Sounds of Sousa

The Sounds of Sousa Band will present a concert sponsored by the James A. Garfield National Historic Site, 8095 Mentor Avenue, Mentor (44060) on Saturday, July 27th, 2013, at 2:00 pm. The concert is free and open to the public. In the event of rain, the concert will be presented in the sanctuary of the Faith Lutheran Church, next door to the Garfield site.


When John Philip Sousa played his final concert with The United States Marine Band in the late 1890s, one newspaper reporter commented that "the skies opened up and cried as our little band director played his final concert on the White House lawn for a huge crowd of well-wishers. Their umbrellas sprung up like black mushrooms as the rain continued and the band played."

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mr. Sousa's starting his first professional band in 1892, Marcus L. Neiman organized a professional level concert band in Northeastern Ohio capable of performing throughout the state and nation. His goal was to bring the music of John Philip Sousa to a new generation of listeners.

The Sounds of Sousa Band, from Ohio's Western Reserve, is the only professional touring concert band in Northeastern Ohio. The ensemble is composed of 60 of the finest professional wind and percussion players in Northeastern Ohio, and has been featured throughout Ohio in halls large and small. The majority of the members of the ensemble are professional musicians.


A highlight of the concert will be the marches composed for the inaugural parade and for the President's funeral. They marked the beginning and end of his six-and-a-months in office. "President Garfield's Inauguration March" was first performed by the United States Marine Band, with Sousa conducting, at the inauguration ceremonies on March 4th, 1881.

Sousa was not well acquainted with the President, but he was greatly shaken at the news of the assassination. In his autobiography, he tells of hearing paperboys shouting the news of Garfield's death. Sousa rose from his bed and went outside for a walk. With the event weighing heavily on his mind, he walked all through the night and into the next morning. When he returned home, he immediately committed the dirge, "In Memoriam – Garfield's Funeral March" to paper.

The dirge was played by the United States Marine Band at the funerals in Washington and Cleveland. It was performed infrequently until half a century later, when it was played as John Philip Sousa's body was escorted for burial in Washington's Congressional Cemetery, in the District of Columbia.

Complete information on the all concerts, soloists, and guest conductors, can all be found on the Sounds of Sousa website:

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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8095 Mentor Avenue
Mentor, OH 44060


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