“Kansas Wildcats” (1931)
On October 10, 1928, at a Sousa Band concert in Manhattan, Kansas, Sousa was presented a handsomely bound petition requesting that he compose a march for the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. A march was subsequently dedicated to the college, but it was not the one written in response to the petition.
Fragments of two manuscripts of the march originally intended for the college bear the titles “The Wildcats” and “The Wildcats of Kansas March.” A copyist’s manuscript of a later march, the one which was eventually dedicated to the college, sheds light on what might have happened. The title of this march, “The Sword of San Jacinto,” was crossed out, and above it was written “Kansas Wildcats.” The retitled march was then published under its new name. A publisher’s note penciled on the front page reads: “Mr. Sousa agrees in letter. Contract under way.”
The following conclusions have been reached from a study of the manuscripts. Sousa wrote a march for the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science and called it, at various times, “The Wildcats” or “The Wildcats of Kansas March.” At the same time he was also writing two other marches. One of these was called “The Sword of San Jacinto,” and the title of the other is unknown. When the copyist’s score of “The Sword of San Jacinto” was sent to the publisher, two things might have happened. First, Sousa could have been under pressure from the Kansas college and instructed the publisher to change the title of the march to “Kansas Wildcats.” Second, he could also have sent the publisher the march originally intended for the college together with “The Sword of San Jacinto” and perhaps the untitled march as well, and the publisher might have mixed them up. In any case, only one of the three marches was published – the one known today as “Kansas Wildcats.”
What happened to the various manuscripts of the three marches is not clear. If they were indeed all sent to the publisher, it is possible that all might not have been returned. After Sousa’s death, the manuscripts at the Sands Point home were stored in the basement archives uncatalogued and, for the most part, unsorted. Later, Sousa’s daughters gave some manuscripts to the Library of Congress. In one package was found the first page of the band score of “The Wildcats” and the final fifteen pages of the untitled march. What became of the missing pages of either march is not known.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 65. 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.