and the

Wind Band

An American Story

You've heard of Go, Cubs, Go!, but have you heard of Cubs On Parade? Before the billy goat, and long before Bill Murray, there was an anthem sung to celebrate the Chicago Cubs dynasty of the early 1900s that has been long since forgotten... until now.

The intertwining story of the American wind band and baseball fandom at the turn of the twentieth century, and the dawn of the World Series.

You may know of John Philip Sousa as "The March King," but did you know that he also considered himself the king of the pitching mound?

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Additional Baseball Writing

April 17, 2017

After receiving a text message from a close friend and conductor colleague (as well as baseball fanatic and epic-stadium-tour compatriot, H/T: Dave Day), I was inspired to catalog my "collection" of baseball stadiums. Having grown up a Red Sox fan, and then since lived in two Major League cities, I have a special place in my heart for a few specific cathedrals of the sport, but have had the opport...

February 1, 2017

John Philip Sousa, the American "March King," was also a baseball fanatic, often taking the mound to pitch against local ballplayers, bandsmen, or both. 

The entire post can be read here.

February 1, 2017

Baseball at the turn of the twentieth century featured a wide variety of characters, both on and off the field, that shaped the game for many years to come. Fanatical "rooters" often added so much color to the experience that they helped to sway the outcome of games via their loud, boisterous chants. In many major league cities, local bands were organized or hired in order to amplify the rooters'...

February 1, 2017

As part of a Masters Thesis dissertation project at the University of Illinois, I undertook a historical investigation, and eventual re-scoring, of H. R. Hempel's Cubs on Parade March and Two-Step, a long-forgotten march celebrating the 1907 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. This project culminated in the first performance of the march in many years, with the University of Illinois Wind Orchestr...

December 9, 2016

Cubs on Parade (1907)

H. R. Hempel (1872-1925), arranged Joseph Techen (1907), transcribed by Brian Coffill (2015)

Born in Germany to a family of industrialists, the young Hans Hempel immigrated to the United States at the age of twenty, traveling through New York’s Ellis Island in 1892. While his father owned a factory, Hempel’s cousin was the celebrated soprano Frieda Hempel, internationally known...

December 6, 2016

The band program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has long been associated with performances at athletic events, dating back many years before the creation of separate bands for concert and marching purposes. There are records of the band performing at numerous festive university occasions including parades, convocations, battalion exhibitions, and gymnasium/calisthenic class demo...

November 22, 2016

While in the preliminary phases of research on my Masters Thesis, I came upon an article in the New York Times that discussed the baseball fandom of noted American Composer and Pulitzer-Prize winning composer John Luther Adams. This obsessive New York Mets fan keeps score (noting the pun) each game he attends.

New York Times: "A Composer’s Other Book - With Composer’s Mind-Set, John Luther Adams Ob...

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“Base ball is our game, the American game.”

– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass


“The ability of the band to fluently embrace America’s vernacular and cultivated traditions is a unique phenomenon in its existence from the eighteenth century to the present day.”

– Richard K. Hansen, The American Wind Band: A Cultural History

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© 2019 Brian Coffill