W A Barrington-Sargent

From Wind Repertory Project


William Alonzo Barrington-Sargent, Jr. (19 December 1860, Irasburg, Vermont – 16 December 1949, Boston) was an American composer, conductor and cornetist.

Barrington-Sargent was educated at Albany Academy in Albany, Vermont, where he played cornet in the band and sang in the choir. In his early youth, he had many memorable experiences. Once he was with an Uncle Tom's Cabin show that was stranded in St. Louis. He persuaded the captain of a Mississippi River boat to allow him to play on the deck for the entertainment of the passengers, thus earning his passage to New Orleans. There he played on the streets, passing his hat until collecting enough for the fare back home to Vermont.

While still a youth, he was a minstrel band leader, traveling with such shows as Hi Henry, Whittmore and Clark, the Hennessey Brothers, and the Guy Brothers. He was often called upon to act as interlocutor in addition to his duties as band leader, composer, and arranger of the musical numbers.

Barrington-Sargent became bandmaster of the Rutland City Band in 1904, leaving in 1906 to become the leader of the 9th Regiment Band, the James Coughlin 101st Regiment, and the Commonwealth Federal Bands. His bands appeared at many of the Boston Braves [baseball] home games, as well as at several Worlds Series games. He served as president of the Peoples Symphony Orchestra and the New England Conference of Musicians. He was also vice-president of the Boston Musicians Protective Association.

A highlight of his musical career took place April 22, 1928, when he composed and conducted the music for a band of 400 musicians at a pageant that depicted the evolution of the brass band. The show drew 3, 500 people to the Mechanics Building in Boston.

Barrington-Sargent was a personal friend of President Calvin Coolidge, and as a hobby he raised and exhibited champion collie dogs. He composed many marches, the most famous of which are Hobo Reel, Slippery Ike, and Swanky Pete.

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