The Life of John Philip Sousa

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In Music
  • Birth

    John Philip Sousa was born on November 6th, 1854 in Washington, DC to John Antonio Sousa and Maria Elisabeth Trinkhaus.
  • Musical Education

    At age six, John started his education under John Esputa and George Felix Benkert. He was found to have Absolute Pitch. Exact date unknown.
  • Apprenticeship

    At the age of 13, John met the leader of a circus band. The man offered to let John run away from home and join the band. However, John's dad found out and enrolled him as an apprentice in the Marine Band to stop him from joining the Circus Band and letting his musical talent go to waste. Exact date unknown.
  • Marriage

    On December 30, 1879, John Philip Sousa was married to Jane van Middlesworth Bellis (1862-1944). They had three children while they were married: John Philip Sousa, Jr, Jane Priscilla, and Helen. Wife Jane is buried in the Sousa plot in the US Congressional Cemetery.
  • First Child

    John Philip, Jr. was born on April 1st, 1881. He lived until May 18th, 1937. He is buried in the Sousa plot in the US Congressional Cemetery.
  • Second Child

    Jane Priscilla was born on April 1st, 1881. She lived until October 28th, 1958. She is buried in the Sousa plot in the US Congressional Cemetery.
  • The Gladiator

    The Gladiator was Sousa's first big hit. Exact date unknown.
  • Third Child

    Helen was born on January 21st, 1887. She lived until October 14th, 1975. She is buried in the Sousa plot in the US Congressional Cemetery.
  • Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis is the official march of the United States Marine Corps. Exact date unknown.
  • The Washington Post

    The Washington Post is Sousa's most famous march. Exact date unknown.
  • Developed the Sousaphone.

    During this year, John Philip Sousa developed the Sousaphone, a variant on the tuba that wraps around the person playing it. It is very commonly used in marching bands because the instrument is entirely supported on one shoulder, making it much easier to carry than a regular tuba. Exact date unknown.
  • The Stars and Stripes Forever

    The Stars and Stripes Forever is our country's national march. Exact date unknown.
  • US Field Artillery

    US Field Artillery is a modified version of the song "The Army Goes Rolling Along". It is the official song of the United States Army. Exact date unknown.
  • Death

    John Philip Sousa passed away on March 6th, 1932 at age 77 because of heart faliure. He was in his hotel room at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Reading, Pennsylvania. He had conducted a rehearsal of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" with his band the day before.
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    Head of Marine Band

    Exact dates unknown.
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    Led the "Sousa Band"

    Exact start date unknown.