John Philip Sousa's "Sisterhood of the States" a contemporary performance edition for the modern concert band

Abstract

This project examines and unearths John Philip Sousa’s "Sisterhood of the States". Composed in 1915, "Sisterhood of the States", was incidental music to a ballet production for an event titled “Hip, Hip Hooray” that took place at the New York Hippodrome. This project was conceived on the importance of preserving the rich heritage of the Wind Band performance medium. Much research has been done on the works of John Philip Sousa, particularly his marches, yet his music is mostly confined to trivial programming and concert novelties, as modern college programs would suggest. The scope of the project uncovered John Philip Sousa’s lost ballet and compiled the fragmented manuscripts and incomplete passages into a comprehensive contemporary edition for the modern concert band instrumentation. Deeply unique amongst John Philip Sousa compositions, Sisterhood of the States was composed amongst a backdrop of high American Nationalism. Written in the time of the First World War conflict, the composition is a prime representation of the composer and America’s functioning nationalism. The reconstruction of the composition was approached by a thorough analysis of the orchestration and in some cases where no music was available, a harmonic evaluation of remaining notes to interpret the composer’s intent. The concluding result is a comprehensive edition of Sisterhood of the States not as incidental music, but as a stand-alone piece for the concert band stage. The implications of this project are to not only revive a lost composition by one of the most esteemed Bandsmen, but also to earnestly reconsider the unique and abundant heritage of the early Wind Band movement amongst academia, scholarly research and wind programming.

Description

Keywords

Sousa, Band, March, Nationalism

Citation