Special Sub-Topic: Oh, Those Circus Marches!
|It is generally considered that the period from 1895 to 1955 was the golden age of the circus march. Circus owners demanded music that was loud and fast to create excitement and work the audience up to a frenzy. Circus marches filled this bill. What nickname was this type of music affectionately given?|
Screamers. Being played at a faster tempo than military marches, at the top of an instrument's range, and at full, loud volume are enough reasons to call them Screamers (but I am sure they have been called plenty of other names as well).
|This man was a euphonium player and director of many circus bands such as Barnum and Bailey, Robinson, and Sells-Floto. More importantly, he wrote many popular marches such as "The Big Cage", "Robinson's Grand Entry", and, of course, "Barnum and Bailey's Favorite". Can you name this man?|
Karl King. Karl Lawrence King was born in Paintersville, Ohio in 1891 and died in Ft. Dodge, Iowa in 1971. At age 19 he started playing in circus bands and continued to play or direct until 1920 when he settled down in Canton, Ohio and opened a publishing house. A couple of years later he moved it to Ft. Dodge and also conducted the municipal band there for over 50 years. His march compositions ranged from well within the grasp of the young, inexperienced band, to the most bombastic and difficult circus marches.
|Not only did this man write a lot of marches in general, and lot of famous circus marches such as "Rolling Thunder" and "Circus Bee", he also wrote a lot of trombone novelty numbers such as "Lassus Trombone" and "Miss Trombone" to name just two. Can you name this man?|
Henry Fillmore. Fillmore was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1881 and died in Miami, Florida in 1956. He was probably one of the more colorful bandmen of his time. One time, to prove that it was his music that sells and not his name, he wrote under various pen names such as Harold Bennett, Gus Beans, and Henrietta Moore. He was also married to an exotic dancer.
|The band just started playing "Stars and Stripes Forever". What could this mean?|
An emergency in the ring. Back in the days before walkie talkies and many other marvelous tools of communication we have today, this march was played usually only when there was an emergency in the ring such as an animal loose or perhaps an injury to one of the performers. Playing this march alerted the workers to come see what was happening as well as the clowns who would appear with an impromptu act to distract and entertain the crowd while the emergency was taken care of.
|This man wrote many marches for the circus, but his "Bravura" remains his most popular even today. Who wrote "Bravura"?|
Charles E. Duble. Duble (1884-1960) was a trombone player who played with many tent shoes in the first half of the 20th century. He wrote at least 45 marches including "Battle of the Winds" and "Wizard of the West".
|This man played the euphonium and calliope and composed over 100 marches and other music for the tent shows. His popular titles include "Quality Plus", "Battle Royal", and "The Screamer". Do you know who I am talking about?|
Fred Jewell. Jewell (1875-1936) directed several circus bands until his retirement in 1918. He opened his own publishing company and served as the high school band director in Worthington, Indiana as well as a guest conductor all over the country.
|Who was known as the "Toscanini of the Big Top". directing the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus Band for 50 years until his retirement in 1969?|
Merle Evans. It is said that Merle Evans never missed a performance in all that time. He passed away in 1988 at the age of 96.
|The 1952 motion picture "The Greatest Show on Earth" (directed by Cecil B. DeMille) about life in a circus troupe included the character of Merle Evans. Who played him?|
Himself. It was a small part of course, but many of the real circus performers of that time did appear as themselves in the movie.
|This was another march composer who also played euphonium and eventually directed many different show bands in his career. He wrote only 36 marches, but among them were "The Southerner", "From Tropic To Tropic", and "Colossus of Columbia". What is his name?|
Russell Alexander. Born in Missouri in 1877, he unfortunately contracted tuberculosis and died in New York in 1915 at the young age of 38. His marches are still extremely popular to this day.
|Julius Fucik was a Czech composer who lived from 1872 to 1916. He was a prolific composer and one of the marches he wrote was called "Entry of the Gladiators". Eventually it found its way to the USA and was adapted for circus use and published under a different title. Do you recognise the American name of this march?|
Thunder and Blazes. It was originally written about 1897 and it is unclear how it made its way into the circus, but it is now considered one of the most iconic of all circus pieces.
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