The sign hanging over the front porch in Edgartown speaks of a trumpet player’s philosophy: Listen for the music in all things and life will be a symphony of joy.

“The sign says it all, up there,” said Edson Rodgers on a recent late summer afternoon on the porch, where he shared a glider with his wife Norma, his trusty Connstellation trumpet in his lap. “This is home, big time.”

The professional trumpet player and 30-year career U.S. Navy band member (now retired) is a ubiquitous presence at parades, weddings and every military funeral on the Vineyard.

He first picked up the trumpet in third grade. — Mark Lovewell

Ask him how old he is and the answer comes in the form of a question: how many trombones played in The Music Man?

He grew up in Vineyard Haven. His father was the manager of the A&P in Vineyard Haven and could often be found whistling; his mother played a little piano. “Way back growing up I just seemed to enjoy music,” he said. He first picked up the trumpet in the third grade with his teacher Rudy Fiebich. “Rudy told my folks some day I would end up playing and people would be taking me places to play. It worked out that way,” he said.

The trumpet would become his lifelong passion. He continued to play in high school, which is where he met his bride-to-be, Norma Norton. She was an Edgartown girl, in the days before there was a regional high school.

“All I kept thinking was, what am I doing dating this girl from Edgartown on the other side of the Island . . .  I have to go eight and a half miles, ” he laughed.

Norma first heard Ed play the trumpet at a school concert — the tune was Louis Armstrong’s Stardust. They’ve been married 54 and a half years and have four children and six grandchildren.

After graduating from high school, the same teacher who had encouraged Mr. Rodgers to play the trumpet encouraged him to enlist in Navy — with his trumpet.

“I went up to Boston for my audition and I just squeaked by,” he recalled. He stayed for 30 years. The first half of his career was spent mostly in the States; later he traveled abroad. In 1965 he went on a tour of South America with the Navy Show Band. “Our youngest daughter was not talking when I left,” he recalled. “I circumnavigated South America and we went down the west coast and up to the east coast. When I got up to Brazil, I was able to call home and my daughter said 'Hi, Dad.' I wanted to swim home.”

Later years were spent as an instructor at the Navy School of Music.

He retired at the age of 48 with a full Navy Band send-off, and the family moved back to the Vineyard.

Today Ed Rodgers is the go-to community trumpet player on the Vineyard and beyond.

He recently played for the oar and paddle race on Sengekontacket, the dog parade in Oak Bluffs, and he has a regular gig with the Vineyard Haven Band. At Illumination Night this year, he played Moon River under a new moon. Later this month he heads to the boat show in Newport, R.I. A few years ago he played a gig on the Mississippi Queen. “The most enjoyable job since I’ve been out of the service,” he said.

He makes an annual trip to Philadelphia to reunite with his Navy pals. As it always was, the music is the thing.

Ed and Norma, his high school swetheart, have been married for 54 and a half years. — Mark Lovewell

“The first thing we do when we check in is go down to the bar and start playing everything,” he said. “On the third night, we again entertain ourselves and have a big dance and full band.”

When he’s not playing trumpet, Mr. Rodgers builds wooden boats and drives for an Island tour company.

“I enjoy showing people my Island, I really do, the beauty just abounds,” he said. “I love to see families enjoying themselves and enjoying the Vineyard.”

But he is perhaps most well known for his rendition of Taps at parades and military funerals.

“It means so much to me,” he said. “It’s an honor to be able to do that. It’s the least I could do for my fellow veterans. As long as I’m able to play, that is my number one job. I started way back when I was down in Washington, D.C. I would sometimes go to Arlington Cemetery and play there. You read those stories where someone has to come in with a recorded version of Taps and as long as I can, I hope to never see that happen here.”

In addition to his workhorse Connstellation, he also has a flugelhorn (which offers a smaller and softer sound) and a pocket trumpet that he likes to play for kids.

He recites the Ed Rodgers formula for a good trumpet player: 90 per cent breathing, eight per cent chops or embouchure (muscles around the mouth) and two per cent brains.

“Now that’s an exaggeration but so much of it comes down to breathing properly and knowing how to breathe,” he said.

His songbook runs deep through Americana and includes classic ballads. And one more familiar tune.

“I pick up the phone and play Happy Birthday for everyone’s birthday — I have six grandchildren so that keeps me going on the phone,” he said.