|Photo courtesy of the ISDUP, and used with permission|
|From the Deseret Evening News, February 24, 1896, p. 11 (courtesy of the Library of Congress)|
But look carefully. While movement in the band caused many of the members to be out of focus (Sousa himself is fully a blur), we can make out some of the instruments and their players. Most importantly, look right above the first chair clarinet. What we can barely see is a man with a mustache playing not a tuba (there is one of those to his left, and it is much smaller) but a Sousaphone. This would almost certainly have to be the horn built by J. W. Pepper the previous year (Conn's first Sousaphone wasn't introduced to the world until January 1898).
This is now proof that Pepper's historic horn - the very first Sousaphone ever built - was indeed "Used Daily in Sousa's Peerless Concert Band," just as Pepper had claimed. Prior to this photo being discovered a few months ago, I had been unable to find any evidence that this new instrument had been played under Sousa's baton. And there were a few clues that seemed to confirm the idea that it was perhaps never played in public at that time.
But that all changes now with this image - the one and only time (for now) that we see the original Sousaphone in action with Sousa's band!
Again, I'll share more of the story in my upcoming follow-up article in the ITEA Journal.