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
"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
"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 militarymusic.com site.
Captain Branson composed a number of marches, most dedicated to the
United States Marines. His compositions include:
- Benjamin Franklin University March
- Eagle, Globe and Anchor March (unpublished)
- General LeJune March (Fischer, 1922)
- Golden Jubilee March (unpublished)
- Headquarters, USMC March (unpublished)
- Marine Corps Institute March (Fischer, 1921)
- Marine Corps Reserve March (unpublished)
- Marines of Belleau Woods March (unpublished)
- Tell it to the Marines March (unpublished)
- The Presidentís Own March (unpublished)
- Times Picayune Centennial March (Fischer, 1937)