The Parnassus Club met on Dec. 13. Parnassus Auditions have been set for March 3rd, 2012. The room is approved for the auditions. Glenna and committee are searching for judges at this time.
Glenna Gaunt presented a program on John Phillips Sousa. John Phillips Sousa was born 1854 in Washington, D.C. and died in 1932. He was the 3rd of 10 children of John Antonio Sousa and Maria Elisabeth Trnkhaus. He had a military influence as his father was enlisted as a Marine. At age six he began studies in voice, violin, piano, flute, cornet, baritone, trombone and alto horn.
At the age of 13 he tried to run away to join a circus band. His father instead enlisted him in the Marine Band as an apprentice. He remained there until 20 years old. Discharged from the Marines in 1875 Sousa began performing (on violin), touring and conducting theater orchestras, including Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore on Broadway
Mr. Sousa married Jane van Middlesworth Bellis in 1879. He once again assumed leadership of the U.S. Marine Band. The band did not play at the White House, except for a few of Mrs. Garfield’s receptions. The Marine Band played all the music for President Cleveland’s wedding. Sousa received acclaim in military band circles with the writing of his march “The Gladiator.” In 1888, he wrote “Semper Fidelis,” It is traditionally known as the “official” march of the Marine Corps. Sousa’’s marches were among the first and most popular pieces ever recorded. Another popular composition is “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
Sousa organized a civilian concert band, thus the “Sousa’s New Marine Band” was born. Not only did Sousa write many marches he also wrote ten operas and a number of musical suites. He also wrote three novels and a full-length autobiography. A new bridge was dedicated in the memory of John Phillip Sousa in 1939. In 1976, Sousa was enshrined in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.