Capt. Taylor Branson & The Marine Band Connection

Taylor Branson was born and grew up in Washington, D.C. He began his association with the United States Marine Band at a young age, studying violin with Captain William H. Santelmann, who was Director of the Marine Band at that time. He studied clarinet with Andrea Coda, solo clarinetist of the band, and composition with Arthur Tregina, another member of the band.

At the age of 17 he enlisted in the Marine Band. He was concertmaster of the Marine Band Symphony Orchestra for over twenty years. Taylor Branson was promoted to Assistant Director in 1921, and was appointed Director of the Marine Band in 1927. The Sergeant's stripes clearly visible in the photo at the right indicate that this was taken before his promotion to the rank of Captain.

Of course most biographies of Capt. Taylor Branson do not put great emphasis on the fact that more than 27,000 Scouts and leaders who attended the first National Jamboree, in Washington, D.C., were at the Marine Band concert which he conducted on the evening of July 4, 1937. Neither do they tend to note that he appeared as guest conductor of the first National Jamboree Band at their concert on July 6, 1937, or that he frequently programmed Sousa's "Boy Scouts of America March" at Marine Band concerts during the summer of 1937. But for our purposes these are indeed significant events.

John Philip Sousa, of course, had preceeded Taylor Branson as Director of the Marine Band, serving in that position 1880 - 1892. He wrote the "Boy Scouts of America March" in the Fall of 1916, some years before there had ever been a Scout Jamboree. Sousa's original manuscript for the "Boy Scouts of America March" is in the Library of Congress.

Captain Branson never had the opportunity to bring the Marine Band to another National Jamboree. He retired from the service in 1940, and, because of the War, the B.S.A. did not hold its second National Jamboree until 1950. However, following the example set by Capt. Taylor Branson in 1937, the United States Marine Band has visited many more National Jamborees. Many other musical units of our other Armed Services have done so, too. And, of course, the marches of John Philip Sousa continue to be a staple of the repertiore of every National Jamboree Band.

You can find a more complete biography of Taylor Branson on the site.

Captain Branson composed a number of marches, most dedicated to the United States Marines. His compositions include: