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Thread: Revisiting The Stars and Stripes Forever

  1. #1

    Revisiting The Stars and Stripes Forever

    It's an anniversary today! On May 14, 1897, Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" was performed for the first time.

    In 1987 congress named it the National March of the USA.

    Did you know that Sousa said this about the march? "...the three themes of the final trio were intended to represent the three regions of the United States. The broad melody, or main theme, represents the North. The South is represented by the famous piccolo obbligato, and the West by the bold countermelody of the trombones. The three come together in the climax, representing the Union itself."
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
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  2. #2
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    That's interesting. Never heard that about "Stars and Stripes..." before. What a great march!!
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

  3. #3
    So I guess that means that flyover country, aka the Midwest, is represented by the tubas and french horns, right?

    Without rhythm keeping all that together, you have a mess.

    LOL
    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-Fifties)
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  4. #4
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    Certainly a bit of insight into how times have changed and our perceptions of the "regions" have changed. I think today that most of us -- if encountering a reference to the "three regions" of the US -- would think of these as the East coast, the West coast, and the center (from north to south -- i.e., the "heartland"). But in Sousa's time, the country was still much in the mind set of the West having been "won" (Manifest Destiny, and all that), the Civil War (and Reconstruction) being still present in everyone's minds, as were the Mexican and Indian wars, and the major cultural/ethnic/economic differences splitting along the North/South/West lines rather than East/Center/West. Partly, I suppose, this is because anything west of St. Louis was still thought of as "the West" (and still quite "wild").

    I've just been reading (now about half way through) Blood and Thunder, and recommend it as a highly readable, detailed, and seemingly objective and well documented account of the western expansion of this country in the 19th century. It's amazing what all those people went through (friends and enemies alike) and how astonishingly focused and tough they all were. The book is also an eye-opener about Kit Carson and his role in all that. Talk about tough ...
    Gary Merrill
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  5. #5
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    I stumbled on this video of "Sousa's New Marine Band" directed by Loras Schissel. Mr. Schissel is in charge of Sousa collection at the Library of Congress. The instrumentation is said to be very representative of Sousa's band back in 1892-93. Most of the musicians are retired military band members. It's about 1.5 hours long, but linked below the band playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" with John Philip Sousa (the 4th) conducting. Sousa didn't write "Stars and Stripes Forever" until four years later (1896), which Mr. Schissel points out. NOTE: The video and sound are not perfectly synced which makes the conducting look off. The smaller sized band is pretty spread out on stage and seems a bit strange to me. You can see Luke Spiros and Phil Franke on euphonium in the back row next to the trombones. Video is from Oct. 2015.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGRZ-Xb-s88&t=89m56s
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

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