John Philip Sousa was a composer who wrote marches and led the U.S. Marine Band at the end of the 19th Century. It may be hard to imagine today, but Brass Band music was popular in the 1890’s. So popular that in 1892 a promoter convinced Sousa to leave the Marines to set up a civilian band to play brass music for a mass audience.
Next week marks the one hundred and eleventh anniversary of the first public concert by Sousa’s Band.
Though the popular musical landscape has shifted, the community band tradition is kept alive today by ensembles like the First John Philip Sousa Memorial Band, which is based in Edina. KFAI’s Aaron Westendorp talked with the band’s director, Scott Crosbie.
Aaron is non-verbal, so he asks questions with the assistance of speech software. Though his voice sounds somewhat mechanical, Aaron is very real and very interested in the bright, brassy sound of Crosbie’s “John Philip Sousa Memorial Band.”
Scott Crosbie told Aaron that in its early days in the 1970’s, the band would do impromptu performances, operating like a modern day flash mob.