Skip to Content
HomeAbout this siteHelpSearch this site The Library of Congress
America's Story from America's LibraryMeet Amazing AmericansJump Back in TimeExplore the StatesJoin America at PlaySee, Hear and Sing
Meet Amazing Americans Musicians & Composers John Philip Sousa
Sousa and the U.S. Marine Band
Sousa and the U.S. Marine Band

Enlarge this image
The Circus or the Marine Corps?

Sousa's father played the trombone in the U.S. Marine Band. He knew his son was a "law-abiding boy" and that he would never desert. When he found out about his son's plans to join the circus, he made special arrangements with the Marine Corps commandant. On that morning of June 9, 1868, they met with General Zeilin, and 13-year-old Sousa agreed to enlist as an apprentice musician for the Marine Band. His father hoped that by the time his service was over, his son would no longer be so interested in joining the circus.

And he was right. Sousa never did become a circus band leader, but he did become the most famous leader of the Marine Band.

Back page 4 of 4 More Stories

Library Of Congress | Legal Notices | Privacy | Site Map | Contact Us