“El Capitan” (1896)
One of the perennial Sousa favorites, this march has enjoyed exceptional popularity with bands since it first appeared. It was extracted from the most successful of the Sousa operettas, El Capitan. El Capitan of the operetta was the comical and cowardly Don Medigua, the early seventeenth-century viceroy of Peru. Some of the themes appear in more than one act, and the closing theme of the march is the same rousing theme which ends the operetta.
This was the march played by the Sousa Band, augmented to over a hundred men and all at Sousa’s personal expense, as they led Admiral Dewey’s victory parade in New York on September 30, 1899. It was a matter of sentiment with Sousa, because the same march had been played by the band on Dewey’s warship Olympia as it sailed out of Mirs Bay on the way to attack Manila during the Spanish-American War.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 43. Used by permission.