“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Washington in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Strike Up the Band

Tour of Duty


—Barracks Row Heritage Trail —

Strike Up the Band Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin Vincent, July 9, 2013
1. Strike Up the Band Marker
Inscription. IF YOU ARE HEARING THE RINGING TONES OF BAND MUSIC, one of the ensembles of the world-famous United States Marine Band may be practicing inside the Marine Barracks.

John Philip Sousa, the neighborhood’s most famous son, spent 19 years here. In 1868 Sousa’s Marine Bandsman father persuaded the 13-year- old to apprentice to the Marine Band instead of running away to join a circus band. Twelve years later Sousa was named leader of the Marine Band and was on his way to becoming the “March King,” composer of dozens of stirring marches that remain popular worldwide. During his director-ship (1880-1892), Sousa wrote Washington Post March and Semper Fidelis, among many others, and the band began the extraordinarily popular concert tours that continue to this day. The band’s renown spread even farther after it made one of the earliest phonograph recordings (1889) and helped pioneer live broadcast radio in the early 1920s. In 1931 the NBC radio network began a record-setting 29 years of broadcasting the Marine Band in “The Dream Hour.”

The Marine Band was established by an Act of Congress in 1798 and has played for every president beginning with John Adams. Thomas Jefferson dubbed it “The President’s Own.” During Jefferson’s tenure, the band recruited musicians from Italy, some of whom
Marine Barracks image. Click for full size.
By Kevin Vincent, July 9, 2013
2. Marine Barracks
Looking from the marker across the intersection of 8th and I Streets to the Marine Barracks.
eventually settled in the neighborhood. Italian immigrants contributed music schools, bakeries, and other businesses.

The Marine Band, still stationed at the Barracks, remains the official White House musical ensemble. In 2002 its 140-plus members performed 800 times throughout the nation.
Erected 2004 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 7.)
Location. 38° 52.75′ N, 76° 59.71′ W. Marker is in Washington, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 8th Street, SE and I Street, S.E., on the right when traveling south on 8th Street, SE. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20003, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington Navy Yard: Serving the Fleet (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oldest Post of the Corps (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Neighborhood For Everyone (approx. 0.2 miles away); Washington Navy Yard: Maker of Weapons (approx. 0.2 miles away); Christ Church and Its Parishioners (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Philip Sousa (approx. 0.2 miles away); In the Alley (approx. 0.2 miles away).
Also see . . .  Barracks Row Heritage Trail Tour Guide Booklet
Entrance to Marine Barracks image. Click for full size.
By Kevin Vincent, July 9, 2013
3. Entrance to Marine Barracks
. (Submitted on July 10, 2013, by Kevin Vincent of Arlington, Virginia.)
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicMilitary
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Kevin Vincent of Arlington, Virginia. This page has been viewed 267 times since then and 38 times this year. Last updated on , by Kevin Vincent of Arlington, Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Kevin Vincent of Arlington, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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