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Performing Arts and Speaker Series

A Sousa Tribute

Image of John Philip SousaTime: June 2, 2007, 7 pm

Location: Music Building Concert Hall

TICKETS: General Admission $7; Students with I.D. Free

Long before the days of radio airplay, televised concerts, and mass-marketed recordings, John Philip Sousa was entertaining millions of people around the world with a particular style of music that marked his place in history as the "World's Greatest Bandmaster".

What was it about the "March King's" music that attracted thousands of people? Sousa's concert style was for his audiences, not his colleagues. Above all else, he was an entertainer. A typical Sousa concert would include classical overtures, fast-paced transcriptions and humorous novelty numbers, , spirited encores that came many times during the concert, use of outstanding soloists, and a rousing finale of his most famous composition, "The Stars and Stripes, Forever."

This concert will feature the nationally-recognized CWU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, with CWU music faculty as soloists.

About Philip E. Sousa - Sousa was born in Washington D.C. to John António de Sousa and Maria Elisabeth Trinkhaus. His parents were of Portuguese and Bavarian (German) descent. John first learned the violin beginning at age 6. When the young Sousa reached the age of 13, his father, a trombonist in the Marine Band, enlisted his son in the United States Marine Corps as an apprentice, shortly after he attempted to run away and join a circus. John served his apprenticeship for 7 years, until 1875, apparently learning to play all the wind instruments, and maintaining his skills on the violin.

Several years later, John left his apprenticeship to join a theatrical (pit) orchestra where he learned to conduct. He returned to the U.S. Marine Band as its head in 1880, and remained as its conductor until 1892. Sousa also led the marching band of Gonzaga College High School.

Sousa organized his own band in 1892. It toured widely, and in 1900, represented the United States at the Paris Exposition before touring Europe. Sousa repeatedly refused to conduct on the radio, fearing a lack of personal contact with the audience. He was finally persuaded to do so in 1929 and became a smash hit.