Of all the marine band directors the united states has ever had, none could compare to the one and only John Philip Sousa; the "marching king". he single-handed wrote more music than most composers before him and also made the United States marine band extremely famous all around the word.

Personal background

John Philip Sousa was born in Washington, D.C on November 6, 1854 (Bierly)

Personal Traits

John Philip Sousa was a man of had a lot of self-discipline and talent. When is school, he was a scholar who didn’t want to learn. Outside of school, he was a complete musician in every way. When john was young, he was determined and industrious; nothing seemed impossible for him. He was also an adventure-loving boy who always ran away. In fact, he once ran away from home to join a circus band. Because of this, his father enrolled him into the marine band as a band apprentice. He was a man who could overcome any challenge with great finesse. Despite being a trooper, he was unassuming, tolerant, and approachable. He always he very high standards for himself and his band. His main concern for when it came to bands was how to impress and please his audience.




Historical Significance

John Philip sousa began his music education when he was just 6 years old during the United States civil war. After the war, he was a apprentice for the marine band for 7 years. By 1880, he took over leadership of the marine band. By that time, he was one of the most well know conductors in the marine band ever. While serving as the conductor for the marine band, he was nicknamed “The Marching King” for his work with marching bands and composing marches for his band. Some of these marches include, “The Washington Post”, “The Liberty Bell”, and “The Stars and Stripes Forever”. Because he was a marching band director, he needed a different type of tuba because the ones he had were too big and bulky. So he invented the sousaphone, a march-able tuba. He and his band would travel around the world from 1910-1911, he also made 4 additional tours of Europe and annual tours of America. When he was not marching, he would conduct for orchestras. “Anyone can write music of a sort, but touching the public heart is quite another thing”(John Philip Sousa). In his lifetime, he would compose over 300 different types of music, but it is his marches he is best well known for. In 1892 Sousa would lead his own personal group, the Sousa band. Ironically though, the Sousa band would almost never march, even though their conductor is one of the most famous marine band conductors in U.S history. Nevertheless, his band made him very wealthy and even more famous, making his own name synonymous with some of the most quintessentially American music ever made. In 1932, John Philip Sousa passed away after his final rehearsal with the Sousa Band. The last piece they rehearsed was “The Stars and Stripes Forever”. Sousa was not forgotten. On Dec. 9, 1939, the new Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge in Washington D.C. was dedicated to the memory of John Philip Sousa. In 1976, Sousa was enshrined in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. And in 1987, The Stars and Stripes Forever was the national march of the United States. A White House memorandum states that the march has become "an integral part of the celebration of American life."(PBS)

Works Cited

Bierly, Paul E,"John Philip Sousa" Libary of Congress. 23 October. 2007: web October 2014

"A Capitol Fourth." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.

Leigh Mitchell Hodeges."John Philip Sousa."Willow Grove Park, 1909, web November. 2014

Bierly, Paul E, John Philip Sousa, American Phenomenom. Warner Bros: Miami 2001

Sipal, Iva. "Sousa, John Philip." Contemporary Musicians. 1994. Encyclopedia.com. 2 Apr. 2015<http://www.encyclopedia.com>.