The Vermont 40th Army Band will play on

VERGENNES — They won’t be playing taps after all for the 40th Army Band of the Vermont National Guard.
Vermont Guard officials confirmed late last week that the 40th — which had been slated to be decommissioned and possibly made a detachment of the New Hampshire National Guard 39th Army Band — has been given an indefinite reprieve.
“MG Steven Cray announced today that the 40th Army Band, VTARNG, will not be decommissioned and restructured as earlier planned,” reads a memo signed by Sgt. 1st Class Rahne H. Murner, readiness NCO of the 40th Army Band and 172nd Public Affairs Detachment.
“Changes dealing with complex issues surrounding Force Structure have occurred that support the retention of the 40th Army Band as a unit in the Vermont Army National Guard Force Structure for the foreseeable future.”
This came as great news to members and alums of the 40th, who coincidentally performed a concert on the city green in Vergennes on Thursday evening, July 2. Among those playing was Jim Lanpher, a Vergennes resident and trumpet player who in 2009 had to reluctantly exit active duty with the band after 38 years because he hit the mandatory retirement age of 60. He and other alums still occasionally perform with the celebrated group, whose roots date back to 1907. The Addison Independent in September of 2014 published an extensive feature story about the 40th and efforts by Lanpher and other boosters to save the outfit.
A very happy Lanpher hailed the decision on Friday as he and 17 other alums of the 40th were preparing to join the band for a special Independence Day concert at Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Jeffersonville on Saturday, July 4.
“I’m very pleased,” Lanpher said of the decision to keep the 40th in action. “It’s the outcome we were hoping for.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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