John Philip Sousa

Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

They perform at presidential inaugurations, state funerals, public concerts, all sorts of official functions, and, of course, in parades. They are the bands of the United States military. Each of the branches is served by a number of these ensembles, and the so-called premier bands take only first-tier musicians from conservatories and schools of music around the country.

Don't Hit the Snooze Alarm...March to the Sousalarm!

Jun 2, 2015

A good march can really get the blood pumping, and what better time for that than 7:15 am?  Now, WRTI intern Shoshana Slavitt takes a look at the 26-year history of the Sousalarm. Join the Sousalarm club today! Send an email to Gregg@wrti.org requesting membership, include your postal address, and any dedication or story about your experience listening.

Military Bands in America

May 22, 2015

A crowd of thousands bundled in coats and hats patiently awaits the coming of the new president at the U.S. Capitol. The sounds of band music fill the frigid air as families and political savants huddle together in an attempt to keep warm. Although the band struggles to play in the cold, the precise harmonies, well-balanced tone, and patriotic sounds show no indication of the freezing conditions they are performing in.

It's Marches Madness! Throughout this month, we're posting some of our favorite marches — from the concert hall, opera stage and parade ground. Got one we should hear? Played any yourself? Let us know in the comments section.

The circus came to town, and the music director, walking through the streets, heard a violin beautifully played from a house he was passing by. He knocked on the door, and offered a job to the 13-year-old boy who was practicing. The boy, always independent (he had started his own dance orchestra two years earlier), decided to run away the next day and, yes, to join the circus. But his father got wind of it and the next morning marched him to the Marines, apprenticing him to the band there. The father could do that, because he played trombone in the United States Marine Band.