By Olga Pena
Killeen Daily Herald
There is a difference between a bugler and a trumpeter Sgt. Larry Dean is both.
The featured soloist at tonights Heights Band concert, Dean joined the 1st Cavalry Division Band in August of 2004, leaving for Iraq a month later. He returned in January of this year.
Dean recalls having played Taps the military bugle call sounded at funerals, wreath-layings and memorial services more times than he can number.
We did it way more times than we should have, but thats war, Dean said casting his eyes down. It was hard to feel that emotion and project it but having to keep it at bay.
Military musicians, Dean explained, have a rare opportunity to perfect their craft, entertain troops, honor fallen comrades and defend their country.
Band members attend a six-month music school in addition to the regular basic training all soldiers undergo.
You always have your weapons and armor, Dean said. We are combatants just like anyone else.
When they are stateside, Dean explained, trumpet players perform dual roles as buglers and trumpeters. With the troops, buglers perform calls at ceremonies to include Taps. As trumpeters, the musicians march, entertain and perform in concerts.
While Deans love for his military musical career is great, he also enjoys playing outside of the Army world.
Dean, who was born in Killeen, followed in his brothers footsteps and picked up a trumpet before the age of 10. He has not put it down since.
Its a very versatile instrument, Dean said, listing the various musical styles he enjoys performing.
After studying music at Southwest Texas State University, Dean played nights and weekends in clubs, weddings and odd things that musicians do, he said.
Having witnessed his fathers successful and enjoyable military career, Dean then decided to join the Army in 2003. Dean participates in three of 1st Cavalry Bands ensembles: brass quartet, jazz combo and Grupo K-lore a salsa ensemble.
Dean has been performing with the Heights Band since junior high school. He said the band offers musicians an opportunity to perform with professionals, educators and talented students.
Its musically fulfilling and just a lot of fun, Dean said . I always seem to pick something up.
This will be Deans second time performing a solo with the accomplished band, having had his debut two weeks ago in San Saba. A 1994 graduate of Copperas Cove High School, Dean said tonights performance is like coming home.
I usually get nervous but since I came back from Iraq, its a feeling of anxiousness going back to my hometown, Dean said.
Appropriately, Deans solo is titled The Bugler.
Contact Olga Peña at opena@kdh