Playing an instrument has bridged the gap between an ROTC cadet and his grandfather.
After playing the trumpet in the ROTC for three years, Jeremy Moore, a senior studying business management, became interested in learning more about his grandfather and the trumpet he played.
“I knew it was my grandfather’s trumpet, but I never really knew much about him as an individual,” Moore said. “I knew he had been in the army and that he once owned a trumpet, but that’s about it.”
Moore turned to his aunt, Linda Arnold, living in West Jordan, to learn more.
Moore’s grandfather, Jay C. Hall, first became interested in playing the trumpet after seeing his uncle play.
“He thought, ‘Man, that’s the instrument for me,'” Arnold said. “He got out a Sears catalog and ordered his first trumpet (pay on delivery). When it arrived his parents had to pay for it, which they did, and he started playing dance jobs with his uncle in Minersville.”
Hall went to high school in nearby Beaver and played in the Beaver High School marching band. He graduated two years early, at the age of 16, in 1936.
Later that same year, Hall enrolled at BYU. There he took every opportunity to play his instrument. He majored in music, played first trumpet in both the dance and marching bands and even played in the Provo Tabernacle.
“Anything and everything he could do with that trumpet, he did it,” Arnold said.
Hall graduated with a teaching degree and moved to Idaho, where he taught school for a year. Hall realized teaching was not for him after one year and enlisted in the Air Force Core in 1942.
Hall was assigned to the Special Services due to a bad disc in his neck, according to Arnold.
“He was quickly given the opportunity to play in the Army Air Force Band at Williams Air Force Base, and every Friday and Saturday night for the Officers’ Club,” Arnold said.
After leaving the Air Force in 1945, Hall played occasionally at family events. He died prematurely in 1977 at age 58 from lung cancer while Moore’s mother was still in high school.
“It was very devastating,” Arnold said, “having your father die so young, while he still had a child in school.”
After his death, Hall’s trumpet was passed around among his children and grandchildren before ending up with Moore several years ago.
When Moore received the instrument to play for the ROTC here at BYU, he really didn’t know very much about his grandfather.
“I’ve had his instrument for three years now, but I’ve never had his story,” Moore said. “Playing his instrument this Patriot Day gave me a chance to get to know him like I never had before. Because I was playing his instrument, I now feel connected to him … it bridged a gap.”