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Washington Post, The

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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (arr. Frederick Fennell)

General Info

Year: 1889 / 1982
Duration: c. 2:25
Difficulty: III/ IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $70.00   |   Score Only - $15.00


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Field Drum
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This march was written in 1889 to help promote an essay contest sponsored by the newspaper of the same name. With Sousa conducting, it was premiered by the U.S. Marine Band during the distribution of the essay prizes on the Smithsonian Museum grounds in Washington, D.C. The 6/8 march happened to be appropriate for a new dance called the two-step and soon became the most popular tune in both America and Europe. Although he received only $25 for its publication, Sousa was quickly inundated with requests for more marches. Of his 136 marches, The Washington Post and The Stars and Stripes Forever have been the most widely known. With a (2012) circulation of 719,000 (on Sunday), The Washington Post newspaper is also still well known.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

During the 1880s, several Washington, D.C., newspapers competed vigorously for public favor. One of these, the Washington Post, organized what was known as the Washington Post Amateur Authors’ Association and sponsored an essay contest for school children. Frank Hatton and Beriah Wilkins, owners of the newspaper, asked Sousa, then leader of the Marine Band, to compose a march for the award ceremony. The ceremony was held on the Smithsonian grounds on June 15, 1889. President Harrison and other dignitaries were among the huge crowd. When the new march was played by Sousa and the Marine Band, it was enthusiastically received, and within days it became exceptionally popular in Washington.

The march happened to be admirably suited to the two-step dance, which was just being introduced. A dancemasters’ organization adopted it at their yearly convention, and soon the march was vaulted into international fame. The two-step gradually replaced the waltz as a popular dance, and variations of the basic two-step ensured the march’s popularity all through the 1890s and into the twentieth century. Sousa’s march became identified with the two-step, and it was as famous abroad as it was in the United States. In some European countries, all two-steps were “Washington Posts.” Pirated editions of the music appeared in many foreign countries. In Britain, for example, it was such names as No Surrender and 'Washington Greys.

Next to The Stars and Stripes, The Washington Post has been Sousa's most widely known march. He delighted in telling how he had heard it in so many different countries, played in so many ways -- and often accredited to native composers. It was a standard at Sousa Band performances and was often openly demanded when not scheduled for a program. It was painful for Sousa to relate that, like Semper Fidelis and other marches of that period, he received only $35 for it, while the publisher made a fortune. Of that sum, $25 was for a piano arrangement, $5 a band arrangement, and $5 for an orchestra arrangement.

Today, at a community room in Washington, a spotlight illuminates a life-size color portrait of the black-bearded Sousa, resplendent in his scarlet Marine Band uniform. This is the John Philip Sousa Community Room in the Washington Post Building. It is the newspaper’s tribute to the man who first gave it worldwide fame.

- 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

  • University of Tennessee (Knoxville) Concert Band (Fuller Lyon, conductor) - 21 April 2022
  • East Texas Baptist University (Marshall) Symphonic Band (Nathan G. Phillips, conductor) - 3 March 2022
  • Coastal Communities Concert Band (San Diego, Calif.) (Tom Cole, conductor) – 23 May 2021
  • Illinois Valley Central High School (Chillicothe) Wind Ensemble (Matthew J. Chapman, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • Seattle Pacific University Wind Ensemble (Danny Helseth, conductor) - 24 February 2017
  • California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, Wind Ensemble (Rickey Padua, conductor) – 30 November 2016
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Symphonic Band (Nipat Kanchanahud, conductor) - 30 April 2015
  • Cesar Chavez (Stockton, Calif.) Titan Symphonic Band (Dennis Turner, conductor) - 21 March 2015 (2015 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • San Jose Wind Symphony (Edward C. Harris, conductor) - 26 October 2014
  • United States Navy Band (Captain Brian O. Walden, conductor) - February 2013 West Coast Tour
  • Three Oaks Senior High (Summerside, PEI) Grade 11-12 Senior Concert Band (Krista Caruthers, Conductor) - May 2011
  • Shaker Heights High School Concert Band/Ensemble/Winds (Jason Clemens, conductor) - 3 May 2011
  • Three Oaks Senior High (Summerside, PEI) Grade 10-12 Concert Band (David Voye, Conductor) - May 1996

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. 78.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 556.