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John Philip Sousa:
I Love a Parade!

Before television, radio, and the movies, it used to be a very big deal when the circus came to town. Circus parades and performances were always accompanied by marches called "screamers" -- a name that probably came from the fact that the music screams for attention.

Music heard in this episode:
Fucik: Thunder and Blazes
Wagner: Under the Double Eagle
King: Barnum and Bailey's Favorite
Bagley: National Emblem
Alford: Colonel Bogey
Jessel: Parade of the Wooden Soldiers
Elgar: Pomp and Circumstances

Other shows about John Philip Sousa:
About John Philip Sousa
About "Stars & Stripes"
American Military Bands
The Golden Age of American 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 advertised with a parade?

The newspaper

The local baseball team

The circus

The movie theatre

The bank

2.What toys have their own song for a parade?

Teddy Bears

Wooden Soldiers

Baby Dolls


Dump Trucks

3. Who composed the Pomp and Circumstance March #1?

Edward Elgar

Ralph Vaughn Williams

Johann Sebastian Bach

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Aaron Copland


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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