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The Stars and Stripes Forever!

Date: 1940s
Overall: 307 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00004661
Place Manufactured:Sydney
Related Place:Philadelphia, Brisbane,

User Terms

    This sheet music contains the patriotic American march 'The Stars and Stripes Forever!', written by John Philip Sousa in December of 1896. The Australian music publishing company W H Paling & Company Ltd published it in 1897, following the instant popularity and cultural influence of the tune. In 1911, Sousa and his band of 60 performers toured Australia and New Zealand for 15 weeks, with the Sydney Morning Herald sealing his reputation as 'The March King'.
    SignificanceThis piece of music is an early example of a popular song written by one of the most well-known composers of American military and patrioctic marches - John Philip Sousa. Sousa's far-reaching appeal is apparent in this Australian-produced print and it represents a time when Australia's thirst for American culture was beginning to flourish within various cultural mediums.
    HistoryJohn Philip Sousa, christened the 'March King' by his contemporaries, was one of the most popular figures in the music industry at the height of his fame in the late 19th century. His reputation as a talented conductor was closely associated with his highly acclaimed band. Sousa and the band travelled the world and performed 15,623 live concerts over a 40-year period.

    Several New York newspapers including the Herald, Telegraph, Evening Sun and Mail and Express reported on one spectacular performance. On 10 April 1898, five thousand people packed the seats of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Sousa played a range of patriotic songs before finally coming to what had been his most recent, and what was to become his most famous work, 'The Stars and Stripes Forever!' According to the newspaper reports, cheers and applause were heard the moment it began and some even stood on their seats. Sousa and his band were encored several times before the performance finally ended.

    Based on these reports it is evident not only that Sousa was an influential cultural figure in American society, but also that these types of performances were an intrinsic part of a long-standing tradition. These elaborate displays of patriotism were social events and Sousa's march music struck a chord with his contemporaries in a way that no other composer could.

    Seen in this light, Sousa's visit to Australia in 1911 was a significant event and one that demonstrated the strong appeal of American culture to Australian audiences. On 22 April 1911, the Sydney Morning Herald published the following report of the visit:

    'Under the direction of Mr. Edward Branscombe, John Philip Sousa brings with him to Australia the same strenuous method that has everywhere characterised his movements and appearances. The entire Australasian trip will be brought within a compass of 15 weeks, and apart from the exigencies of travel, not a fraction of time will be lost. The tour involves an enormous expediture per week, and it is only by rapid transit that this giant enterprise is made possible. Sousa and his band commence their Sydney season at the Town Hall on Monday evening, May 15.'

    The band also performed in Melbourne's Exhibition Concert Hall with a ceremonial welcome, 'to this illustrious visitor', performed by a committee of bands from across Victoria. The fact that this patriotic song ventured beyond American interests and appealed to Australian audiences is a testament to Sousa and his band's talents. This sheet music offers a glimpse of a time when the music hall performances formed a vibrant feature of life in Australia's main cities.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: The Stars and Stripes Forever!

    Primary title: The stars and stripes forever! march

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