ULM's Talons for Taps program is honoring Veterans

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - ULM’s Talons for Taps program is honoring veterans throughout the ArkLaMiss. The program provides live buglers, or trumpeters, at local memorial services and funerals in the area.

ULM students are honoring Veterans by playing taps live at local funerals and memorial services. (Source: KNOE)

Eric Siereveld is the founder of Talons for Taps at ULM. He says the military can’t provide a live bugler at every ceremony or service, so this program fills a void in Northeast Louisiana.

Siereveld says he played in a similar program in college, so when he came to teach at ULM he wanted to give students a way to give back to the community.

He says playing taps at a ceremony adds something special and meaningful, especially for the family.

“Because I think they know, that's the final call, and it's very impactful on the families and you feel humbled and honored that you get to be a part of it because it's such a small thing,” says Siereveld. “It's 30 to 45 seconds, but it means everything to them and everything to the family.”

Recently they played at the Monroe Police Department's wreath laying ceremony as part of police week.

Siereveld says the program started last September, and they’ve played at over 20 events so far.

“At the last one, the World War II Veteran's service, the family came up to me and the sister said ‘I was just fine until you played taps and then I wasn't okay’."

Students like ULM senior Kody Jernigan say a live rendition of taps really makes all the difference.

"It brings back good memories for those who have a touching relationship with music, and it's its own language, it speaks to people in ways words can't."

And music is a language that Jernigan is all too familiar with. He’s played the trumpet for most of his life, and he says he can see how much music impacts people when they play at services.

"It really speaks to your heart and it tells you that you're doing something better for the community that not really other people can do,” says Jernigan.

You can fill out a request form on the Talons for Taps website, https://www.ulm.edu/music/talons-for-taps.html.