John Philip Sousa was born November 6, 1854 in Washington, D.C. In 1868 he became an apprentice in the U.S. Marine Band. 1880–1892 he directed the group, building it into a virtuoso ensemble. In 1892 he formed his own band and toured internationally. In all, he composed 136 military marches. He also wrote operettas. In the 1890s he worked with J.W. Pepper to develop a type of bass tuba now known as the sousaphone.
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