Concert honoring 150th anniversary of John Phillip Sousa's birth set for Nov. 19

In honor of the 150th anniversary of John Phillip Sousa’s birth, the Tennessee Tech Wind Ensemble will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19, in the Wattenbarger Auditorium of the Bryan Fine Arts Building.

“Sousa’s name is almost synonymous with band music in America,” said Joseph Hermann, director of bands at TTU. “Along with his ability to conduct, he developed a distinct flair for writing marches. He seemed to know instinctively how to compose for band instruments, and his style — full of bouncing rhythms, brilliant instrumentation and catchy tunes — rightly earned him the nickname of The March King.”

Born on Nov. 6, 1854, Sousa showed musical aptitude at an early age, and was studying violin and harmony by age 10. He played with the Marine Band at 13, was later appointed as its leader and held that position for 12 years before setting out to form his own band, which became famous throughout America and Europe.

The Sousa Band played concerts in both the United States and Canada and performed at the Paris Exposition in 1900. Sousa himself continued to tour almost to the time of his death.

In addition, he was an extraordinarily prolific composer and writer. His portfolio consists of several hundred musical works, including comic operas and orchestral pieces, an autobiography entitled Marching Along, three novels and a method book for teaching instruments.

The TTU program will feature university faculty members performing in roles as members of the traveling Sousa troupe. They include Charles Decker on cornet, Phillip Barham on saxophone, Joshua Hauser on slide trombone and vocalists Frederick Kennedy and Diane Pulte. TTU alumnus Bryce Edwards will be featured on baritone horn.

Hermann and Robert Foster, TTU’s associate director of bands, will alternate in playing the role of Sousa, and selections for concert will include Rossini’s “Italian in Algiers,” Wagner’s “Overture to Rienzi” and a suite of movements composed by Sousa entitled “People Who Live in Glass Houses.”

The show is free and open to the public.

For more information, call the TTU band office at 931/372-3165.