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Tribute for tune that honors sacrifice

Posted on May 30, 2006

The Civil War general credited with bringing taps to his troops to signal the end of the day was remembered at his alma mater on Monday as his tune was played to honor others from Union College who died fighting for their country.

A small group of students, faculty and veterans gathered around a flagpole near the center of the Union campus and bowed their heads as Michael Gillin, a sophomore and member of the college Jazz Ensemble, sounded the tune that Daniel Adams Butterfield of the class of 1849 asked his bugler to play at the end of each day during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862 in Virginia.

Historians believe that Butterfield, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Battle of Gaines Mill, revised an earlier bugle call to produce the tune now known as taps.

Monday's afternoon gathering was the first formal Memorial Day observance on campus in recent years.

“It's important to recognize, in particular, those individuals who gave their lives in service of their country,” said Dwight Wolf, a Vietnam War veteran who is associate dean for academic services at Union.

Also attending the service was Army Spc. Caleb Bower, a junior who is a veteran of the war in Iraq.

The young reservist was called up at the end of the first term of his sophomore year and returned in January of last year. He spent a year working in a supply yard where food and water were distributed to U.S. troops throughout Iraq.

“Everyone in our unit made it back home. It was a blessing,” he said. Yet the 22-year-old physics and music major said he finds the sound of taps especially touching now that he has seen active duty overseas.

“It certainly has a little bit more power to it,” he said of the call. “It's one thing watching the movies or television, but to really understand even a little bit what these people had to go through, . . . It's a lot more powerful.”

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Union community pays tribute on Memorial Day

Posted on May 29, 2006

Michael Gillin '08
Memorial Day 2006

Dozens of students, staff, faculty and alumni gathered at the Flag Pole behind the Nott and Rugby field Monday afternoon to honor the College's veterans and members of the Armed Forces.

“We are asking the Union College Community to take a few minutes of their day to join us in remembering and honoring those in our community who are members of the Armed Forces,” said Gretchel Hathaway Tyson, director of Affirmative Action and Community Outreach.

A crowd gathered at the flagpole for Memorial Day 2006 tribute

The service included “Taps,” the bugle call composed by Daniel Butterfield, Class of 1849, who rose to the rank of major general in the Union Army. Butterfield composed the haunting call while in camp at Harrison's Landing, Va., in 1862.

According to the Web site, tapsbugler.com, “General Butterfield was not pleased with the call for Extinguish Lights, feeling that the call was too formal to signal the day's end, and with the help of the brigade bugler, Oliver Willcox Norton (1839-1920), wrote Taps to honor his men while in camp at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, following the Seven Days battle.

General Daniel Adams Butterfield, composer of “Taps”

“The new call, sounded that night in July, 1862, soon. The new call, sounded that night in July 1862, soon spread to other units of the Union Army and was reportedly also used by the Confederates.''

The call became known as “Taps” because it was often tapped out on a drum in the absence of a bugler call. It was officially adopted by the U.S. Army in 1874.

Michael Gillin '08 played the bugle call at the Flag Pole.

Among those honored at Monday's ceremony:

Faculty and staff:

James Adrian – Chemistry

Robert Babb – ITS

David Battin – Psychology

Donald Birch – Facilities

Kelly Black – Mathematics

Timothy Cade – ITS

Victor Carmen – Environmental, Health and Safety Office

James Clark – Facilities

Walter Cook – ITS

Dan Curran – Facilities

Paul Durivage, Jr. – Facilities

Tim Gerrish – Athletics

Thomas Jewell – Engineering & Computer Science

Terry Miltner – Facilities

Patty Richardson – Campus Safety

William Sickinger – Campus Safety

Donald Tallman – Residential Life

Frank Wicks – Mechanical Engineering

Dwight Wolf – Dean of Faculty

Michael Gillin '08 plays “Taps” at Memorial Day 2006 tribute


Caleb Bower ‘08

Kevin Calhoun ‘06

Pete Drake ‘06

William Fitzsimmons ‘08

Stacy Grant ‘05

Scott Maynes ‘06

James Montani ‘06

Douglas Richardson ‘08

Toby Proctor ‘06

Brendan Schaef – 06


Stanley R. Gordan

Harry Temple

Also honored were College Alumni who are veterans and those who have lost their lives while in service.

The program was sponsored by the Gospel Choir and Kenney Community Center volunteers.

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Union group to uncover historic Erie Canal lock

Posted on May 26, 2006

It was the busiest lock on the Erie Canal. In its heyday around 1880, it served 47,000 vessels a season – one boat every four minutes – on the Empire State's most famous waterway.

Today, Lock 23 in Rotterdam is not well known with the exception of bikers and walkers who might give it a glance as they pass along an overgrown section of the Mohawk Bikepath.

On Saturday, a group of students, faculty and staff from Union College will clear brush and small trees from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

The project will reveal Lock 23 as a marvel of engineering, its meticulous stonework nearly as neat as it was century ago. The lock was important historically as a busy transfer point for the overland route to Albany, which avoided waiting at locks in Cohoes and Waterford. Due to high volume, Lock 23 was expanded to a double lock. The lock doors are gone, but an observer can get a sense of what it was like as boats passed through.

Prof. Andrew Morris

Students and faculty from Union's civil engineering department led by Prof. Andrew Wolfe rehabilitated the lock over a four year period ending in 2003. That work included rebuilding the wooden pier on the west end of the lock, and installing a replica of a locktender's hut, the yellow and brown building on the site.

“I hope that this is a step in a longer term program of preserving and promoting this historic structure,” said Andrew Morris, assistant professor of history, who is organizing the event.

Directions to Lock 23:

From I-890 west toward Amsterdam, take exit 2B toward Rice Road.

Follow the exit about one-tenth of a mile to Schermerhorn Road on the left.

On your right, across from Schermerhorn Road,  there will be an unmarked road with a mailbox. Park just beyond this point and walk a short distance to the lock on the right.


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Fans, musicians to gather at Union College for Dylan’s 65th birthday

Posted on May 26, 2006

“I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now,” Bob Dylan sang in “My Back Pages” back in the summer of 1964.

Wednesday, Dylan celebrated his 65th birthday, and at 7 tonight a who's-who of the Capital Region music scene will gather at the Old Chapel on Schenectady's Union College campus to pay tribute to the Voice of a Generation.

Once a reclusive, confounding interviewee, Dylan seems to have opened up considerably in the past year or so. First, there was his surprisingly revealing book of memoirs, “Chronicles, Vol. 1.” Then there was “No Direction Home,” a four-hour documentary on his early life and music directed by Martin Scorcese. Dylan actually sat down and chatted extensively — on camera, no less — for the show, which aired last fall over the course of two nights on PBS as part of the “American Masters” series. Look for WMHT Ch. 17 to rerun the shows next month.
The latest development on the Dylan front is his new radio show, “The Theme Time Radio Hour,” which is beamed out weekly to subscribers of XM Satellite Radio at 10 a.m. Wednesdays and repeated frequently. Each week's show concerns a different theme: weather, mother, drinking and this week's topic — baseball.

Dylan spins a dizzyingly eclectic bunch of tunes — last week's show about drinking included tunes by Loretta Lynn, John Lee Hooker, Charles Aznavour, Electric Flag, the Clancy Brothers, Hank Williams Jr. and the Andrews Sisters, for example. And he chats about the music and the artists in between tunes. He tells jokes. He rambles a bit, charmingly so.

It's my new favorite listening hour of the week.

Tonight's show at Union College is “No Direction Home: The Eighth Annual Bob Dylan Birthday Celebration,” and among the many performers paying tribute to Dylan are No Outlet (who actually kick off the festivities with an outdoor performance at 4 p.m.), bluesman Mark Tolstrup, the reunited Wood, Frank Jaklitsch, Steven Clyde and Son, Circle of Willis, Ross Marvin, the Nude Uilleanns, Rob Skane, the Decadent Royals, Folding Sky, Zimmerbeat, Tom Raider, Breakin' My Art and many others.

Admission is free, and there's even free birthday cake.

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