“Nobles of the Mystic Shrine” (1923)
Sousa became a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in Washington in April, 1922, and was promptly named the first honorary director of the Almas Temple Shrine Band. His nephew, A. R. Varela, who sponsored him, asked him to compose this march. The new march saluted Shriners in general but was dedicated specifically to the Almas Temple and Imperial Council, A. A. O. N. M. S.
The Shriners’ national convention was held in Washington in June, 1923, and Sousa was called upon to lead a huge band of 6,200 Shriners in Griffith Stadium. This, incidentally, was the largest band Sousa ever conducted, and a new association with Shriners had just begun. Several Shrine bands accompanied the Sousa Band in performances of the new march as it toured the United States, and many additional appearances of the Sousa Band were arranged by Shriners. It is also noteworthy that in the last years of the Sousa Band approximately half the members were Shriners.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 74. Used by permission.