UofL alumnus performs ‘Taps’ at presidential inauguration ceremony

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 7:11 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - University of Louisville School of Music alumnus Master Sergeant Matthew Byrnes performed a solo rendition of “Taps” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremonies Wednesday.

“It was surreal,” Byrnes said.

He has been a member of the U.S. Army Band, known as “Pershing’s Own,” for the past 17 years.

The band was involved in several aspects of the presidential inauguration, including leading the escort for the past 96 years. Byrnes’ primary duties include performing ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington National Cemetery, as well as other military functions in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a matter of personal pride for everybody that goes down there that we do our best every time,” Byrnes said. “At least come close to try and match their standards.”

According to UofL, Byrne was a teacher’s assistant at the University of Louisville School of Music. He graduated Phi Kappa Phi and earned his master’s degree in music performance, studying with the late trumpet professor Michael Tunnell. While at the University of Louisville, he auditioned for and won a position with Pershing’s Own and joined the unit upon completion of basic training in 2004.

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