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Music

June 21, 2012

Brazil Concert Band to present ‘Sousa Spectacular’

BRAZIL — The Brazil Concert Band is scheduled to present “Sousa Spectacular” at 8 p.m. Sunday at Forest Park Band Shell, rain or shine.

John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) was the world’s most famous bandleader with a career that spread from his rise as director of the United States Marine Band (1880-1892) to his own incredible Sousa’s Band, (1892-1932).

During that 52-year tenure, Sousa and his musicians criss-crossed the nation and even performed around the world making him America’s first super-star millionaire musician.

Sousa managed to write hundreds of works for band and orchestra, including 136 marches giving him the title “March King.”  He still had time to author novels and an autobiography; become a championship skeet shooter and outdoor sportsman; own a stable full of horses.; collect guns; and become a married man with three children.

During World War I, at 62, Sousa received a Navy officer’s commission and organized Navy bands at Great Lakes near Chicago, leaving with the rank of lieutenant commander at war’s end.

He once remarked, “When you hear of Sousa retired, you will learn of his death.” Sure enough, after guest conducting a band in Pennsylvania, the 77-year-old went back to his hotel and suffered a fatal heart attack.

The Brazil Concert Band will salute Sousa with an all-Sousa review of several of his lesser known marches and excerpts from suites to include “A Century of Progress,” “Presidential Polonaise,” “Tales of a Traveler,” “Solid Men to the Front,” “Easter Monday on the White House Lawn” and “Peaches and Cream.”

Also, “At the Movies,” “Dwellers of the Western World,” “Marching Along,” “People Who Live in Glass Houses” and “The Untitled March.”

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