United States Marine Band
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
On this date in 1947, Mrs. George D. Mann, publisher of the Bismarck Tribune, announced that the newspaper would sponsor two performances in Bismarck by the United States Marine band, “The President’s Own.”
The United States Marine band was established in 1798 by an act of Congress, and today it is “America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization.” John Philip Sousa was perhaps its most famous director. In 1947, the band was taking a western tour of the country, and the Tribune successfully petitioned for the band to stop in Bismarck.
The performances, a matinee aimed more toward youth and an evening concert for the more mature, were set to take place at the World War Memorial building. The Tribune decided that any amount received above the actual cost of the performance would be put back to the community. Through a committee, it was decided to use these extra funds to build a swimming pool in the eastern part of the town.
Because the concert was not for profit, the prices were set low: 25 cents for children in elementary school and junior high, 50 cents for those in high school and junior college; $1 for adults and $1.50 for reserved seats.
“Our objective,” said Mrs. Mann, “is to give residents of this part of the state an opportunity to hear this finest and most famous of all musical organizations in the nation.”
The performance took place midway through the band’s tour. It also stopped in other North Dakota towns, such as Valley City, Devils Lake and Minot.
The newspaper in Akron reported that the band “imports the very essence of America’s glory and greatness.” In Bismarck, 6,000 men, women and children turned out to hear the band, which appeared in full dress uniforms. The band was led by Major William Santelmann, whose father, also William Santelmann, had auditioned for John Philip Sousa and later also directed the band. Santelman said the band was at its best for the performance in Bismarck because the warm applause of the audience encouraged every band member.
Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker
The Bismarck Tribune, October 19, 1947
The Bismarck Tribune, August 28, 1947
The Bismarck Tribune, October 3, 1947
The Bismarck Tribune, October 18, 1947