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Exhibits

Currently at Sousa

Henry Fillmore: The Man Behind the Name, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, October 31, 2016 – September 29, 2017.  NEW

Henry Fillmore (1881-1956) was an unconventional trombonist, composer, and bandmaster who loved circus music, American football, and his music-loving dog.  The hustle of Cincinnati’s river wharfs, and his and Uncle Fred’s love of the many circuses that passed through town often distracted the young Henry from the drudgeries of school, piano lessons, and the weekly trips to church.  The trombone fascinated him the most because it always led the circus’ bands, but his formal trombone lessons were short-lived and his unruly teenage humor continued to embarrass his family.  Returning to Cincinnati homesick after running away with the John Robinson’s 10 Big Shows Circus, Henry’s father agreed to send him to the Miami Military Institute to complete his education.  After graduating from the Institute in 1902 he was given a position in his father’s church hymnal company, but wasn’t happy unless he was playing his trombone.  In 1904 Henry fell in love with Mabel May Jones, an exotic vaudeville dancer he saw performing at the St. Louis World Exposition during the family’s summer vacation and he eventually married her much to his parents’ disdain.  To escape family tensions the couple joined the Lemon Brothers Circus where Henry was responsible for playing the trombone and calliope, and leading the circus band. Eventually the newlyweds returned to Cincinnati in 1905 and Henry rejoined his father’s publishing company as the manager of its new bands department and the Fillmore music instrument store.   As Henry’s reputation as a band leader, trombonist, and composer continued to grow over the next thirty years, his love of the music, colorful spectacles, and ringmaster attention of the circus were continually reflected in his new compositions and performances as director of the Shrine Temple Band between 1921 and 1926, and later with his own Fillmore Band for Cincinnati’s WSAI Radio Station’s coast-to-coast broadcasts between 1927 and 1930 which featured his musical four-legged friend, Mike, the “radio hound.” This exhibit explores through photographs, original music, and sound recordings the life of Henry Fillmore and his love affair with the slide trombone.

From Nickeline to Electric Oil: Early Marketing and Design Revelations for America’s Trombone, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, September 26, 2016 – July 21, 2017.

Arthur Pryor, Ralph Corey, Kid Ory, and William “Willy” Cornish were exceptional trombone soloists at the turn of the twentieth century who brought the trombone center stage from the back seats of America’s concert and jazz bands.  The instruments that these leading trombonists played on and often endorsed during this time were manufactured by such companies as C.G. Conn, Frank Holton, Henry Lehnert, F.E. Olds, C.W. Osgood, and Morceau.  Each company’s latest innovation for their instruments’ new metallurgical enhancements, slide oils, water keys, mouthpiece designs, and finishes were celebrated through newspaper advertisements in music magazines, company display shops at most the country’s World Exposition Fairs, and live performances by the musicians and bands that utilized these instruments.  The collaborative interaction between manufacturer and performer not only led the way for new trombone designs but also helped promote the trombone as America’s most popular instrument of the brass family.  Through historical advertisements, photographs, sheet music, and music instruments from the Sousa Archives’ trombone collection, this exhibit will explore changes in American trombone design and manufacture between 1890 and 1925 to illustrate how these technological and performance enhancements to the trombone were jointly shaped by the country’s leading trombonists and the music instrument companies that continually sought the endorsements of these musicians to help market their professional and student model trombones across America.

Stage Center Slides!  Stories of Sousa’s Spectacular Trombonists, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, July 29, 2016 – June 16, 2017.

After the Sousa Band trombone section’s performance to record crowds during Chicago’s Columbian World’s Exhibition in 1893, Sousa’s exceptional trombonists Arthur Pryor, Marcus Lyons, and Edward Williams established a new showmanship standard for playing trombone solos that was emulated by many concert bands throughout America. After Pryor left Sousa’s band as its trombone soloist and assistant conductor in 1903 to take over and reorganize his father’s Pryor Band, Leopold Zimmerman became Sousa’s solo trombonist. Zimmerman’s talented student, Ralph Corey, joined the Sousa Band the following year and in 1908 became the band’s principal trombonist, a position he held until 1920.  Each of these world-class trombonists and the many other trombonists who played in the Sousa Band between 1893 and 1931 helped shape the unique performance role of today’s trombone in American wind ensembles.  Through historical photographs, concert programs, and music this exhibit explores the different stories and musical contributions made by Arthur Pryor, Leopold Zimmerman, Ralph Corey, Frank Holton, Manuel Yingling, Edward Williams, and Marcus Lyons who both influenced America’s trombone performance practice and played for the John Philip Sousa’s exceptional band.

James Beauchamp and the Harmonic Tone Generator, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, September 22, 2015 – December 31, 2017.

James W. Beauchamp earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan in 1960 and 1961, and in 1965 he graduated from the University of Illinois with a PhD in electrical engineering. While a student at Illinois he worked closely with his mentor and composition professor Lejaren Hiller, and created one of America’s first voltage-controlled electronic music synthesizers called the Harmonic Tone Generator (HTG). The HTG was used in several different electronic music projects produced at the University of Illinois during the 1960s and 70s including Salvatore Martirano’s Underworld.  After graduating from Illinois he joined their electrical engineering faculty, and by 1969 had earned a joint appointment in the electrical engineering and music departments.  Between 1969 and 1973 Beauchamp served as director of the School of Music’s Experimental Music Studios (EMS), and as director of the Computer Music Project (CMP) between 1984 and 1993.  In the fall of 1993 Beauchamp and Sever Tipei became co-managers of CMP.  This exhibit documents through photographs, stories, scientific reports, and audio recordings the early development of the HTG at the University of Illinois.

The Red Cross: A Soldier’s Best Friend, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, February 11, 2015 – December 15, 2016. 

Clara Barton, who earned recognition as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for her humanitarian service during America’s Civil War, founded the American Red Cross in May 1881 as an associate relief organization of the International Committee of the Red Cross Organization.  However, unlike its international associate, the American Red Cross devoted most of its early service efforts to provide relief for those individuals from the United States affected by natural disasters, such as the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.  During America’s involvement in WWI, both the International and American Red Cross played a major role in arranging transportation of volunteers to the Western Front to aid soldiers injured during battle; and in 1917, the Red Cross received the only Nobel Peace Prize awarded between 1914 and 1918.  The American public lauded these volunteers for their devotion to the troops, and many of America’s popular songs were written to honor the men and women of the Red Cross.  This small exhibition of sheet music cover art graphically illustrates America’s diverse portrayals of the Red Cross volunteer during the Great War.