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Sunday, November 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: John Philip Sousa wows Auditorium Theater crowd

In an interview before the concert, Sousa said he found that “never before in my musical career have I found that people demand the bright and sparkling musical numbers, to the exclusion of the solemn and sublime.” (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
In an interview before the concert, Sousa said he found that “never before in my musical career have I found that people demand the bright and sparkling musical numbers, to the exclusion of the solemn and sublime.” (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

John Philip Sousa, the March King, played to a wildly enthusiastic crowd at the Auditorium Theater and received “such applause as the historic old theater has rarely heard,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported.

“Whether they were chuckling at the musician’s antics when ‘Showing Off Before Company’ or were silenced and bought near tears by the majestic ‘Golden Star,’ … they were ready to call for more, more, and more until the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ told them there could be no more,” said a Chronicle reviewer.

In an interview before the concert, Sousa said he found that “never before in my musical career have I found that people demand the bright and sparkling musical numbers, to the exclusion of the solemn and sublime.”

He believed it was “an outgrowth of the war” and that it showed people were seeking a release from “the strains of wartime trials.” He was happy to oblige, excluding most of the solemn numbers from the program, and including mostly what he called “Sunshine Music.”

He also excluded all German music.

“Every time I think of playing a German piece, I can see the German poison gases and I cannot conceive any American audience sitting and enjoying selections of this nature,” said Sousa.

The Chronicle review concluded by saying “it was Spokane’s Sousa night, and Spokane wants such a Sousa night every time the March King comes within a thousand miles of Riverside.”

The reviewer dubbed him “King Sousa the First, monarch of the marches.”

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