Music on Mondays — The March King
When I was young, I played the piano and the violin, and I sang in school, church, and community choirs (mixed, men’s, and ensembles). I wanted to take up the oboe or snare drum so that I could march in football halftime shows. Alas, never did it. However, I still love the marching bands, especially traditional marching bands. I’m not that big a fan of show bands.
On this date in 1880, John Philip Sousa, arguably the greatest composer of marches the world has ever known, became conductor of the United States Marine Corps Band. He was just 26 and would serve as conductor until 1892. He left to found his own marching band, the Sousa Band, which performed 15,623 concerts from 1892 to 1931, when John Philip retired. He died the following year at the age of 77 and is buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. He is fondly remembered as The March King.
I have a complete collection of all his marches and will share a few of my favorites since we’re in the midst of football season and halftime marching band performances.
Stars & Stripes Forever
Washington Post March
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