Monday, July 04, 2005

Stars and Stripes

Happy Independence Day!

Since "Stars and Stripes" leads the soundtrack to July 4th weekend and it's our song (I know, I know ... we're such dorks, right?) ... I thought I'd tell you something about this song and it's creator.


John Phillip Sousa
In late 1896, Sousa and his wife took a much-deserved vacation to Europe. While there, Sousa received word that the manager of the Sousa Band, David Blakely, had died suddenly. The band was scheduled to begin another cross-country tour soon, and Sousa knew he must return to America at once to take over the band's business affairs.


Jane van
Middlesworth
Bellis Sousa
"Here came one of the most vivid incidents of my career. As the vessel (the Teutonic) steamed out of the harbor I was pacing on the deck, absorbed in thoughts of my manager's death and the many duties and decisions which awaited me in New York. Suddenly, I began to sense a rhythmic beat of a band playing within my brain. Throughout the whole tense voyage, that imaginary band continued to unfold the same themes, echoing and re-echoing the most distinct melody. I did not transfer a note of that music to paper while I was on the steamer, but when we reached shore, I set down the measures that my brain-band had been playing for me, and not a note of it has ever changed."

"The Stars and Stripes" manuscript was completed on Christmas Eve, 1896, performed in concert two days later, and published the following year. Though the march was pure inspiration, its pattern was to become so familiar: first, an arresting introduction; second, a light skipping melody; third, a broader tune; and finally, the immortal strain of the trio. He even wrote words for it:

Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom's shield and hope.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with might endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.



Ever seen the 1952 movie, "Stars and Stripes", about John Phillip Sousa? You should! It's very entertaining and stars a very young Robert Wagner.

Learn MORE about JP Sousa.
Learn more about Sousa and MILITARY MUSIC in general.

1 Comments:

Blogger jayne said...

You're right, you two are dorks.

But I love you anyway.

8:27 PM  

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