The Covington News - - Frontpage - Sabas­tian Wee swee@cov­news.com Sabas­tian Wee/the Cov­ing­ton News

At 7 a.m. sharp each morn­ing this week, Howard Kennedy has stood out­side the Salem Camp­ground taber­na­cle to sound the trum­pet, mark­ing the be­gin­ning of the day.

Trav­el­ing all the way from Dal­las, Kennedy has at­tended the Salem Campmeeting for 15 years. He is a friend of the Ham­let and Mil­ton fam­i­lies and has found the an­nual week of spir­i­tual re­vival and re­newal to be a com­fort­ing and re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It’s like a big fam­ily here,” Kennedy said. “It’s re­lax­ing and I’m sur­rounded by good peo­ple. It’s a neat place to be.”

The 183rd gather­ing at Salem ends to­day with a can­dle­light and Com­mu­nion clos­ing ser­vice at 9:30 p.m.

Each morn­ing dur­ing camp week, he strolls across the court­yard to the taber­na­cle to play “Reveille” twice, fac­ing both ends of the camp­ground.

He also marks the end of the camp’s day. At 11 p.m., he re­turns to the taber­na­cle to play “Taps.” He also per­forms at both ser­vices dur­ing the day.

“The first year I came, I brought my trum­pet, with no in­ten­tion to play, ex­cept for prac­tic­ing,” Kennedy said. “Ann (Mil­ton) told me that they used to have a bu­gler, but hadn’t had one in a long time, so she asked me if I would play … and I have been do­ing it ever since.”

Kennedy was a physi­cist for Texas In­stru­ments, de­vel­op­ing mil­i­tary in­frared equip­ment for 37 years be­fore re­tir­ing in 1996. His wife passed away six years ago and Kennedy now takes to the road each year, trav­el­ing from Dal­las to Chat­tanooga, Tenn., to visit his son, then pro­ceed­ing to the Salem Campmeeting.

Howard Kennedy plays his trum­pet at 7 each morn­ing at the Salem Campmeeting to rouse campers with two per­for­mances of “Reveille.” Each night at 11, he puts the camp to bed with a per­for­mance of “Taps.” See a video of Kennedy play­ing at cov­news.com.

He’s played trum­pet since he was 11. Kennedy loves tra­di­tional con­cert bands and cites John Philip Sousa as a mu­si­cal in­flu­ence. Back home, Kennedy par­tic­i­pates in a num­ber of large tra­di­tional bands, in­clud­ing a 60-piece band and a 12-piece brass en­sem­ble that plays march­ing songs, show tunes and clas­si­cal mu­sic.

Along with per­form­ing at the meet­ing, Ken- nedy spends his time at Salem re­lax­ing with friends, at­tend­ing the church ser­vices and Bi­ble stud­ies, and watch­ing the chil­dren play base­ball.

“The kids are safe here, play­ing any­where they want to,” he said. “ In Dal­las, kids don’t go out to play any­more be­cause of how dan­ger­ous it’s be­come.”

“The ca­ma­raderie here is what makes this place spe­cial for me,” said Kennedy. “ It’s im­por­tant for me to con­tinue this be­cause of our faith and the tra­di­tions here at the camp­ground.”

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