By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Oklahoma City freshman Katie Prior is pursuing her musical talents in a special way. She is the founder of the Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps, which gives high school and college trumpet players an opportunity to use their musical gifts to serve others.
“Our main project is volunteering to play Taps at military veterans’ funerals,” Prior said. “Due to a shortage of military buglers, most veterans will receive an audio recording of Taps at their funeral instead of a live performance.”
Forming the Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps has garnered Prior with the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting given for projects that impact the community.
She is one of seven Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma members being honored with the Gold Award on Saturday, May 2 in a ceremony at First Church in downtown Oklahoma City. The other Gold Award recipients are Rachel Cloos, Madison Coston, Lauren Floyd, Jenifer Lopez, Samantha Mas and Cara Williamson
Over 200 Girl Scouts will be honored for their accomplishments in receiving the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards at First Church in Oklahoma City, 131 NW 4th Street, at 3 p.m.
At 14, Prior is one of the youngest Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma division Gold Award recipients.
Prior has recruited 26 student volunteers in Oklahoma and Texas who have performed Taps and patriotic music for over 2,000 people since last June.
“Shortly after I started playing trumpet, my great-grandfather was in hospice care,” Prior said. “My family talked about how great it would be if I could play Taps alongside the serviceman at his funeral. Sadly, he passed away before I had the chance to learn the notes.
“After I’d been playing the trumpet for five years, I heard that many veterans receive a recorded playing of Taps instead of a live performance and this moved me to found the Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps.”
As a Senior Girl Scout, Prior was proud when she learned that the Trumpet & Taps Corps was approved as a Girl Scout Gold Award project.
Prior is actively promoting the Corps to raise funds and awareness about the project.
“I met with Oklahoma State Senator Frank Simpson (R-OK 14th District) to thank him for his work on Senate Bill 398 to ensure burial benefits for homeless veterans and to discuss how Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps volunteers can honor veterans in his district,” she said.
Prior is a member of the International Trumpet Guild and participates in the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra, the Oklahoma Homeschool Bands and is a student at the Infinity Music Arts Academy in Norman.
“On March 28th we held our first Taps clinic in the state of Texas. Seven high school students from the North Texas area attended and are now ready to volunteer,” Prior stated. “We now have volunteers in Allen, Dallas, Richardson, Wylie, Rockwall, Prosper, Flower Mound, and White Wright.”
Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps Volunteers will be performing Echo Taps at the starting line of the Oklahoma City Memorial Day Run race honoring the men and women who died while serving in the American Military.
The race will be held on Monday, May 25 at 4 p.m. at Wheeler Park, 1120 South Western Avenue. For more information, visit www.mdayrun.com.
To find out more about the Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps, visit www.trumpetandtaps.org.