John Philip Sousa
I could not let the day pass without an encomium for one of the composers nearest to my heart. For in my formative musical years in high school and college I enjoyed performing the marches of this great composer who was born on this day in 1854. Sousa was much more than a composer of Marches with Operettas, Suites, Songs and even novels to his credit. My own favorites among his marches include National Fencibles, Manhattan Beach and, of course, The Washington Post. It is the last that epitomizes the genius of Sousa with its beautiful dance-like melody that has made it among the most popular of all marches. Sousa's genius included the ability to create memorable melodies while presenting them in a very simple form that lets the music flourish. We still find his music fresh as it was more than a century ago warming us with the joy of musical memories.