John Philip Sousa

From ArticleWorld

Sousa was born to John António de Sousa and Maria Elisabeth Trinkhaus, in Washington D.C. John first learned the violin beginning when he was 6. At 13, his father, a trombonist in the U.S. Marine Band, enlisted John Philip Sousa in the U.S. Marine Corps as an apprentice.


The flight of the march king

Not long after, John Philip Sousa tried to run away and join the circus. John served his apprenticeship until 1875, learning to play all the wind instruments.

Conductor Sousa

John left his apprenticeship and joined a theatrical orchestra. Here he learned to conduct. Sousa returned to the U.S. Marine Band and became its head in 1880. Sousa led the marching band of Gonzaga College High School as well.

His own band

In 1892, Sousa had organized his own band and had it tour widely. In 1900, he represented the United States at the Paris Exposition, just before touring Europe.


John Philip Sousa has written over 100 marches and has had numerous hits. His greatest it Stars and Stripes Forever, which was to become the United States official marching song.


Sousa wasn’t happy with the tuba and how it played it melody upward. A couple members of his band invented a variant that played the melody forward and not upward. They named is after Sousa as a form of appreciation, it was called the Sousaphone.


As a Freemason, Sousa was fascinated by what was considered mystical qualities. He wrote numerous marches and melodies for them. "Nobles of the Mystic Shrine", was dedicated by Sousa to the highest degree freemasonry Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.