Thursday, November 22, 2012

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis

The Lousiana Purchase Exposition, popularly known as the St. Louis World's Fair, was held in 1904 to celebrate the centennial of the Louisianna Purchase (it was also the site of the summer Olympic Games that year). Opening day saw a huge crowd turn out:

Photo available online here
And providing music that day, and at other times during the Fair, was the reknowned band of John Philip Sousa:

Photo available online here
In addition, inside the Liberal Arts building, C. G. Conn set up what he called his "Palace of Music" as a way to showcase his band and orchestra insruments. The display won the Grand Prize, and in one of the beautifully decorated cases, "The feature [was] the Wonder sousaphone, the largest band instrument in the world, which was introduced by Sousa's band. This is quadruple plated silver and engraved" (The Music Trade Review, September 10, 1904, vol. 39, no. 11, p. 42).

Could it be that the Sousaphone Conn featured at the Fair is the one I played up at Interlochen?

[Bonus feature! Here's a historic recording of the song used for this post title]

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