THE MARCH KING WRITES MARCH FOR BOY SCOUTS
John Philip Sousa Symbolizes in Music the Spirit of Youth
--Words by Booth Tarkington.
JOHN PHILIP SOUSA first entertained the idea of
writing a march for the Boy Scouts of America in the early part of September.
He is much interested in the Boy Scouts of America and
thinks it a wonderful and powerful force toward
the making of true Americanism and good citizens.
Mr. Sousa's own boyhood was passed in
Washington, D.C. - he having been born there in 1854 — and
his early days were as he says,
surrounded by military music and the tramp of marching feet.
He believes that many of his
best marches were inspired by this early impression — as
related in his book Pipetown Sandy
(which by the way should be in every boy's library)
which tells really the story of his own youthful days.
Sousa was taken by his father to see the
review of the Union troops in Washington immediately after the close
of the Civil War, and had curiously enough a chance to march alongside
his father in one of the regiments known as Sherman's Bummers.
His feelings as a boy are vividly described in the story. When
Mr. Sousa agreed to write a march,
he said that he would not do it unless he could get the proper inspiration.
It was suggested that he should try to feel again as he did
when as a small boy of twelve years he was reviewed by General Grant
and the President of the United States.
I believe that this was his inspiration
and he certainly has translated it into music.
He wished to have a march that would have a good marching swing,
that would be within the range of the singing voice,
and that could have words written for it.
He also wished to have it symbolize the Spirit of Youth,
especially the Youth of America — and he certainly has done it.
It is a great success.
The first rehearsal was held at the Metropolitan Opera House on
October 20, 1916, and was a great success.
The first public
hearing was at the New National Theatre, Sunday, October 22,
and was received with acclaim as one of the best he has ever written.
The critics, his publishers, and Mr. Sousa himself think it one of the
two or three best he has ever written,
and that it ranks with the "Washington Post" and the "Stars and Stripes."
It has a splendid swing, and makes those who hear it want to keep time
with their feet.
It is full of life and energy and is pervaded with a youthful joyousness
that is wonderful.
Mr. Sousa is delighted with his success and is hopeful that the
Scouts will like it too.
It is called "The Boy Scouts of America March," composed
expressly for and dedicated with admiration and affection to
the Boy Scouts of America, by John Philip Sousa.
On suggestion, approved by Mr. Sousa,
the person selected to write the words was Mr. Booth Tarkington,
the famous novelist — who upon being asked said that he would gladly try
to write suitable words, as soon as he could hear the music.
Mr. Tarkington is an enthusiastic believer in the Scout Movement,
and furthers it in every way he can.
The music will be published and will have on the cover page
in addition to the title and dedication as given above — a picture of
the Statuette of a Boy Scout as made for the Boy Scouts of Philadelphia,
by Dr. R. Tait MacKenzie the artist — a member of the Philadelphia Council.
Thus will be combined the famous names in music,
art and literature and all because they approve of the Boy Scouts
and think that they have and will make good.
The march was first played at a public performance on October 30
at the Metropolitan Opera House, Philadelphia
where Mr. Sousa was then engaged.
So the Boy Scouts have now a march of their own — composed by
the most famous march writer of the world.
They should be very proud, and also grateful.
Scouting Magazine, March 1, 1917
The Boy Scouts of America March was indeed published
with the cover art described here, but we are unable
to locate the anticiapted lyrics by Booth Tarkington.