Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Champaign, Illinois, recently opened “Sousa and His League of Players: Americaâ€™s Music and the Golden Age of Baseball,” on view through July 2011. Special thanks to Sousa Archive Center Director, Scott Schwartz, for this guest post.Â Â
The University of Illinoisâ€™ 2010 American Music Month celebration will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Sousa Bandâ€™s World Tour 1910-1911 and Sousaâ€™s love of baseball. His bandâ€™s musicians served as his baseball team whenever they played against other bandsâ€™ and communitiesâ€™ teams during their unprecedented concert tour around the world.Â This Novemberâ€™s celebration includes the opening of a special new exhibit, Americaâ€™s Golden Age of Baseball through Music, using historic sheet music and rare baseball cards from the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, and the Ronald S. Gabriel Baseball Memorabilia Collection on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center.Â In addition, the University of Illinois bands will be giving a special performance in which they will be recreating the Sousa Bandâ€™s concerts given during their World Tour. Special performances include, â€œRounding the Bases, Circling the Globe: Sousaâ€™s World Tour and Baseballâ€ and a lecture entitled, “The Essence of Uncle Sam: John Philip Sousaâ€™s 1911 World Tour” on November 14, and â€œThe Baseball Music Projectâ€ performed by the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bob Thompson as conductor and Dave Winfield as host and narrator on November 12.Â
Music and baseball have played an integral role in the life and culture of America for nearly two and a quarter centuries, but it was not until the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when the two forms of popular entertainment became fully entwined as the countryâ€™s greatest past times.Â Songs like the â€œBase Ball Quickstep,â€ The Umpire Is a Most Unhappy Man,â€ â€œTake Your Girl to the Ball Game,â€ â€œThe Baseball Man for Me,â€ â€œLetâ€™s Get the Umpireâ€™s Goat,â€ â€œHome Run Bill,â€ â€œTake Me Out to the Ball Game,â€ and â€œThree Strikes Two-step,â€ dedicated specifically to John Philip Sousaâ€™s baseball team, vividly portray Americaâ€™s love affair with the national game.Â For music and sports scholars and aficionados the years 1900-1920 are considered the golden age of the John Philip Sousa Band and baseball in America. The 1908 World Series is considered the greatest and most controversial baseball series of the twentieth century and the Sousa Bandâ€™s World Tour of 1910-1911 is undoubtedly one of the most unique music public relations efforts by a single individual to introduce the early twentieth-century world to American music, culture, and baseball.Â
We invite you to join us as we celebrate through concerts, lectures, master classes and exhibitions, John Philip Sousaâ€™s and baseballâ€™s impact on your nationâ€™s diverse music and cultural heritage.Â For further information on our programming and exhibitions please visit www.sousaarchives.orgÂ or call 217-244-9309.