University of Louisville School of Music alumnus Matthew Byrne performed a solo rendition of “Taps” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during President Joe Biden’s Inauguration ceremonies Wednesday (Jan. 20, 2021). The Tomb is located at Arlington National Cemetery.
Master Sgt. Byrne is currently a member of the U.S. Army Band known as “Pershing’s Own.” His primary duties include performing for ceremonies in Arlington National Cemetery and at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as military functions in and around Washington, DC.
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 professor of Trumpet 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.
The playing of Taps begins at approximately the 02:50 mark of the video posted here.
Byrne is the second alum in the last few years to play Taps at the Tomb. Master Sgt. Todd Taylor (’90) is the premier bugler for the U.S. Army Band and has also played “Taps” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, one of the highest honors available for military musician.