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Circa 1910: A program advertising John Philip Sousa and his band. (Getty Images)

Marches Madness: John Philip Sousa's 'Washington Post'

by Mark Mobley
Mar 1, 2013

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Mark Mobley

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.

We begin the month with the March King, John Philip Sousa. It's fitting that one of this diverse country's most beloved composers was the son of immigrants: a Bavarian mother and a father of Portuguese extraction from Spain.

We'll get to Sousa's most famous march in this series and sample a few others along the way. We start with an ensemble he led for a dozen years, "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, and one of his better-known pieces, The Washington Post. While the newspaper commissioned it to celebrate an essay competition, its lilting rhythm and bright mood made it a favorite of two-stepping couples on dance floors worldwide. Band Director Col. Michael J. Colburn conducts.

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