blake Edwards, Wales produced many memorable films including The Tamarind Seed, starring Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif and The Wild Rovers, starring William Holden and Ryan O’Neal. He also served as associate producer on many feature films including Darling Lili, starring Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson, The Great Race with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, and The Party and Revenge of the Pink Panther, both starring Peter Sellers.
Wales co-produced the ABC 8 hour miniseries, Emmy® nominated and Golden Globe® winner John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, starring Jane Seymour, and was associate producer of the first season of Cagney and Lacey.
He was Vice President of Production for Walt Disney Pictures and has served as production supervisor and consultant for many other features.
Wales received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Greenville College in Illinois and is on the faculty of his alma mater, the School of Cinema and Television at University of Southern California.
Mr. Tom Day, USMC veteran, Founder Bugles Across America
Tom Day was born in Chicago Illinois and graduated from Taft High School. He enlisted in the US Marines and served from 1957-1965. He was an instructor of Atomic, Bio, and Chemical Warfare and also the photographer for the Second Marine Air Wing at Glenview Naval Air Station Tom also was the Public Information Officer for the Navy Seabees at Glenview from 1978 to 1982. His father, Air Force Colonel Joe Day, was one of the founders of the USAF Civil Air Patrol and Mr. Day has served with the CAP in various capacities since
A life-long Drum and Bugle Corps enthusiast, he started various corps and took them to national and international championships. He has lectured at the College of DuPage and worked on music projects for Morton College in Cicero, Illinois. A registered speaker with the State of Illinois, he has spoken before audiences up to 65,000.
Mr. Day has run for office three times and worked on many political campaigns. He developed the Real Estate Tax program in Cook County and many other states, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in Tax Anticipated Warrants. He also worked for the Illinois Lottery for over 18 years raising even more money for education in Illinois.
In 2000, Tom founded “Bugles Across America”, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing live bugler at veteran funerals. In the years since the organization has recruited over seven thousand horn players in America and abroad.
A recipient of many awards Tom day has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Guidepost magazine, The VFW, American Legion, Amvets, Marine Corps League, The Instrumentalist, American Profile, Scouting, and The Elks magazine. He has appeared on Tom Brokaw’s NBC show, CNN, CLTV, ABC, FOX, and The Me Laughlin group on PBS, and many times on Public Radio.
Tom has been selected The Marine of the Year, Man of the Year by the Sons of the Union, Lottery Sales Rep of the Year, received awards from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Tom has won numerous medals and awards from Vietnam Veterans, The Merchant Marines. The U.S. Marines at Glenview, Illinois, Marine Corps League, VFW, American Legion, The United States Army, Scouting, and the Paralyzed Veterans. Honored in 2005 as a True American by the City of Chicago and led the Memorial Day Parade. In 2009, Tom was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Military Officers Association of America-an honor also shared by Toby Keith.
He is married to Donna Day and has two children and one grandchild.
Mr. Larry Dupree, USAF Veteran
Larry Dupree was born and raised in Western Kentucky. His dad was a WWII Army veteran with service in the Pacific Theater. Larry is retired, but active in promoting “live” Taps for Veteran’s Funeral Honors. He served in the U.S. Air Force as as a med-evac technician, earning the Air Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters during a tour in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, he flew med evac missions for the Army and Marines and some of the duty locations included Khe Sanh, Dak To and Dong Ha. He returned to the U.S.after the Tet Offensive.
After his service with the U.S. Air Force, he earned a business management degree at the University of Cincinnati and rose through management positions with several Fortune 500 companies. Larry was selected and graduated from NEC’s Overseas Management Course as the first one ever selected from his North American Division. He retired from his business career as President of a hydraulic tool company manufacturing a line of tools for the nation’s railroads.
Not content to set idle after retirement, he took a part-time job with a national hardware company, and organized the implementation of a new product line in one of 6 concept stores. The concept was successful and launched nationally.
Larry is a member of Bugles Across America dedicated to offer all veteran’s the dignity and honor of “live” Taps rather than Taps on a digital horn or recording, and through Taps 150, planning a celebration of Taps 150th birthday and the calls significance and importance in our nation’s history.
He is married and has one daughter and one step-daughter.