While conductor of the Marine Band, which plays at all the state functions given by the President at the Executive Mansion, I saw much of the social life of the White House and was brought into more or less direct contact with all the executives under whom I had the honor of successively serving--Presidents Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland and Harrison.
They were all very appreciative of music, and in this respect were quite unlike General Grant, of whom it is said that he knew only two tunes, one of which was "Yankee Doodle" and the other wasn't!
The President's Embarrassing Demand.
I think I may say that more than one President, relieved from the onerous duties of a great reception, has found rest by sitting quietly in the corner of a convenient room and listening to the music.
Once, on the occasion of a state dinner, President Arthur came to the door of the main lobby of the White House, where the Marine Band was always stationed, and beckoning me to his side asked me to play the "Cachuca." When I explained that we did not have the music with us but would be
If you are a bandmaster and you think you've had a bad day, you need this short book to show you just how bad it can get.
As official bandmaster to the President of the United States, Sousa recalls his own nightmares on the bandstand. There's the new president who doesn't like music, the visiting diplomat who's anthem is suddenly vanished from the bandbook, or the night only he and the bass drum turned out for the gig, the night the fireworks caught fire, and the first night they, the Union's Marine Band, was to play for the Confederate South.
There's not much structure to the book; they didn't care much about that sort of thing back then, Sousa just flits ad hoc from anecdote to anecdote like you're sitting in a pub with John Philip himself when he says, "Did I ever tell you about the time ..."