Saturday, January 23, 2016

The original Sousaphone in concert

While doing research on the history of the Sousaphone over the past few years, one of the biggest surprises that occurred was the offer to play the original Sousaphone, built by J. W. Pepper in 1895, in my community band for its 20th anniversary concert on May 3, 2015. Now I can check off something on my bucket list before I even have one!

George Class, with whom I have worked closely at the Pepper company, was the one who gladly made the offer and helped with all of the arrangements.

George Class with me at the concert on May 3, 2015
Once we got the enthusiastic "green light" from our director (who is also a tuba player), the plans for the concert took a distinctly Sousa turn. He scheduled four marches by the great bandmaster (three in the program, and one as an encore), and a dixieland piece that allowed Sousa's creation to be featured in a quintet for part of the piece.


Here's what we said in the program about the strange-looking tuba that had joined the band for that special concert:


And here are a few photos from the rehearsal the week before, during which a couple of reporters from The Philadelphia Inquirer showed up (my director had tipped them off!) to create a front page feature about the horn and the concert:

Being interviewed by Kristin Holmes and Tom Gralish of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Working on the Original Dixieland Concerto
The concert on Sunday was recorded, so here are the relevant videos:






At the end of the concert, I met with folks out in the atrium to let them see the original Sousaphone up close and personal. It was a great day!


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