John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa By Chickering Wikimedia Commons

John Philip Sousa By Chickering Wikimedia Commons

I love all kinds of music and John Philip Sousa is one of my favorite Hispanic American composers.  Who can resist dancing to a Latin tune or in John Philip Sousa’s case, being moved by his exciting marching music.

Music is in my blood.  I remember as a kid, my father used to play military marching music on the radio early in the morning.  I guess it was his way of getting himself ready to work his 8-5 job.

So we had we had plenty music blaring from the radio on top of the refrigerator in the early morning hours daily.  My father would smile and whistle to the tune and I would say, “oh Dad, give me a break,” even though, secretly, the music was doing its thing in my brain.  I heard a lot was marching music composed by John Philip Sousa. (You can check him out on Wikipedia).

My father loved music, particularly big band and marching music.  He played trombone in his high school marching band, played in a band in the U.S. Navy aboard a ship in the Pacific during WWII, and he played in a dance band. That’s where he met my mother.

My grandmother was a piano teacher and could play ragtime music like no other.  My mother and sister played the piano. We all sang in the church choir.  career singing for cash in various venues with various bands and singing groups in my twenties.

John Philip Sousa was born in Washington, D.C. on November 6, 1854, to a Portuguese father, John Antonio Sousa, who was born to Portuguese parents in Spain, and a mother, Maria Elizabeth Trinkhaus, who was born in Bavaria.  John’s father played trombone in the U. S. Marine Corps band, and, on at least one occasion, performed for President Lincoln.

Because Sousa grew up around military band music, he began composing at an early age.  but he composed other music as well.  Mozart was one, if not his most favorite composer.  Music education for the general public was one of his missions in life.

John Philip Sousa certainly reflected American pride of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  The U.S.A. was still a very young country, and had not yet taken its current role in international politics.  He was very proud to be an American, especially in reflecting his time in American history and it showed in his music, but his father’s Hispanic roots were not far behind.

If you get a chance to listen to his short tune “Under the Cuban Flag,” you might get a glimpse of that. You can find that on a CD entitled John Philip Sousa Music for Wind Band, Volume 5, by Keith Brion, Royal Artillery Band, on Track #10.

Here’s a link to recent story about the composer:
A Century Later John Philip Sousa’s Marches Still Quicken The Pulse

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