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Purple Pageant March, The

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Karl L. King

Karl King (ed. John P. Paynter)

General Info

Year: 1933 / 1982
Duration: c. 3:20
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts - $80.00  |   Score Only - $5.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
E-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Cymbals
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Karl L. King began his career playing the baritone in a circus band before becoming bandmaster for the Barnum and Bailey’s, Greatest Show on Earth. In addition to directing, he composed innovative music to match the exciting emotions and rhythms of circus acts, including his best known march, Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite. King left the traveling circus lifestyle to settle in Fort Dodge, Iowa, where he spent the remaining fifty-one years of his life directing the Fort Dodge Municipal Band, an organization that eventually became known as the Karl L. King Municipal Band of Fort Dodge to reflect his influence. During his time in Iowa, King continued to contribute to bands around the country by helping found the American Bandmasters Association and by composing music for educational programs, both graded music for developing school band programs and fight songs for American universities.

The Purple Pageant belongs to the college music category. King dedicated the march to Glenn Bainum and his Northwestern University Band. Bainum directed the Northwestern Band in Evanston, Illinois, from 1926, when it was first placed under the supervision of the music school, through World War II and until his death in 1953. He was an innovator in marching band formations and increased membership in the band rapidly from the initial group of seventeen musicians. The title The Purple Pageant evoked the showmanship of Bainum’s band dressed in their purple Northwestern uniforms. The march opens with a flashy fanfare, then gallops along vibrantly with splashes of lyricism in the winds and touches of virtuosity in the brass.

- Program Note from U.S. Marine Band concert program, 2 June 2022

The Purple Pageant, tuneful and buoyant, is easily one of the most famous and recognizable marches composed by King. It was written for his close friend of more than 40 years, Glenn Cliffe Bainum.

Through his service and leadership beginning in 1926, Bainum conducted the concert band, marching band, choirs, and orchestras for 27 years at Northwestern University, paralleled only by men such as A. A. Harding at the University of Illinois and William Revelli at the University of Michigan. After his retirement, Bainum continued to produce many outstanding arrangements and transcriptions which have become staples of the concert band literature. His student, John R. Paynter, succeeded Bainum as director of bands at Northwestern University for more than four decades until his death in 1996. Remarkably, a Paynter student -- Mallory Thompson -- succeeded him at Northwestern, becoming only the third Director of Bands of a university program more than a century old.

-Program note by Rich Paluch for the Wheaton Municipal Band


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Karl L. King Municipal Band (Fort Dodge, Iowa) (Jerrold P. Jimmerson, conductor) - 10 July 2022
  • Parkland College (Champaign, Ill.) Concert Band (Larry Stoner, conductor) - 10 March 2019
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Campus Concert Band (Joe Clark, conductor) – 29 April 2018
  • New England Conservatory (Boston) Symphonic Winds (William Drury, conductor) – 14 November 2017
  • Ventura County (Calif.) Concert Band (Julie Judd, conductor) - 12 April 2015
  • Foothill Symphonic Winds (Palo Alto, Calif.) (David Bruce Adams, conductor) - 8 March 2015
  • Virginia Grand Military Band (Alexandria) (Loras John Schissel, conductor) - 1 November 2014
  • Wheaton (Ill.) Municipal Band (Richard L. Blatti, conductor) – 22 December 2012 (2012 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Coast Guards (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Clark) (1942/2009)

All Wind Works


  • King, K.; Paynter, J. (1982). The Purple Pageant: Concert March [score]. C.L. Barnhouse: Oskaloosa, Iowa.