Corcoran Cadets March, The

From Wind Repertory Project
John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (ed. Frederick Fennell)

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General Info

Year: 1890 / 1986
Duration: c. 3:05
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts - $60.00   |   Score Only - $10.00


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Corcoran Cadets drill team was the pet of Washington, D.C., being the most notable of the drill teams that flourished there after the Civil War. Their average age was 16, and they presented a snappy picture with their colorful uniforms, wooden rifles, and youthful enthusiasm. They competed vigorously with units from Washington and other towns, and were the first company of cadets to be mustered into the National Guard. Their esprit de corps was high, and the Corcoran Cadets Veterans' Association held annual reunions for many years.

The "Corcorans" had their own band. Although it is not recorded, they probably made a formal request for this march. Sousa's affirmative response, "to the officers and men of the Corcoran Cadets," was no doubt tendered by an early association with William W. Corcoran, for whom the Cadets were named. It was he who nearly changed American musical history by considering Sousa for a musical education in Europe. Sousa had declined this opportunity, and the march was probably a belated expression of appreciation.

- Program Note from John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works

John Philip Sousa composed 136 marches in the years between 1880 and his death in 1932. The percentage of those which achieved a lasting success is a very high one-third of that total output. Sousa’s marches are probably the most enduring, most played music by an American composer; they are timeless, fadless, remarkable little essays in a deceivingly simple musical form.

They offer the interested conductor and scholar a clear line of continual development. Their first decade began with Our Flirtation (1880), during which time he produced 28 titles including such varied and original pieces as Sound Off, The Rifle Regiment, The Picadore, The Thunderer, The Washington Post, and Semper Fidelis.

The second decade began with The Corcoran Cadets March (1890), Sousa’s eighth-note march designed more for sit-down playing than for the field, street, or dance floor. It is as though he set out deliberately to compose a piece in duple time that would be produced with minimum resources yet be rhythmically neat, texturally clean, harmonically and melodically satisfying and (for him) stylistically unique. He succeeded, writing his most tightly-knit, rhythmically integrated and sparsely conceived piece, from the first note to the last.

It is very unusual Sousa, written for the cadet drill team of Washington, D.C., sponsored by the philanthropist W. W. Corcoran. The Corcoran Cadets was my choice for the first march played by The Eastman Wind Ensemble; it closed our first NBC network broadcast from The University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, 27 January 1953.

- Program Note by Frederick Fennell

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Concert Band (John Korak, conductor) - November 2020
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Nicholas E. Williams, conductor) – 16 November 2017
  • Lee University (Cleveland, Tenn.) Wind Ensemble (David Holsinger, conductor) – 11 October 2016
  • Napa Valley College (Calif.) North Bay Wind Ensemble (Harry Cadelago, conductor) - 4 June 2011
  • Eastman Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Frederick Fennell, conductor) – 17 December 1954

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Bierley, P. (1973). John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, Ill., p. 39.
  • Corcoran Cadets, IMSLP.
  • Sousa, J.; Fennell, F. (1986). The Corcoran Cadets March [score]. Ludwig Music: Cleveland, Oh.