This work is also known as The Washington March and The President's March.
Year: 1789 /
Duration: c. 1:40
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: U.S. Marine Band
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown
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None discovered thus far.
The late 1790s were a period of political turmoil for the United States. As fierce divisions were raging in the national capital of Philadelphia, well-known singer Gilbert Fox was preparing a musical program in 1798 at one of the city’s finest theaters. Fox was warned not to sing any song that would inflame the political tension. French and English tunes were off the table, due to the ongoing war between the countries, and the young United States had yet to develop its own musical identity. Fox turned to his friend Joseph Hopkinson to pen lyrics to a new song as a patriotic peace offering. Following common practice, Hopkinson’s words were paired with a pre-existing tune: a melody by German-American composer Philip Phile, that was associated with George Washington.
The new song was a success and earned accolades of politicians from both parties after its première, including praise from President John Adams. The song spread through the capital like wildfire and became one the young country’s most popular patriotic songs. The song was first played by the Marine Band at President James Monroe’s inauguration on March 5, 1821. In the twentieth century, Hail, Columbia was a leading contender in the search for a national anthem. While The Star-Spangled Banner won out as the national anthem, Hail, Columbia became the official musical honors for the vice president. It has been performed for the vice president in every inaugural ceremony since 1973.
- Program Note from U.S. Marine Band concert program, 30 April 2023
Hail, Columbia is an American patriotic song. It was considered, with several other songs, one of the unofficial national anthems of the United States until 1931, when The Star-Spangled Banner was officially named the national anthem. Columbia is a poetic name for the United States in use during the 18th century.
The anthem was composed by Philip Phile in 1789 for the first inauguration of George Washington, titled The President's March, arranged with lyrics by Joseph Hopkinson in 1798. It is also known as The Washington March. It was used in the United States as a de facto national anthem for most of the 19th century, but lost popularity after World War I when it was replaced by The Star-Spangled Banner in 1931.
It was the anthem for the President until it was replaced by the song Hail to the Chief. It is now the official vice presidential anthem. When played in honor of the Vice President, the song is always preceded by four ruffles and flourishes. In addition, the song has been used as a slow march during military ceremonies, often while the band counter-marches.
-Program Note from Wikipedia
- Audio CD: U.S. Marine Band - 2015
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (John R. Bourgeois, conductor) – 30 April 2023
- United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) – 20 January 2021 (Presidential Inauguration)
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Three Washington Marches (arr. Fulton)
- Hail, Columbia (arr. Kinyon) (1789/1975)
- Hail, Columbia (arr. Knox) (1789/)
- Hail Columbia, Wikipedia Accessed 18 January 2021
- Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Philip Phile." Accessed 30 November 2014