In 1892, John Philip Sousa was 35 years old. He had been the leader of the U.S. Marine Band for 12 years and was ready to do something different. On July 30, 1892, he resigned from the Marine Corps to start his own band. But what kind of band would it be?
Sousa thought about the kinds of bands that were popular at the time: brass bands, military bands, beer hall bands, and symphony orchestras. Then he combined all the things he liked about each type to form his new band, the Sousa Band. One newspaper called it "a military orchestra" because it had the instruments of a military band, but could sound like a symphony orchestra. It took a few months for the Sousa Band to get rolling, but once it did, the band stayed popular for almost 40 years. Year after year they played for sold-out crowds all over America, and, later, all over the world.