Special Sub-Topic: John Philip Sousa, the March King
|Sousa was born on November 6, 1854. What city was he born in?|
Washington, D.C.. Quite fitting that the man so famous for his patriotic music was born in the nation's capital.
|As with many 13 year old boys during that time, Sousa had ambitions to run away and join a circus -- only in his case, to join a circus band. What did his father do to prevent this?|
Enlisted him in the United States Marine Corp Band. He served nearly three years as a musician. His talent for music and composition became known during this time which led to his being offered the leadership position beginning in October 1880
|One night during his tenure as leader of the USMC Band he heard some of his comrades singing the famous "Marines Hymn". This brought him to tears and inspired him to compose which famous march?|
Semper Fidelis. Composed in 1888, the title is taken from the Marine Corps motto meaning "Always Faithful". It has subsequently become the Official March of the United States Marine Corps.
|On July 30, 1892, Sousa resigned from the Marine Corps for what reason?|
To form his own civilan band. This was during an era when civilian concert bands were quite popular. David Blakely was Sousa's first manager and ultimately convinced him to form his own band. Due to Sousa's standards of musicianship and showmanship this move proved to be very lucrative.
|In 1896, while on a tour in Europe with his band, Sousa received a cablegram that his manager had passed away. He returned to the United States immediately. According to Sousa, as he walked the decks of the steamer a mental band played stirring strains in his head over and over. After arriving in the U.S.A. he penned these melodies to paper the first chance he had, and that was on Christmas Day of that year. What did he title this march?|
The Stars and Stripes Forever. All these were written by Sousa in varous times, but it goes without saying that "Stars and Stripes" has proven to be the most popular and most patriotic march ever written.
| Sousa was not just known for his marches. He wrote in all forms--waltzes, suites, songs, etc. He wrote a number of operettas which met with some success. Which of these did he write?|
All of these. (El Capitan, Bride Elect, The Charlatan). "El Capitan" was his most successful, opening in 1895 and ran for almost 4 years in the United States with many later revivals. "The Charlatan" opened in 1898 and ran for 16 months. "The Bride Elect" also opened in 1895, but couldn't match the success of "El Capitan". In each case Sousa extracted some of the more martial melodies of the operetta and published them in march form. Sousa considered a career in musical theater before he was offered the leadership of the USMC Band.
|As the United States entered World War I, what action did Sousa take?|
Enlisted in the United States Navy. In 1917, at the age of 62, Sousa enlisted in the Navy to organize and train band units at he Great Lakes Naval Center in Illinois. When the war ended he held the rank of Lt. Commander in the Navy Coast Defense Reserve. Sousa refused to accept a salary of more than one dollar a year for his sevices.
|Since Sousa's band was quite successful he was able to engage many of the top soloists and performers of the day. Which performer was virtuoso on cornet and wrote many solos that are still performed to this day.|
Herbert L. Clarke. Among the things Clarke composed were staples of cornet literature such as "Bride of the Waves", and a set of variations on "Carnival of Venice". He served with the Sousa band for nearly 20 years before going to lead a successful band of his own. The others were engaged by Sousa as well: Pryor was a solo trombonist and Mantia was a euphonium player who was quite proficient on trombone as well. Both of these men composed for their instrument as well as later led successful bands of their own. Maud Powell was a violinist. After getting her start with the Sousa band she became one of the leading violin soloists of her day.
|Sousa was an author as well, writing many books, stories and magazine articles. In 1928 he wrote his autobiography. What was the title?|
Marching Along. Subtitled "Recollections of Men, Women, and Music".
"Through the Years..." (1910) was diary of his band tours. "Trumpet and Drum" (1886) was a Marine Corp instruction manual. "The Fifth String" (1902) was a short novel that met with moderate success.
|In the early morning hours on March 6, 1932, Sousa passed away from a heart attack in Reading, PA. Earlier in the evening he led a rehearsal as guest conductor for the Ringgold Band. What was the last number played under his baton?|
The Stars and Stripes Forever. Only fitting that it would be his most famous march. Sousa was survived by his wife, Jane van Middlesworth Sousa, and three children--John Philip, Jr., Jane Priscilla, and Helen, and a legacy that will continue forever.
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