John Philip Sousa, “The March King”

John Philip Sousa was born in Washington, D.C. on November 6, 1854. Musically talented and homeschooled as a child, his father enlisted him in the U.S. Marine Band as an apprentice musician. Sousa composed his first march at age 16, and grew up to be a world-famous band conductor who produced over 100 popular marching songs. Sousa was the official bandmaster to the President of the United States, and leader of the U.S. Marine Band for 12 years. (He’s the one who wrote the Marine Corps march, “Semper Fidelis.”) Read Sousa’s biography here.

Free Download! John Philip Sousa: Experiences of a Bandmaster – In these five entertaining anecdotes originally published in 1900, Sousa recalls what it was like to play for presidents. There’s the visiting diplomat whose anthem suddenly vanished from the bandbook, the night only he and the bass drummer turned out for the gig, the night the lights went out, the night the fireworks caught fire, and the first night they, the Union’s Marine Band, were to play for the Confederate South. These stories will be enjoyed by all ages, and are fun for reading to kids.

Veteran’s Day is coming up, which is a perfect reason to play some of Sousa’s rousing patriotic marching music on Pandora, or download MP3s of all the Sousa marches from the U.S. Marine Band’s “Semper Fidelis” CD. One listener commented, “Great music to do homework by!” (It will definitely keep you awake!) Another guy remarked, “I love to listen to Sousa while doing yard work.” Someone else said, “I love listening to this while exercising in the morning!” So Sousa’s marches aren’t just for parades!

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