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John Philip Sousa:
About John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa -- the most American of composers -- was the son of immigrants to the United States. Because of his love for bands and band music, John Philip Sousa wrote many wonderful marches. As a result, he is known as the "March King."

Music heard in this episode:
Sousa: The Thunderer
Sousa: Semper Fidelis
Sousa: El Capitan
Sousa: Washington Post
Sousa: Liberty Bell
Sousa: Hands Across The Sea
Sousa: Liberty Bell (Reprise)
Sousa: The Stars and Stripes Forever

Other shows about John Philip Sousa:
I Love a Parade!
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. Where was John Philip Sousa born?

New York City

Washington DC




2.What band did Sousa join at the age of 13?

The New York Philharmonic

His high school marching band

The Marine Band

The Navy Band

A circus band

3. John Philip Sousa has what nickname?

The Dancing Prince

Americas Conductor

The Trombone Master

The March King

The Waltz King


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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