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John Philip Sousa:
The Golden Age of American Bands

From the late 1800's to the early 1900's, professional bands toured all over the United States, and many towns in this country had their own amateur bands.

Music heard in this episode:
Gilmore: 22nd Regiment March
Herbert: Serenade
Arban: Carnival of Venice
Clarke: The Debutante
Pryor: Desecration Rag #2
Fillmore: Lassus Trombone
Goldman: The Chimes of Liberty
Wilson: Music Man

Other shows about John Philip Sousa:
I Love a Parade!
About John Philip Sousa
About "Stars & Stripes"
American Military Bands

Download this month's activity sheet

About John Philip Sousa
11/6/1854 - 3/6/1932
Born in America

American bandmaster and composer John Philip Sousa was born in Washington D.C. He was the son of Portuguese and German immigrants. His father played trombone in the United States Marine Band, and the younger Sousa was always interested in bands. When he was 13, he nearly ran off to join a circus band. His father found out about the plan, and stuck him in the Marine Band instead.

In addition to playing band instruments, Sousa played violin, and that's how he met his wife. She was a singer, and he was playing in the orchestra of the theater where she worked. Sousa was also a theater composer -- he wrote 15 operettas.

Eventually, John Philip Sousa went back to bands. He spent 12 years as conductor of the Marine Band, and then left to start a concert band of his own. The Sousa Band toured all over the world, playing to sold-out houses.

John Philip Sousa literally continued conducting up until his death. He died suddenly after leading a band rehearsal. The final piece he conducted at the rehearsal was "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

See other composers born in America


This Week's Quiz:

1. Who is the father of the American concert band?

John Phillip Sousa

Patrick S. Gilmore

Aaron Copland

Leonard Bernstein

Glenn Miller

2.Who was the hero of every American band?

The conductor

The drummer

The librarian

The cornet soloist

The drum major

3. Who conducted the first band to regularly broadcast on the radio?

Leonard Bernstein

Aaron Copland

John Phillip Sousa

Victor Herbert

Henry Fillmore


John Philip Sousa
The Stars and Stripes Forever

Composed in 1896
Performed by Richard Hayman and His Symphony Orchestra
Richard Hayman, conductor

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