Flat Sousa Visits the Bloomington-Normal Community Concert Band for its Final Summer Performance

Flat Sousa with the Bloomington-Normal, Illinois Community Band on July 31, 2014. He is held by the band’s director, Michael Wallace, who has lead the ensemble since 1988.

Flat Sousa attended the Bloomington-Normal Community Band’s final summer concert which was held in Bloomington’s Franklin Park on July 31, 2014. In honor of Flat Sousa’s visit, the band performed John Philip Sousa’s The Pathfinder of Panama (composed in 1915) and The Lambs March (composed in 1914) as part of its concert, and each piece received enthusiastic applause from the audience.

John Philip Sousa and his band performed 14 different concerts in Bloomington, Illinois between February 8, 1898 and September 17, 1929.  The first six concerts were given in Bloomington’s Grand Opera House and the ensemble’s last two performances were held at the Bloomington High School.  A reviewer of the March 8, 1906 concert wrote in the Bloomington, Illinois Pantagraph on March 9th, “A large audience heard John Philip Sousa’s band in their concert last night at the Grand, assisted by Mr. Herbert Clarke, cornetist; Miss Elizabeth Schiller, soprano; and Miss Jeanette Powers, violinist.  The audience was most enthusiastic in its applause of almost every number played.  For encores Mr. Sousa played many popular airs which were rendered in genuine Sousa style.  Mr. Sousa has perfect control of every instrument on the stage and conducts with exceptional grace and ease.  Miss Schiller, the soprano soloist, has a cultured but not overly strong voice.  Miss Powers, the violinist, is a Decatur [Illinois] lady with many friends in Bloomington.  She was given a hearty welcome and played pleasingly.”

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