Trumpet Journey Celebrates Herbert L. Clarke’s Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Herbert L. Clarke!
Happy Birthday, Herbert L. Clarke!

Today, I had a enough free time to go down to the Congressional Cemetery in the District of Columbia to pay my respects to Herbert L. Clarke, perhaps the greatest cornet virtuoso to ever live. For me, the connection is personal, because he is my musical grandfather: one of my teachers, Charles Gorham, was a student of Mr. Clarke for a short while back in the 1940s, I believe.

I took my Conn New York Wonder cornet and played a few Clarke pieces: From the Shores of the Mighty Pacific, The Debutante and his Carnival of Venice. “Our” audience was the fifteen or so dog walkers who pass through the cemetery every morning. One of the administrators came out and took some photos of me playing by the grave.

IMG_3981You will want to know that he is buried a mere 20 feet away from the tomb of the great band leader, John Philip Sousa.

As I was walking back to my car, I was thinking that this could become a very nice tradition for future years!


5 responses to “Trumpet Journey Celebrates Herbert L. Clarke’s Birthday!”

  1. Lynn Fryer Avatar
    Lynn Fryer

    WOW! Stan, I think this is the coolest thing ever! My Dad was a trumpet player and of course, he loved playing and teaching the Herbert Clarke solo’s. I took several friends who visited DC when I was in the band to see the Clarke and Sousa grave sites. Also the one of the American serviceman not allowed to be buried in Arlington because he was gay… said a little prayer for each. Good for you! Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Lynn. It actually really felt good to just be there for his birthday–I can’t explain it, but it was one of those unexpected good feelings.
      I’m not sure I completely understood your comment–were you saying that Clarke or Sousa was gay?

      1. Lynn Fryer Avatar
        Lynn Fryer

        Yes, I understand that feeling. I felt it every time I went to Congressional Cemetery. Felt good to be there with those musical greats!
        I don’t know if Sousa or Clarke were gay. In Congressional Cemetery there is a grave of an American soldier that was gay and not allowed to be buried in Arlington because of it. It must say that on the grave or I wouldn’t have known. Times have certainly changed- for the better in that regard!

  2. Lisle Moore Avatar
    Lisle Moore

    Lynn, if the gay guy’s grave was there, that must mean he was buried there. If it was an old grave, that just means what used to be a “happy, fun loving, light-hearted” guy! You know, Gay! “)

    1. Funny how words change their meaning!

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