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Hail to the Spirit of Liberty

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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (ed. Loras John Schissel)

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General Info

Year: 1900 / 2010
Duration: c. 3:20
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts - $75.00   |   Score Only - $12.00


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

It was with great pride that Sousa and his band represented the United States at the Paris Exposition of 1900. This was the first overseas tour of the band, and it was received throughout Europe with enthusiasm. The band displayed the finest American musicianship Europe had seen and helped dispel the notion that the United States was an artistic void.

A statue of George Washington was unveiled on July 2, but the highlight of the Paris engagement was the unveiling of the Lafayette Monument on July 4. It was presented on behalf of the children of the United States by Ferdinand W. Peck, commissioner general of the Paris Exposition, as President Loubet of France looked on. The monument portrayed Lafayette on horseback offering his sword to the American cause in the Revolutionary War and was draped with a huge American flag. At the unveiling the Sousa Band gave the first performance of the march composed specifically for that moment: Hail to the Spirit of Liberty. Immediately after the ceremony, the band made one of its rare appearances in a parade as it marched through the main streets of Paris.

Certain sections of the march evidently were taken from an unidentified earlier operetta and revised, because in 1965 fragments which were probably meant to be discarded were found in a stack of manuscripts at the Sands Point estate. The march was so successful that it is difficult to reconcile a story often told by Sousa’s daughter Priscilla; she said that her father had entered the march in a contest shortly before it was published, and that the contest had been won by an “unknown” composer whose march was promptly forgotten.

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

Materials for the march were from an abandoned choral finale to his then-running opera Chris and the Wonderful Lamp. For his efforts, the French government awarded Sousa the Palmes d’Officier d’Academie, which he wore on his uniform until his death. The present edition was created by Sousa scholar Loras John Schissel and includes Sousa’s never-published low woodwind and saxophone parts as well as Sousa’s “secret” interpretive devices.

- Program Note from Central Winds: A Music Educators Wind Ensemble concert program, 14 December 2016


State Ratings

  • Kansas: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Terry Austin, conductor) - 6 October 2021
  • Central Winds: A Music Educators Wind Ensemble (Syracuse, N.Y.) (Andrew Perry, conductor) - 14 December 2016 (2016 Midwest Clinic)
  • Orange County (Calif.) Wind Symphony (Anthony Mazzaferro, conductor) – 28 February 2016
  • Temple University (Philadelphia, Penn.) Wind Symphony (Timothy J. Holtan, conductor) – 17 February 2016
  • United States Army Band (Timothy J. Holton, conductor) – 23 July 2015
  • Indiana University Summer Concert Band (Stephen W. Pratt, conductor) – 8 July 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Bierley, P. (1973). John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works. University of Illinois Press; Urbana, pp. 49-50.
  • Sousa, J.; Schissel, L. (2010). Hail to the Spirit of Liberty: March [score]. LudwigMasters Pub.: Cleveland, Ohio.