“The Northern Pines” (1931)
“So much is said from the negative side about the youth that it indeed restores one’s faith to find here, year after year, hundreds of boys and girls with such ideals, such marked ability and evident industry.” Many times in the 1920’s Sousa expressed optimism about the future of music in America. The country’s potential was in the hands of youthful musicians whose capabilities inspired him on countless occasions. Perhaps his greatest inspiration in this vein came in July, 1930, when he was guest conductor at the National Music Camp at Interlochen. After this memorable occasion, he was invited to return the following year.
The camp at Interlochen was founded by Dr. Joseph E. Maddy among beautiful pines of Northern Michigan in Indian country. Just prior to Sousa’s second visit, he composed “The Northern Pines” and dedicated it to Dr. Maddy and the camp. He conducted the National High School Band in the first performance at a Sousa Day program on Sunday afternoon, July 26, 1931, at which time the faculty and students presented him with a medal. Sousa signed over royalties of the new march, which had not yet been printed, to the camp. A Sousa scholarship was founded, and one or more outstanding music students were brought to Interlochen each year for several seasons. Today the walkway which circumnavigates the principal stage and audience area is known as the John Philip Sousa Walk.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 75. 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.