Cole Guerreire plays ‘Taps’ at the top

By Alex Bunten | The Charlotte News

Next time you walk up Mt. Philo, you might be surprised to hear 24 notes from a solitary trumpet come meandering through the trees as the sun sets. It’s an unmistakeable tune that is so ingrained in American culture that many people can recognize it from the first couple notes.

That would be Cole Guerriere, 20, of Shelburne, a talented Mt. Philo attendant, playing “Taps” from summit lookout, marking the end of the day, but also the end of summer for many local kids.

The Charlotte News caught up with Cole on August 21 as he packed up his attendant station in the lower lot.

“Somebody told me about this guy in Oregon,” said Cole, “who used to play taps over this lake where he lived and people really liked it. It brought people together. We thought we’d give it a try here.”

Possibly most known for its use at military funerals, “Taps” is also played at memorial services, to accompany the lowering of a flag and to signal “lights out” in military training camps and summer camps alike.

The song title has some origins in the Dutch command, tap toe, which means to “shut the tap of the keg.”

Guerriere started playing the trumpet when he was in 5th grade and played in the school band all the way up to junior year of high school. However, when The News filmed him at the summit, it was only his ninth time playing the tune for an audience.

“I’d played it for fun sometimes,” he said, “usually when someone would mess up in band. But this is the first time I’ve really committed myself to ‘Taps.’”

Cole plays this solemn tribute at the summit of Mt. Philo Wednesday through Sunday.

“People usually really enjoy it,” he said. “There was actually a woman whose husband died a year ago yesterday and she came up. It kinda served as a tribute for her. It serves a lot of different purposes and it has a lot of different meaning for people.”

Although some people have requested Cole come in the morning to play “Reveille,” “No one is yelling ‘Freebird’ yet,” he joked.