Calling His Cattle Home with a Trombone (Video)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 1:41pm

Calling His Cattle Home with a Trombone (Video)

A few weeks ago, several readers encouraged me to use the hashtag #unexpectedjoy in my tweets. Which got me to thinking... how do these unanticipated moments of pleasure lead to deeper meaning. One answer, I think, is finding things that connect us and that remind us of the simple pleasures in life.

So when I unexpectedly saw this video of a Kansas farmer, Derek Klingenberg, calling his cattle home by playing the trombone, I felt connected — to my farming heritage and the horizontal line of a North Dakota sunrise. I felt connected to my sons and wife, who absolutely love pop music. Especially Lorde's hit single, "Royals." I was overwhelmed with laughter and joy, and I find myself wanting to share it with everyone.

This unassuming video also requires a bit of patience. At first, it appears that he's a lone cowboy having some fun in an lawn chair in the middle of the prairie. But, stick with it. Music always delivers. Here's the backdrop, as Mr. Klingenberg posts on his Facebook page:

"Yesterday morning I went out to film myself calling in cattle with my trombone. I've been going out there the past week to "cube" the cattle. We feed them a treat so it is easier to gather them when we round them up later this week. For fun I played my trombone to help call the cattle in from long distance.

Yesterday morning was so beautiful. I left very early in the morning. There is something wonderful about playing a trombone in the middle of a prairie to 380 heifers. I am happy to share with the world the beauty of the Kansas Flint Hills."


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Trent Gilliss

is the cofounder of On Being / KTPP and currently serves as chief content officer and executive editor. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on "The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi" and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent's reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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Filled me with joy! Thanks!

I don't think this is joyful,these poor creatures don't know you want to kill them. HORRIBLE.You give them treats to make it easier for you to gather them later. I fel sick.Where is the compassion in this world?

Such a shame that these loving, trusting music lovers will end up in the slaughterhouse.

I enjoyed the video, too, but also feel sadness about the fate of these obviously intelligent creatures who can feel joy and respond.

I had the same reaction...

I had the same thought. It is very sweet to see these lovely beings respond and the farmer enjoying their response -- but so sad to know they being called to slaughter.

Does anyone know the fate of these animals?

They don't look like dairy cows. if they're going to be slaughtered does anyone know how long they live before they're slaughtered? I read that slaughter houses in this country are terrible - very frightening for the animals. I wish that wasn't the case. Maybe it's nice for the animals to have the music in their short lives before they're slaughtered?

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! Loved the trombone haling the cows!

Apparently this works on dogs too. My pup woke up from a dead sleep then was staring very intently at my laptop as this was playing.

Music is a universal language indeed! Totally awesome!

This does indeed make me so happy and it also makes me want to put a mariachi band out on the prairies to see what happens! thanks for the joy :)

So simple, yet refreshing, these little slices of life. Thank you for sharing with us.

I am a trumpet player, but loved your video!! It was really cool watching them all come in as you played!


I used to play my oboe for the cows. They liked that, too.

love the video---reminded me of days past and calling the cows in for supper

Beautiful~But I feel so sad about the fate of these clearly aware and intelligent responsive animals. it seems they appreciate their life,too; the slaughterhouse is such a dreadful way for them end it...

Loved this! I RECOGNIZED the little part at the end froM my kids' marching band days. Had to laugh when the cows seemed to respond appropriately! Thanks for the early morning smIle!

Ihave called the cows in and played a trombone, bUt never together. I enjoyed the video. What a concept!

Loved it - cows have taste, too (besides being tasty...)

Well, there is, indeed, something wonderful about Mr. Klingenberg, and the single thought that comes to mind is that "he connects" on oh so many levels! Beyond that, words fail.....

The power of music! love it. Keep playing!

Charming, Joyful, Funny and Smart!

I loved this.

Reminds me of a SIMPLER life

This is a link to a Radiolab podcast concerning Robert Krulwich's birthday and a marching band engaged in a similar "call and response" with alligators, among other things.

The cows coming to listen to the music played by their farmer affirms that all living creatures are connected.

I have been thinking about returning to vegetarianism. This video seals the deal.