“The Free Lance” (1904)
“The Free Lance” march, taken from Sousa’s operetta of the same name, has a lengthy and unorthodox construction when compared with most other Sousa marches. There were so many spirited march tunes in the operetta that perhaps Sousa felt obligated to include most of them when piecing together the march. Actually, there were enough for two separate marches.
The “free lance” of the operetta was Sigmund Lump, a clever goatherd who hired himself out as a mercenary leader to two opposing armies, maneuvered his forces so that neither side could win, and then declared himself emperor of both nations.
The trio of the march corresponds to the song “On to Victory” in the operetta, and some editions of the march were published under that title.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 43. Used by permission.