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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (1854–1932) was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known primarily for American military marches. Showing great talent as a child, he mastered several instruments alongside an apprenticeship in the Marine Corps. After a period as a violinist and theater orchestra conductor, Sousa returned to the Marines for a twelve-year stint as head of the U.S. Marine Band, including two presidential inauguration balls. Later in life, he formed the Sousa Band and saw active service in World War I. He wrote a total of 137 marches, including The Stars and Stripes Forever, which was designated the United States national march in 1987.

Photograph: Elmer Chickering

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