|2010 Festivals : National Community Concert Band Sousa Festival|
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National Community Concert Band Sousa Festival
in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia
a unique musical opportunity for community bands
June 18 - 20, 2010
The third annual National Community Concert Band Sousa Festival will feature individual and massed performances by six carefully-selected adult community concert bands. Repertoire will emphasize the life and influence of John Philip Sousa on the American Band movement. In conjunction with the National Park Service, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, and the U.S. Navy Memorial, Music Celebrations International annually invites bands of the highest quality throughout the country to participate in the annual concert series, the National Festival of the States, which features these ensembles in the most prestigious venues available with the greatest potential for audiences. We are excited to be organizing an exclusive community band festival in our nation’s capital.
Participating bands will perform individually in the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College and will enjoy performing as part of a massed band at the United States Air Force Memorial under the direction of the distinguished Col. Arnald D. Gabriel.
John Philip Sousa, "The March King", was born in Washington, D.C., to John António de Sousa and Maria Elisabeth Trinkhaus. His parents were of Portuguese and Bavarian (German) descent. John first learned the violin beginning at age 6. He was found to have absolute pitch. When the young Sousa reached the age of 13, his father, a trombonist in the Marine Band, enlisted his son in the United States Marine Corps as an apprentice. The boy soon attempted to run away and join a circus. John served his apprenticeship for seven years, until 1875, and apparently learned to play all the wind instruments while honing his mettle with the violin.
Several years later, John left his apprenticeship to join a theatrical (pit) orchestra where he learned to conduct. He returned to the U.S. Marine Band as its head in 1880, and remained as its conductor until 1892. Sousa also led the marching band of Gonzaga College High School. Sousa organized his own band in 1892. It toured widely, and in 1900, represented the United States at the Paris Exposition before touring Europe. Sousa repeatedly refused to conduct on the radio, fearing a lack of personal contact with the audience. He was finally persuaded to do so in 1929 and became a smash hit. Sousa died in 1932.