top of page

"Cubs On Parade" 2015 Performance Program Note

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 for her operatic and concert careers in both Europe and the United States. Hans Hempel eventually settled amidst the large German immigrant population in northwest Chicago, Illinois, marrying the American-born daughter of a German immigrant, Clara, and the couple had two children. Though he continued his musical endeavors, Hempel is listed on a patent for a washing basin (proto-washing machine) attachment in Chicago in 1907, the same year he wrote his only credited work, Cubs on Parade.

Cubs on Parade is a two-step march written in 1907 and published in 1908 to commemorate and capitalize on the success of what was, at the time, the dominant team in the National League, the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs won the 1906 National League Pennant, with the best baseball record of all time, losing to the Chicago White Sox in the very first “subway World Series.” They went on to win the 1907 and 1908 World Series, but, for a variety of reasons, have not since. Cubs on Parade became an anthem for the Cubs teams in the early years of the twentieth century, with the title even working its way into modern baseball parlance. Originally written as a piano score, it was arranged for orchestra by Joseph Techen, another member of Chicago’s German immigrant community, and published by the Chicago firm of Thomas F. Deuther. The score includes various references to events within a baseball game, beginning with a gong, struck three times by the umpire, right before he yells, “Play ball!” (While this may seem strange to modern fans, the practice was the norm in the early years of the twentieth century). It was, in fact, the baseball notation within the musical parts that attracted Masters Conducting Candidate Brian Coffill to modernize the parts and transcribe them for band as a portion of his masters thesis. If the new arrangement of Cubs on Parade has the same success as its original version (the Cubs won the World Series in 1908, the year after the original publication of the march), Coffill plans to claim at least a small portion of the credit.*

*Editor's note:

- Cubs On Parade was written by H. R. Hempel in 1907, and the Cubs won the 1908 World Series.

- Cubs On Parade was re-scored and performed by Brian Coffill in 2015, and the Cubs won the 2016 World Series.

bottom of page