Brass player divides time between Hagerstown and White House

July 25, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Clear Spring native Neal Corwell performs Sunday along with other members of The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets at the Peter Buys Band Shell in City Park.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN --Neal Corwell took an interest in music while he was a student at Clear Spring Elementary School.

Now he plays at the White House, helping to welcome ambassadors as part of the official fanfare ensemble for President Obama.

Corwell plays euphonium for The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, which joined the Hagerstown Municipal Band for a 7:30 p.m. show Sunday at the Peter Buys Band Shell in City Park.

The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, founded in 1959, was patterned after traditional British "fanfare" British ensembles and is designed to add splendor to official military ceremonies, according to

The group is a performing element of The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own" in Washington, D.C.

Corwell talked for a few moments about his experiences with The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets before he walked into the band shell to perform Sunday.


He said he joined the U.S. Army in 1981 and left in 1989. He rejoined the force in 2002, which is when he started playing with the Trumpets.

"It's exciting seeing the heads of state," Corwell said.

Corwell has also been a member of the Hagerstown Municipal Band since 1977, and is able to play with that band some when he can get away from his duties with The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets.

Corwell is the second Hagerstown Municipal Band member to have connections to the Trumpets.

Hagerstown Municipal Band member Lisa Gleason was the first female trumpet player with the Trumpets and played with that group from 1982 to 1986, band officials said.

About three-quarters of the seating in front of the band shell was filled for Sunday's show. Other spectators positioned themselves around the seating area.

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