“A Century of Progress” (1931)
In the span of a century, the city of Chicago grew from a small fort and a handful of crude cabins to a thriving metropolis. The World’s Fair was held there in 1933 to celebrate this extraordinary expansion. The Sousa Band was to be engaged as the official band, and Sousa was asked to compose a march specifically for the fair. He responded with “A Century of Progress,” using the motto of the fair for the title.
Although he once expressed a wish that he could some day celebrate his own century of progress, thereby being enabled to write more marches, Sousa passed away at the age of seventy-seven, prior to the fair’s opening. His cousin Lennox Lohr, general manager of the fair, saw to it that the Sousa composition was named the official march of the fair. Strangely, however, no band was hired in the absence of the Sousa Band.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 45. Used by permission.
*PLEASE NOTE: Currently, none of the marches from Volume 7 are in the public domain. Recordings of non-PD marches are only available for streaming on YouTube. To purchase a published edition of this march, please visit the sheet music vendor of your choice.