The Minnesota March (1927)
It seems incredible that an institution would refuse a composition by a composer of Sousa’s stature, but this happened in the summer of 1927 in Minneapolis. Clarence W. Spears, coach of the University of Minnesota football team, had verbally requested the march for his school in 1926; the following year the march was formally requested by the alumni organization. When the time came for the dedication of the march at the Minnesota State Fair on September 3, 1927, the delegated alumni representative was out of town, and Lotus D. Coffman, president of the university, was asked to accept Sousa’s manuscript of the march on behalf of the university. He refused, however, because he felt the march should be presented at a university function, not at the state fair, and he was wary of commercial implications. Nevertheless, the dedication ceremony was held, and the Sousa manuscript was accepted by the state fair president.
Sousa used Indian themes in the march, though sparingly, because he had been impressed by the number of Indian names in Minnesota. He later added field drum and bugle parts upon the request of Colonel Frederick G. Stutz, commanding officer of the 206th National Guard Infantry Regiment of Minnesota. The march’s title was chosen in a campus contest, and words were written by student Michael J. Jalma.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 71. Used by permission.
*PLEASE NOTE: Not all marches from Volume 6 are in the public domain and have Marine Band editions. 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.