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Manhattan Beach March (ed Fennell)

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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (ed. Frederick Fennell)

General Info

Year: 1893 / 1980
Duration: c. 2:25
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $55.00   |   Score Only (print) - $5.50


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III-IV
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
  • Field Drum


The dynamics of the last strain progress from ff to pp to ff. The original Sousa version shows dynamics of pp to ff to pp. This is an editorial decision, not an error.

Program Notes

Following in the footsteps of Patrick Gilmore, Sousa became a popular figure in Manhattan Beach, the famous New York summer resort. One of his most lavish medals was presented to him in 1894 by the proprietor, Austin Corbin, and other shareholders. The previous season, Sousa had dedicated the march to Corbin, and one of his manuscripts is inscribed to him.

Sousa once told a reporter that the march had been derived from an earlier composition, probably The Phoenix March (1875): "I wrote Manhattan Beach while playing a summer engagement at that once-popular resort, using as the basis an old march I had composed when I was with Milton Nobles."

Manhattan Beach became a staple of bands all over the world, but the Sousa Band performed it differently by playing the trio and last section as a short descriptive piece. In this interpretation, soft clarinet arpeggios suggest the rolling ocean waves as one strolls along the beach. A band is heard in the distance. It grows louder and then fades away as the stroller continues along the beach.

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

During Sousa's lifetime, Manhattan Beach was a highly fashionable New York summer resort, and in 1893 he and his band began a long series of engagements there. With 19 former members of Gilmore's Band, a dozen or so very capable players from Europe, and some of the most outstanding artists from other bands in his group, Sousa knew the musical and entertainment potential of his band. However, his first business manager, David Blakely, was skeptical, and it was at the first Manhattan Beach concert series that he invited the most prominent critics and musicians in New York to hear the band and offer their criticism. Their comments were so flattering that Blakely was convinced that Sousa was correct in his judgment. Sousa composed Manhattan Beach March during that first summer and added many operettas and other major works during subsequent summers at the resort.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

When Sousa was leader of the Marine Band, he had begun the practice at important engagements of frequently leaving behind a token of his highest esteem -- a march commemorating the occasion. This march was from The Sousa Band’s July-August visit to Manhattan Beach in 1893. The park has long been gone but the spirit of what must have been quite a place lives on in this really marvelous -- almost frugal -- essay in the march form. Manhattan Beach is a mere 68 bars long without repeats. Lean and driving, it is almost brash, even for Sousa.

- Program Note by Frederick Fennell


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Kennesaw (Ga. ) State University University Band (Hannah Rudy, conductor) - 15 November 2021
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Scatterday, conductor) – 18 September 2019
  • Encore Concert Band (Mokena, Ill.) (Glenn Ruklic, conductor) - 5 May 2019
  • Illinois Valley Community College (Oglesby, Ill.) Wind Ensemble (Gene Montgomery, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • Kell High School (Marietta, Ga.) Wind Ensemble (Alfred Watkins, conductor) - 20 December 2017 (2017 Midwest Clinic)
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Symphony Band (Caroline Hand, conductor) – 30 September 2016
  • Foothill Symphonic Winds (Palo Alto, Calif.) (David Bruce Adams, conductor) – 6 December 2015
  • Grand Ledge High School (Mich.) Wind Symphony (Benjamin Walukonis, conductor) – 2 March 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Bierley, P. (1973). John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works. Univ. of Illinois Press: Urbana, Ill., p. 58.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 554.
  • Sousa, J.; Fennell, F. Manhattan Beach: March [score]. John Church: Bryn Mawr, Penn.