The Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa
Washington, D.C. native and legendary bandmaster John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) wrote a dozen operettas, six full-length operas, and over 100 marches, earning the title “March King”. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at an early age and went on to become the conductor of the President’s Own Marine Band at age 26. In 1892 he formed “Sousa and his Band”, which toured the United States and the world under his directorship for the next forty years to great acclaim. Not only was Sousa’s band hugely popular, but it also exposed audiences all over the world to the latest, cutting-edge music, bringing excerpts of Wagner’s Parsifal to New York a decade before the Metropolitan Opera staged it, and introducing ragtime to Europe, helping to spark many a composer’s interest in American music.
Here are some well-researched program notes on Stars & Stripes from the Band Music PDF Library.
A trombone choir rendition
Resources on The Stars and Stripes Forever
The wikipedia article on Stars & Stripes is bit thin on references, but it does allow you to listen to a vintage recording of Sousa himself conducting the march, from 1909. The Stars & Stripes page at the Dallas Wind Symphony website has other old recordings and Sousa’s original lyrics for the march, as well as a full biography for John Philip Sousa.
Stars & Stripes is one of many Sousa marches (and other pieces by turn of the 19th-20th century composers) available at the Band Music PDF Library for free. I encourage any enterprising band directors to take a look.