“University of Illinois” (1929)
Sousa considered the University of Illinois the finest college band in the world and had great admiration for its director, A. Austin Harding. Some of Sousa’s musicians were graduates of Harding’s band, and others had studied at the university in off-season.
This march was completed on June 6, 1929, and given its premiere at a Sousa Band broadcast on June 17. On March 20 of the following year Sousa visited the university and was given a royal welcome. He was made honorary conductor of the band, presented with a handsome gold medal, and named “Great Tribal Chief of the Illini.” In typical Sousa humor, he filled out a freshman try-out sheet, stating that his instrument was a “low-pitched baton,” and that although his tonguing was “triple-threat,” his embouchure had been “lost in the war.”
Before his death Sousa had promised Harding that the Sousa Band library would be willed to the university. The bulk of it was eventually presented by Sousa’s widow and is now in the school’s Sousa Library.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 91. 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.