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Foshay Tower Washington Memorial

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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (ed. Daniel Dorff)

General Info

Year: 1929 / 1988
Duration: c. 3:15
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Score and Parts - out of print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This obscure march has perhaps the most interesting history of any of Sousa’s compositions. It might well be called his “mystery march,” and it wasnever published during his lifetime.

Sousa and the managers of the band were undecided about making a tour the fall of 1929, but Wilbur B. Foshay of Minneapolis resolved their dilemma by making a lucrative offer for the band’s services over the Labor Day weekend. Foshay was a public utilities magnate and had constructed a unique thirty-two-story building in downtown Minneapolis which came to be known as the Foshay Tower. Because of his fascination with the Washington Monument, Foshay had the building fashioned after it. A gala celebration was planned for the dedication. Governors of all the states and many other dignitaries were invited to Minneapolis at Foshay's expense.

Sousa wanted a new march for such a event but felt there was insufficient time to compose one. So he borrowed one had just written for the College of Industrial Arts in Denton, Texas, and later wrote another one for that institution. The new march was entitled Forshay Tower Washington Memorial and played at each of several concerts held every day at the celebration.

The stock market crash came months later, and Foshay’s financialempire collapsed. In an ensuing investigation it came out that the W. B. Foshay Company had misrepresented its stock and had been guilty of illegal manipulation. In an eventful trial, one of Foshay’s former secretaries managed to seat herself as a juror and caused a hung jury. Later, however, Foshay was convicted of mail fraud and imprisoned.

Sousa did not want his name associated with the Foshay scandal and quietly withdrew his march from the public. He died before Foshay was imprisoned, and his family withheld the march from publication. Meanwhile, Foshay was serving a fifteen-year term in a federal prison. After three years, President Roosevelt commuted his sentence, and he was released on parole. Ten years later, President Truman granted him a complete pardon.

Once out of prison, Foshay copyrighted Sousa’s march and made several attempts to have it published. Sousa had presented him with a copy in 1929, and Foshay had incorrectly reasoned that it was Sousa’s last march. But apparently the Sousa family had informed several publishers of the circumstances, and Foshay was unable to find a publisher willing to go against their wishes.

More than three decades after the Foshay Tower Washington Memorial march had disappeared, Sousa’s daughter Helen discovered the band parts in the archives of the Sands Point estate. Almost coincidentally, there was a movement in Minneapolis to convert the top floor of the Foshay Tower into a museum. The Apache Oil Corporation, new owners of the building, conducted a survey to determine public sentiment concerning Foshay’s past history. The consensus was that Foshay had merely had the misfortune of being caught doing what many other corporation executives had done without detection. Because of this and Foshay’s subsequent record of public service, the public had forgiven him. So the museum was begun.

Representatives of the Apache company explained the situation to Sousa’s daughter Helen, who agreed to permit her father’s march to be played at the opening of the museum. After preparations had begun, however, she changed her mind. The march was not played, other scheduled events were canceled, and the museum was quietly opened in the spring of 1967.

Today the Foshay Tower stands as a landmark in Minneapolis, tribute to Wilbur B. Foshay — and George Washington. In the museum may be found memorabilia attesting to Foshay’s association with the “March King.”

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


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (Jason Gardner, conductor) - 26 March 2023
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Gold Campus Band (Shaun Evans, conductor) – 5 March 2020
  • Corning Community Band (Elmira, N.Y.) (John Stranges, conductor) – 13 June 2019
  • Little Rock (Arkansas) Winds (Israel Getzov, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • New Orleans (La.) Concert Band (Charles Taylor, conductor) – 14 April 2019
  • Texas Woman's University (Denton) University Band (Carter Biggers, conductor) – 1 March 2019
  • Bemidji (Minn.) State University Wind Ensemble (Scott Guidry, conductor) – 11 February 2018
  • U.S. Army Band (Ft. Myer, Va.) (Andrew J. Esch, conductor) – 19 August 2017
  • California State University, Sacramento, Wind Ensemble (Robert Hespeth, conductor) – 9 April 2016
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, University Band (William L. Lake, Jr., conductor) – 18 November 2015
  • Hawley (Minn.) High School Band (Samantha Martel, conductor) - 2014

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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