Roland Forrest Seitz (14 June 1867, Shrewsbury Township, Penn. – 29 December 1946, Union, N.J.) was an American composer and conductor.
Seitz was the youngest of the eight children of William and Magdalena (Ziegler) Seitz. Beginning in Fissel’s School, a one-room building in nearby Glen Rock, he received his early education in the public schools of York County. Although he was interested in studying music as a profession, he became a printer’s apprentice with the Glen Rock Item, a weekly newspaper, when he was a teenager — his father had died when he was three, and it was necessary that he help with the family income. Fortunately, his early interest in music was encouraged by several of his relatives, including Seitz’s older cousin, Levi Z. Seitz, who obtained a flute for Roland and invited him to join the family “band.” The other instruments in this unorthodox ensemble consisted of a trombone, some violins, and an organ. Soon another violin and a cornet were added and the group worked its way through Squire’s Album Number One for Beginners, playing marches, waltzes, medleys, serenades, quadrilles, and schottisches. After a time Roland joined the Glen Rock Band, first as a euphonium player and later as a cornetist. The band had been rejuvenated after the Civil War by another older cousin, Nathaniel Z, Seitz, and was gradually improving.
Although Roland Seitz was reportedly a conscientious and capable printer, he still hoped for a career in music, and by saving every possible penny until he was 27 years of age, he finally succeeded in enrolling at Dana’s Musical Institute in Warren, Ohio (now part of Youngstown University). He took his education seriously and by sacrificing all luxuries (and occasionally food), he graduated in 1898. He then returned to Glen Rock where he taught private wind and percussion lessons, played in the Glen Rock Band, and later became a successful leader of that group. Under his direction the band made remarkable progress, and in 1901 it was selected to perform at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, along with many of the best-known bands in the nation, including Sousa’s. Seitz also played the pipe organ at Zion Lutheran Church in Glen Rock, traveled on concert tours, and opened his own publishing business. In addition to his own music, his catalogue eventually included marches by a number of composers, including W. Paris Chambers, C. E. Duble, F. H. Losey, H. J. Crosby, George Rosenkrans, and Charles Sanglear. The firm was purchased by Southern Music Co. of San Antonio, Texas, in 1964.
Seitz was awarded honorary degrees by Dana’s Musical Institute in 1903 and 1924. He was a member of two local music associations as well as the Independent Order of Red Men and the Republican Party. Ten years after his death in 1946, in Union, New Jersey, a monument to his memory was erected in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania.
Roland Seitz composed a number of concert works for band, but, beginning with Encomium in 1889, he became best known for his stirring and melodic marches -- he became known as the Parade Music Prince -- about 50 of which were published and six unpublished. Many were written for special people, groups, or places. Of 44 Seitz marches recorded by bands from West Virginia Tech, Southport High School, U.S. Military Academy, Memphis State University, and Junior Guards School of Music for the Heritage of the March Series, the following are among the most popular: Brooke’s Chicago Marine Band; Brooke’s Triumphal; Easy Street; Enterprise; Friendship; March Grandioso; March of the Marines; Our Defenders; Par Excellent; Port Arthur; Radio Pioneer; Salutation; Spring Garden; Talisman; Third Brigade; Triumphal; Trombone Hustler; and University of Pennsylvania.
Works for Winds
- Acorn Club March (1901)
- Brooke's Chicago Marine Band March (1901/1957)
- Encomium (1889)
- March Grandioso (1901)
- March Grandioso (arr. Reed) (1901/1969)
- March Grandioso (arr. Smith) (1901/2007)
- March Grandioso (arr. Glover) (1901/2001)
- Port Arthur (arr. Rhea) (1904/2006)
- The Trombone Hustler March (1899)
- University of Pennsylvania Band March (1900)
- Roland F. Seitz, Wikipedia Accessed 3 February 2021
- Smith, Norman E. (1986). March Music Notes. Lake Charles, La.: Program Note Press, pp. 374-375.