General Info on Keith Brion and his New Sousa Band

 I. Organization 

The band is selected nationally. Players are chosen by invitation only from orchestras, current and retired military band musicians, university wind professors and outstanding free lance players from major cities. All are skilled in early 20th century performance practice and are committed to reviving the historic sound and programming of Sousa's Band. In general practice, 75% of the personnel of the band remains constant from tour to tour, allowing the growth of consistent ensemble playing. However, the roster includes some 150-200 players, with participation decided by their availability,..Rehearsals take place where each tour begins, each tour earns its own way. At the present time, the band does not solicit or receive subsidies of any kind. The band is exclusively endorsed by JP Sousa Inc., John Sousa IV, President.


 II. Instrumentation 

43 players and soprano soloist. 3 Fl. (Piccalos), 2 Oboes (EH), 1 Bassoon, 9 Soprano Clarinets (Eb), 1 Bass Clarinet, 4 Saxophones, 4 Horns, 6 Cornets, 2 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, 2 Euphoniums, 3 Tubas, 3 Percussion (Snare drum, bass drum attached cymbal, timpani-mallets).


 III. Instruments 

While the band does not use period instruments exclusively, cornets are employed as well as period saxophones and snare drums. Mr. Brion's podium and conductor's rack are replicas of Sousa's personal conducting setup. The original now resides at the University of Illinois Sousa collection.


 IV. Uniforms 

The uniforms worn by the New Sousa Band are exact replicas of the Sousa Band uniforms of the 1920's. Each navy blue coat is fitted with a velvet collar and sleeves, and sports 35 yards of swirling black braid in the pattern used by Sousa. Performers all wear a pair of gold Sousa band collar pins on the original uniforms.


 V. History 

The New Sousa Band began as simply a concept for a national band, and came into being when The Sousa Legacy was recorded in 1983 for Bainbridge Records. The musicians in this case were principal players from the various London orchestras. Next came the 1986 PBS TV special The New Sousa Band on Stage at Wolf Trap based on the premise of the formation of the New Sousa Band. It was indeed the band's very first engagement. The band's initial public performance took place at the July 1987 WASBE Conference at Boston City Hall before a crowd of 10,000 people. The first tour concert was performed the next year in Schenectady, NY at Proctor's Theatre. Yearly tours throughout the United States have followed, making the band the first national professional concert band to tour extensively since Sousa's death in 1932. In 1990 the band made their first CD: The All American Original, Sousa! for Delos Records at New York's BMG Studios. In 1996 they toured Japan, becoming the first American civilian professional band to go overseas since Sousa's 1911 Around the World tour. Other highlights have included a week at the Christy Lane Theatre in Branson MO and the band's appearances as featured performers sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra at Orchestra Hall and as guest substitutes for the Seattle Symphony on their five-concert pops series.


 VI. Programming 

Currently, the band's repertoire is chosen primarily from works programmed in Sousa's lifetime, Each concert (just like the original) includes classical works, light music, virtuoso solos and novelties. Sousa's marches are performed only as encores and announced by cue cards. Usually 8-12 marches are played on each program. There are 55 Sousa marches currently in the band's repertoire. Classical works have included a dozen "standard" overtures, Pines of Rome, Death and Transfiguration, intros to Act. III of Lohengrin and Meistersinger, grand marches from Mahler 2nd Symphony, Aida, Tannhauser, March Militaire Francaise, many of the band pieces of Percy Grainger, etc.


 VII. Solo Artists 

Among those wind virtuosos appearing with the band have included Christian Lindberg, trombone, Fred Mills, trumpet, Robert Birch, Carleton Rowe and Dennis Najoom, cornetists, Earle Louder euphonium, Larry Zalkind, trombone, Don Harry, tuba and John Beck, xylophone.


 VIII. Theme Concerts 

In special circumstances, or on request, the band has performed programming outside of the normal historical pattern. This includes An Old Fashioned Christmas with John Philip Sousa, a Sousa 2000 millennium show that includes a traditional Sousa first half followed by a second half showing Sousa's great influence over the last 2/3 of the 20th Century. Special band programming is also available for conventions and other holidays including Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day,and Memorial Day.


 IX. Repeat Engagements 

In its short touring history, the band has already played repeat engagements at over a dozen venues. All new materials are prepared for each visit, in keeping with Sousa's long standing practice.


 X. Universities where the band has appeared 

Indiana State-Terre Haute, UW Green Bay, Pensacola Christian College, Michigan State, Univ. of Michigan, Tyler Jr. College, Univ. of South Carolina, Wake Forest, Bob Jones, Stetson, Hartwick College-NY, Ft. Hayes St.-KS, Lehman College NY, SUNY Fredonia, Glassboro St. NJ, Univ. of Delaware, Stockton State-NJ, Univ. of Akron, Westminster College-PA, Claremont and Ambassador Colleges-CA


 XI. Clinics 

The artist band members of the New Sousa Band are sometimes willing to present clinics in conjunction with our concerts, as allowed by the band's travel schedule. This availability varies according to the particular routing of the tours.


 XII. Lectures 

If it can be scheduled, Mr. Brion is sometimes available to present a special preconcert slide show of Sousa's life and times. In service training Under special arrangement, the band can also present Sousa march clinics or become the demonstration group for a conducting workshop where local conductors have an opportunity to work with Mr. Brion and to lead the band.


 XIII. Children's Performances 

The band presents a one hour children's concert according to their schedule availability and also by special arrangement. This three part multi-media program dissects a march in terms of form, content and instrumentation, then presents a slide show based on Sousa's life and concludes with a short encapsulation of a typical Sousa concert. Supplemental materials for teacher preparation are available. Participation of local bands and musicians Local university and high school bands can prearrange to join the New Sousa Band for part of the finale. It is also possible to select outstanding players to sit in with the band for one of the marches.


 XIV. Some participating personnel from tours during the last three seasons 

Flutes: Katherine Borst Jones, Ohio State/Columbus Symph./Pro Musica Chamber Orch.; Teresa Beaman, Fresno State; Mattis Betko, Slovak Radio Orch.

Piccolos: Sally Humphreys, Utah Ballet Orch.; Diana Powers, Army Field Band; Janet Axelrod, NY freelance/Sarasota Opera Orch.; Karen Griffen, Metropolitan Opera Orch.; Karen Botterbusch, Harrisburg Symph.

Oboes: Sandy Gerster, Richmond and VA Symphonies; Lonnie Spahr, Handel and Haydn Society/formerly Colo. Springs Symph.; Alecia Lawyer, Houston freelance; Jennifer Harvell, Army Field Band; Robyn Dixon, Columbus freelance.

Bassoons: Chris Weait, Ohio State; Chad Roseman, Indiana State; Matt Harvell, free lance.

Clarinets: David Ehrke, UN Reno/Reno Phil.; Karen Fischer, NY freelance; Janet Averett, San Jose State/San Jose Opera Orch.; Harold Easley, West Point Band; Tom Leistner, US Army Band; Kim Aseltine, Detroit freelance/formerly Honolulu Symphony; Kim Cole, Eastern Mich. Univ.; Chris Hill, South Dakota Symph.; Paul Castillo, Long Beach Symph.; Sherri Bohlig, NY freelance; Joe Tanega, NY City Opera Touring Orch., Lindsey Freireich, Huntsville Symph.; Scott Wright, UW Green Bay; Nancy Gamso, Ohio Wesleyan; Tom Masse, New Haven free lance; Jean Merkelo, St. Paul freelance.

Bass Clarinet: Michelle Montone, Palm Beach Opera; Sue Macy, Bay area freelance; Kathy Taylor, NY freelance, Roger Garrett, Peoria Symph./IL Wesleyan

Saxophones: Pat Meighan, Florida State; Paul Cohen, Oberlin/Manhattan School; April Lucas, SUNY Binghamton; Martin Wilkes, US Army Band; Craig Sylvern, Keene State; John Moore, freelance; Tom Gorin, NYC freelance. Horns: Marc Guy, SUNY Fredonia; Denise Root, UConn; Brian Kilp, Indiana State; Karin Berkeley and John Findley, DC freelance; Robin Millanazzo, Boston freelance; Chris Wilhjelm, NJ freelance.

Cornets: Fred Mills, Univ. of Georgia/formerly Canadian Brass; Carl Rowe, Marine Band ret.; Bob Birch, American Univ./Navy Band ret.; Dennis Najoom, Milwaukee Symph.; Ed Reid U of AZ/Tucson Symph.; Jeff Work, Boston Philharmonia; Wade Weast, SUNY Fredonia; James Majeda and Evan Champion, SUNY Potsdam; Raul Ornelas, Lamar Univ.; Kevin Mayse, Riverside CA; Jeff Higgins, Goodspeed Opera; James Seidel, Ringgold Band.

Trumpets: Rich Chasin, LA freelance; Moffatt Williams, Stetson Univ.; Chris Hart, Battle Creek Symphony; Chuck Bumcrot, Orch. NE; Mike Casteel, Nashville freelance; Ken Tedeschi, Waterbury Symphony.

Trombones: Larry Zalkind, Utah Symph., Scott Cranston, CT Freelance; Steve Parsons, IL State/former Army Field Band; Wayne Dyess, Lamar Univ./Navy Band ret. ; Mike Brown, Phoenix Symphony; Dave Waters, Houston Symphony; Bill Whitaker, CT freelance; Dave Lussier, Milwaukee Ballet; Scott Bean, CT freelance

Euphoniums: Earle Louder, Blossom Fest. Band/Navy Band ret.; Gail Robertson, Univ. of Florida/Disneyworld; George Curran, Cincinnati freelance.

Tubas: Don Harry, Eastman School/Buffalo Phil.; Dave Zerkel, U of Georgia/former Army Field Band; Phil Sinder, Mich. State; Doug Tornquist, Long Beach Symph./LA freelance; Willie Clark, Stetson Univ./Disneyworld; Jay Bertolet, Florida Phil.

Bass Drum: Brian Holt, Reading Symphony Orchestra and Ringgold Band; Terry Heilman, US Army Band

Snare Drum: Dave Myers, Ringgold Band; Tom Wetzel, Milwaukee Symphony Percussion: John Beck, NC School of the Arts; Bob Ayers, NYC freelance; Tom Harvey, Indianapolis free lance.

Soprano Soloists: Charleen Ayers, Friends Univ.; Virginia Croskery, Chapman Univ.


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