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Nobles of the Mystic Shrine

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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (arr. Frederick Fennell)

General Info

Year: 1923 / 1972 / 2000
Duration: c. 3:15
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $70.00   |   Score Only - $8.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Regimental Trumpet
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Harp (optional)
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells (or Glockenspiel)
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Field Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Published in 1923, this concert-oriented march celebrates Sousa’s membership in the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners). His local chapter hosted the national convention in 1923 in Washington, D.C., and Sousa conducted a band of 6,200 members in Griffith Stadium, the largest group he ever conducted. Contemporary versions of the Janissary Band (Turkish royal bodyguards) are a vital part of colorful Shrine marching units, and this march was intended to recreate the musical style of this Turkish music. The “jingling johnny” or Turkish crescent (a marching instrument with a pole hung with jingling bells), triangle, tambourine, and a heavy bass drum are highlighted, and we hear sudden fortissimo outbursts in the first section. This march is unique in that it includes a part for the harp.

- Program Note by Edward Harris

Nobles is unique among the American March King’s works: the first strain is in the key of B-Flat minor. It calls for triangle and tambourine as an integral part of the percussion texture, and it is basically alluding to “Turkish music”.

This music might more properly be called Janissary, for such was the name of the military bodyguard of Turkish sovereigns from the 15th and into the 19th century. It was the music of bands of the janissary which the Crusaders beheld with such fascination in their contacts with life in the Holy Land they sought to wrest from the Turks. Contemporary versions of the Janissary Band are a vital part of the colorful Shrine marching units seen in parades all over the country. Gaily costumed, bedecked with feather, sash, and sword, these units put out an oriental wail that is distinctly theirs. Sousa was a Shriner and wrote this march for his friends in Washington. He conducted the première with an enormous band of 6200 Shriners in Washington’s Griffith’s baseball stadium.

- Program Note by David Holsinger


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Jay S. Gephart, conductor) - 17 February 2023
  • San Jose (Calif.) Wind Symphony (Troy Davis, conductor) - 4 December 2022
  • Dallas (Tx.) Winds (Jerry Junkin, conductor) - 18 October 2022
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Symphonic Band (Michael Robinson, conductor) - 28 September 2022
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Orchestra (Nicholas P. Waldron, conductor) – 8 March 2020
  • Mid America Freedom Band (Kansas City, Mo.) (Lee Hartman, conductor) – 20 October 2019
  • Grinnell (Iowa) College Symphonic Band (Joshua W. Neuenschwander, conductor) - 11 May 2019
  • Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (David Diggs, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • Lee University (Cleveland, Tenn.) Wind Ensemble (David Holsinger, conductor) – 23 April 2019
  • Centenary College of Louisiana (Shreveport) Wind Ensemble (Thomas Hundemer, conductor) – 24 March 2019
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Concert Band (Mike Leckrone, conductor) – 17 February 2019
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 6 November 2018
  • Concordia University (Chicago, Ill.) Wind Symphony (Richard Fischer, conductor) - 2 November 2018
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) Symphonic Winds (Stephen Piazza, conductor) – 7 October 2018
  • Lower Columbia College (Longview, Wash.) Honor Band (Robert Davis, conductor) – 6 January 2018
  • Ripon (Wisc.) College Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Kurt Dietrich, conductor) – 19 November 2017
  • Lexington (Mass.) Bicentennial Concert Band (Jeffrey Leonard, conductor) – 14 May 2017
  • Kingsburg (Calif.) High School Wind Band (Michael Schofield, conductor) - 21 April 2017 (2017 San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) Concert Band Invitational)
  • St. Louis (Mo.) Wind Symphony (Thomas Poshak, conductor) – 13 November 2016
  • United States Army Band (Ft. Myer, Va.) (Timothy J. Holtan, conductor) – 9 June 2016
  • Southwestern Oklahoma State University (Weatherford) Wind Symphony (Keith Talley, conductor) – 24 April 2016
  • Kearsarge Community Band (New London, N.H.) (Aarne Vesiland, conductor) – 28 February 2016

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Sousa, J.; Fennell, F. (1972). Nobles of the Mystic Shrine : March [score]. Fox: New York.