Saturday, October 6, 2012

Announcing . . . the Sousaphone?

Tucked away in the lower corner of one of the many pages of the Music Trade Review dated January 22, 1898 is this brief notice:

This reads as if it is announcing something never before seen - the Sousaphone, so named by Conn himself, it says. So did the Pepper horn from a few years earlier, which Pepper himself called "the Sousaphone," escape the notice of the writers of this periodical? Was it flying that far under the radar?
Pepper claimed that his Sousaphone was "used daily in Sousa's peerless concert band," and Herman Conrad, who played it, said that it was "admired everywhere and gains in reputation daily." But were they perhaps overstating the case? And if they weren't, why wasn't that horn better known - especially given the immense popularity of Sousa's band?

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