Collections TreasuresThe Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at Urbana-Champaign was organized in 1994 with the transfer of the John Philip Sousa and Herbert L. Clarke personal papers, and other related special collections from University Bands to the University Library. The Center holds the world's single largest archives of original music compositions and arrangements by John Philip Sousa. The principle archival collections of the Center are the papers of John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), Herbert L. Clarke (1867-1945), former directors of the band at the University of Illinois A. Austin Harding (1880-1958), Mark Hindsley (1905-1999), Harry Begian (b. 1921), and University of Illinois alumnus and Sousa Band member Richard E. Kent (1899-1996). In addition the Center is responsible for unique collections of twentieth-century electronic and avant-garde music, and select ethno-musicological research papers from the faculty and staff of the University's School of Music.
As a unit of the University Archives, the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music provides professional collection-level management of its collections. It insures students, faculty, researchers and the general public free and open access to its collections and strives to provide the highest quality public service and educational programming possible. Interesting facts about Sousa and new digital images of the University of Illinois Concert Band's annual portraits, 1915-1992.
Current ExhibitionsThe Forgotten Musicians of the Sousa Band, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, June 26, 2012 – April 19, 2013.
Before the era of commercial radio and sound recordings had transformed how Americans listened to popular music, John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) and his civilian band captivated star-struck audiences across America. People crowded the streets and train stations in eager anticipation of a possible glimpse of the renowned band and such superstar musicians as Herbert L. Clarke, Arthur Pryor and Herman Bellstedt. However, most musicians of the Sousa Band were not as famous, and even though their contributions may not be easily remembered today, their performance in the Sousa Band was instrumental to Sousa’s success as a band leader. This exhibit’s historical photographs briefly explore the lives of Clarence Russell, John Van Fossen, Winifred Bambrick, John Jacob Mountz, and other members of Sousa’s illustrious band.
A British Tar: John Philip Sousa’s Anglo-American Connections, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, July 24, 2012 – July 1, 2013.
The Sousa Band completed five over-seas tours of France, Germany, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Belgium, Russia, Poland, Austria, Bohemia, Denmark, the Netherlands, South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, and New Zealand between 1900 and 1911. While the band toured extensively around the world, the majority of their international concerts were performed in Great Britain and its colonies. This small exhibition explores John Philip Sousa’s more interesting Anglo-American connections as a composer and band leader, and highlights some events that marked the beginning of a long and complex debate on the issues of international copyright and fair use on which Sousa was often asked to comment for the remainder of his music career.
John Philip Sousa’s 1912 Victor Recording Sessions, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 27, 2012 – July 15, 2013.
Of the 1,770 commercial sound recordings that were made of Sousa’s civilian band between 1892 and 1932, only eight were conducted by the “March King.” Two additional recordings of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company Band playing “March of the Mitten Men” (later entitled “Power and Glory”) and “The Thunder” were also recorded with Sousa at the podium. While Sousa had a general aversion to most forms of mechanically reproduced music, he did not prohibit his band’s musicians from being recorded and many established reputations as recording artists and studio conductors. In addition, Sousa’s Band played a significant role in the rapid development of the Victor Talking Machine Company under the direction of Arthur Pryor. Pryor played solo trombone for the band and served as one of Sousa’s assistant conductors. This exhibit explores Pryor’s 1912 Victor recording sessions and his impact on America’s early twentieth-century audio recordings.
A Divided Musical Affair: Arthur Endres Kraeckmann’s Love Letters to Mabel Roeher, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, September 3, 2012 – July 29, 2013.
Arthur Endres Kraeckmann (1893-1975) was a renowned twentieth-century baritone who as a native of Chicago, IL spent most of his singing career in France as the leading baritone at the Grand Opera. Initially intent on becoming a farmer, he studied Agriculture at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and graduated with a bachelor or science degree in 1916. While a student at the University he be involved in a long-term courtship with Mabel Roeher, who attended Illinois as a music student. Kraeckmann was never able to convince her to move with him to Europe so he could pursue his music career. This exhibit explores through Kraeckmann’s letters his gentile courtship with a young music co-ed between 1915 and 1924, and the challenges he faced as a young mid-westerner seeking fame and fortune on Europe’s greatest opera stages.
The Musical Crossroads of John Jacob Mountz, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, September 17, 2012 – September 9, 2013.
French hornist John Jacob Mountz (1898-1967), after graduating from Decatur, Illinois High School, enrolled at the University of Illinois as an engineering student and played first horn in the Illinois Band under direction A. Austin Harding. Mountz left the University of Illinois in January 1923 without finishing his degree and moved to Chicago to continue studying horn under Mr. DeMare of the Chicago Civic Orchestra. In March of that year Harding recommended Mountz to John Philip Sousa, and in September Mountz was invited to join the Sousa Band by band manager Jay Sims. He accepted Sousa's invitation and toured with the Sousa Band between October 1923 and March 1924. After leaving the Sousa Band he took different positions playing horn in Richmond, VA, Washington DC, and Chicago. This exhibit chronicles Mountz's music career through photographs and correspondence, and highlights his unique professional relationship with Harding and Sousa.
America and Sousa’s Band Through the Photographic Lens of Charles Strothkamp, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, October 3, 2012 – September 16, 2013.
Charles Strothkamp played clarinet in the Sousa Band between 1926 and 1932, and as he travelled with the ensemble his camera meticulously documented the off-stage life of his music colleagues, including Mr. and Mrs. Sousa, and the many different communities and theaters the band played throughout its 1926-1930 American tours. This photographic exhibition explores the humorous and everyday exploits of Charles Strothkamp as a member of the Sousa Band, and also highlights some of the Strothkamp family’s cross-country travels at the beginning of America’s Great Depression when Charles wasn’t on tour with the band.
John Philip Sousa’s Jazz America, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, October 15, 2012 – October 7, 2013.
The June 30, 1925 headline of the Trenton Times proclaimed, “Jazz Always Here Says Bandmaster,” as the Sousa Band was about to premiere John Philip Sousa’s latest music fantasy, Jazz America. Sousa stated, “Like the poor, jazz has always been with us and always will be. The phase of it we are witnessing today will pass, but tomorrow some individual will give it a new label and it will drift along its merry way, a rose under another name, but smelling just as sweet.” This exhibit of music, photographs, and news clippings illustrates the interesting “love-hate” relationship that Sousa had with this uniquely American form of popular music and its impact on how he marketed his band’s concerts.
This special telematic music performance brought together University faculty, musicians, archivists, and special collections curators as well as performing musicians from around the world to collaboratively create an innovative concert experience that takes the live performance beyond the walls of the traditional concert hall. This special online concert removed both time and physical barriers to connect musicians through the use of high-speed broadband connections to produce a real-time streamed audio-visual performance that can be freely viewed by anyone with internet access. This concert was created to celebrate the Morrill Act’s continuing impact on liberal and mechanical arts education in colleges and universities around the world.
2012 On-Line Concert
This special concert of improvised music featured a mélange of local musicians performing on a variety of traditional and new music instruments with the Sal-Mar Construction, built from the TTL logic boards of the ILLIAC II by Salvatore Martirano, Sergio Franco, and ILLIAC III designers Rich Borovec and James Divilbiss. The instrument, preserved at the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, is believed to be the earliest interactive music synthesizer to combine the essential elements of human conversation and music improvisation into a continuous performance event, and this concert highlighted the unique nature of this early electro-acoustic instrument. Performers included Ken Beck on the Sal-Mar Construction, Dorothy Martirano on violin, Barry Morse on theremin, Jacob Barton on the utterbot, John Toenjes on computer synthesizer, Jason Finkelman on computer synthesizer and African instruments, and Jeff Zahos on percussion. This concert was sponsored by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music in partnership with the University of Illinois' OCE-ATLAS.
2011 On-Line Concert