Jon Phillip Sousa Essay, Research Paper
Jon Philip Sousa
Jon Philip Sousa was born on November 6, 1854. His parents were Jon Antonio Sousa and Maria Elisabeth Trinkhaus. He was the third of ten children. He grew up with music. His father even played trombone in a military band. At only age six Sousa began the study of violin, voice, piano, flute, cornet, trombone and the alto horn.
Jon Sousa enjoyed his studies of music. At age thirteen he tried running away to join a circus band. After finding him, his parents were so afraid that he would run away again that they sent him off to the military. While in the military he published his first composition called “Moonlight on the Potomac Waltzes”. In 1875 Sousa was discharged from the military and began performing with his violin. Soon after that he began conducting orchestras. He conducted Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore on Broadway.
In February of 1879 he met Jane Van Middlesworth Bellis during a rehearsal. They fell in love and were married on December 30,1879.
Throughout the 1880’s and 90’s Sousa’s music career grew rapidly. Throughout 1880-1892 he conducted “The Presidents Own”, serving under presidents Hayes, Garfield, Arthur and Harrison. After two successful, but limited tours with the Marine Band in 1891 and1892, promoter David Blakely convinced Sousa to resign and organize a civilian concert band.
The first Sousa Band Concert was preformed on September 26, 1892 at the Stillman Music Hall in Plainfield, New Jersey. In 1895 Sousa’s first successful operetta, El Capitan debuts.
In 1895 Sousa’s first big tragedy hit. While on vacation with his wife in Europe, Sousa’s promoter (David Blakely) died. This was hard for Sousa to face but it also inspired him to write the great Stars and Stripes Forever.
Through 1900-1905 Sousa and his band had three awesome tours in Europe. Finally, in 1910 he had his first world tour.
In 1917 World War I broke out and Sousa took a break from music to join the US Naval Reserve at age 62. He was assigned the rank of lieutenant and was only paid a salary of one dollar a month.
After the war, Sousa continued touring with his awesome band. He did great things in the name of music education and received many honorary awards and degrees. He also fought for composers’ rights by testifying before Congress in 1927 and 1928.
Sousa lived a long and extraordinary life. At age 77 he died after conducting a rehearsal of the Ringgold Band in Reading, Pennsylvania. The last piece he ever conducted and that he is widely known for is “The Stars and Stripes Forever”.
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