Lakeland Community College Civic Band director visits Soldiers National Monument

Oct. 4—Frank Cosenza, director of the Lakeland Community College Civic Band, recently took part in a "solemn and moving" ceremony at Gettysburg National Cemetery, performing Taps — the bugle call for "lights out" — at the Soldiers' National Monument as part of "One Hundred Nights of Taps, Gettysburg."

In its sixth year, the gathering honors the fallen laid to rest at the cemetery. Beginning on Memorial Day, the call is played nightly through Labor Day.

The program was conceived by artist Wendy Allen and patterned after a similar program, "Sounding The Last Post," in Belgium.

The Gettysburg program is co-sponsored by The Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania and Gettysburg National Military Park.

Cosenza became aware of this opportunity through two different organizations, Taps for Veterans and 100 Nights of Taps.

"I decided to see if there was a date available that fit my schedule and I was fortunate that I found an open spot," said the Mentor resident, who has been director of the band for the past five years. "So, my wife and I headed out to pay our respects to the soldiers....and be part of the event. My reaction was one of awe."

As the presentation features bugles or trumpets, Cosenza performed with his trumpet, noting players come from all over the county to participate.

"It was an honor for me to take part in a ceremony honoring those that gave their lives in the Civil War," he said. "The thought of standing a few feet from where Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address was humbling, and the audience I played for was respectful and appreciative."

For his participation, Cosenza was presented with a coin commemorating the event, which he has mounted in a display case.

"Those in attendance were several people who presented a brief talk about a specific soldier who died in the Civil War, Sgt. Amos Humiston from the New York Infantry," he added. "After the ceremony, the organizers asked all veterans and those currently serving to come forward for a photo with me and the presenters. After the ceremony, people came up to me and talked and had their photo taken with me."

Cosenza said he would consider participating in next year's event if scheduling works in his favor.

"It's always an issue, too, because availability opens in March and within a couple of days, all slots are filled up," he added. "Despite that, it's a worthwhile event for anyone who has the slightest interest in history, and to be able to be a part of it representing Lakeland Community College was quite a thrill."