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Austin Symphony To Celebrate John Phillip Sousa On Super Sunday
Updated: Friday, February 10 2012, 02:31 PM CST
By Rob Faubion, Austin On Stage.com
The Austin Symphony Brass Quintet will get Austinites ready for the Super Bowl with “Super Sousa Sunday,” a free concert showcasing the music of John Philip Sousa on Sun., Feb. 5.
The concert takes place at Gregory Gym located at on the University of Texas campus - the site of Sousa's 1922 concert when he visited Austin.
The hour-long concert features the five-piece brass quintet performing music made famous by Sousa. The March King and his band made frequent appearances in Austin from 1901 until 1928, and his concerts were the epitome of a more relaxed time when families would come together for an evening of light classical music and marches.
Beginning with1902, then again in 1906, Sousa played a sacred music concert at Hancock Opera House. He retuned to Austin in 1911 and again on December 26, 1919, when he played in the House of Representatives at the State Capitol to a sold out crowd.
In 1921, former Governor Sayers suggested the University of Texas Men's Gym - a wooden shack just north of the current Gregory Gym - as a venue for Sousa's 1922 concert. The children's concert matinee saw 4,500 people packed into the gym.
"(It was) one of those crude wooden shacks which graced the Forty Acres before, during and after World War I," said Mint O. James-Reed in her book, Music in Austin. "His incomparable band music stirred the emotions of peoples all over the world for more than a quarter of a century, and his 'Stars and Stripes Forever' will be included in the repertoire of bands throughout time immemorial - possibly never to be surpassed in rousing, rhythmic enjoyment."
In 1924 Sousa once again played in the Gregory Gym, returning in 1926 play in the Hancock Opera House. Sousa played his final Austin concert at the Junior High School in 1928.
The free performance is a gift from Dr. and Mrs. Edgar Harris in celebration of the Austin Symphony’s 100th anniversary. The concert begins at 1 p.m. in Gregory Gym, located at 2101 Speedway on the University of Texas campus. For more information, visit AustinSymphony.org.
(John Phillip Sousa photo courtesy Sounds of Sousa)