Site Map

Events

New Exhibitions

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.

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.

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.

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.

Richard E. Brooks: 50 Years of Fine Arts Photography, Illini Union Gallery, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, November 3-28, 2016.

The 50 photographic art prints created by Richard Brooks document not only the extraordinary beauty of Central Illinois’ only National Natural Landmark, the Robert Allerton Park and Estate, and Robert Allerton’s Kauai National Tropical Botanical Garden, but also helped Brooks’ extended photographic career which began as a student of the University of Illinois fifty years ago. The success of his early photographic work enabled him to experiment and develop new lighting techniques that influenced his later work as one of Illinois’ leading advertising and nature photographers who’s works have been exhibited in galleries across the country. This exhibit of photographs taken throughout Brooks’ career highlight the many different artistic directions that he has followed throughout his life to reveal the inner beauty of the subjects that he has so skillfully photographed.  A special opening reception will be held in the Illini Union Gallery at  4:30 pm on November 3rd for people to meet Richard Brooks and learn more about his photographic work.  For further details email StudioR500@aol.com.

Concerts

November 5, 2016

For All Ages Family Programming
Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival
12:00-5:00pm
Independent Media Center
Admission: Free

The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music is again sponsoring a series of free family performances as part of the 2016 Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival.  The performers and special activities include a noontime concert by the Cielito Lindo Family Band, a family dance lead by Neal Schlein and the Thursday Night Lincoln Square Jam music ensemble, a sing along with Cielito Lindo performing a wonderful variety of Mexican and American folk songs, Irish set dancing with Daniel Flora, and English and Scandinavian dance instruction with Jon and Sue Hanson.   All of this programming is free and open to the general public during this year’s wonderful Folk and Roots Festival.  For further information either call 217-333-4577 or visit http://folkandroots.org/.

November  5, 2016

Shout Hallelujah Trombones
Illinois vs Michigan State football game half-time show featuring the Marching Illini, Douglas Yeo and the School of Music trombone studios under the direction of Barry L. Houser
11:00am
Memorial Stadium
Tickets: $27 to $117 (football game and half-time show)

In the 1962 filmed production of Meredith Wilson and Franklin Lacey’s The Music Man, the con man “Professor” Harold Hill explains to his noisy school audience during the show’s first act that he has come to town to organize the River City Boys Band.  He asks his audience if any pool table can hope to ever compete against a gold trombone and then inquires if anyone has ever felt the electric thrill of the music of Gilmore, Pat Conway, Giuseppe Creatore, W. C. Handy and John Philip Sousa all coming to town to play on the same historic day. He then sings “Seventy six trombones lead the big parade with a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.”  Henry Fillmore, every bit the colorful pitchman of  America’s brass band movement as the fictional character Harold Hill, was one of the country’s most respected early twentieth-century composers of unconventional and spirited music written for the trombone and wind band.  Frequently referred to as the father of the trombone smear, Fillmore’s fifteen popular novelty pieces which he later titled the Trombone Family, beginning with “Miss Trombone” (1908) and ending with his “Ham Trombone” (1929) are continually played by bands and trombone sections today for the zany enjoyment of audiences across the country.  Douglas Yeo, retired professor of trombone at Arizona State University and bass trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the students and faculty of the School of Music trombone studios will join the Marching Illini, under the direction of Barry Houser, in a special Dad’s Day musical extravaganza dedicated to the golden sounds and technical wizardry of America’s slide trombone.

December 3, 2016

Chasing the Metamorphic Music and Life of Henry Fillmore
Featuring the University of Illinois Wind Orchestra under the direction of Elizabeth Peterson, Hindsley Symphonic Band under the direction of Barry Houser, and the Fillmore Wind Band under the direction of Jim Daughters
7:30pm
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Foellinger Great Hall
Tickets: $10 / $7 / $4

James Henry Fillmore (1881-1956) was an unconventional trombonist, composer, bandmaster, teacher and publisher who loved circus music, American football, fast cars, and Mike, his music-loving dog.  Henry’s father and uncle owned and operated the Fillmore Brothers Company which was one of the country’s leading publishers of church music and hymnals during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but his love of the life and music of circuses was too strong to consider working for the family business, and he and his new wife, Mabel, joined the Lemon Brothers Circus where he was responsible for playing the trombone and calliope in the circus band.  After leaving the circus life nearly a year later he returned to Cincinnati to join his father’s company to manage the company’s publication of new music for wind bands, much of it his own, and its traditional church music. As Henry’s reputation as a band leader, trombonist, and composer grew, his love of the music, colorful spectacles, and ringmaster attention of the circus were continually reflected in his new music compositions as well as his circus concerts with the Shrine Temple Band that he directed between 1921 and 1926 and his own Fillmore Band for WLW Radio broadcasts which often featured Mike, the “radio hound” between 1927 and 1932.  The Cincinnati, Ohio Fillmore Wind Band will join the University of Illinois’ Wind Orchestra and Hindsley Symphonic Band in a musical extravaganza highlighting the diverse musical personalities of Henry Fillmore and his extraordinary influence on America’s early wind band traditions.  In addition a very unique local canine musician will be joining the bands in a special tribute to the memory of Mike, Henry Fillmore’s radio hound.

Lectures

November 4, 2016

America’s Slide and Valve Trombone: A Historical Discussion of Sackbuts, Posaunen, Slip Horns and Much More! 
Guest lecture and performance demonstration featuring Douglas Yeo
11:30am-12:30pm
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
Admission: Free

The trombone’s developmental lineage which begins with Europe’s late fourteenth-century and early fifthteenth liturgical ensembles is complex because its use by composers and musicians touched many different music genres over the last seven centuries.  While the trombone was regularly used by European operatic and symphonic orchestras during the latter part of the eighteenth century, and military and court wind bands in the early nineteenth century, America’s use of the trombone was integrally linked to the many community and militia bands that began to form in the 1830s with the country’s westward expansion across North America and continued through the end of its Civil War and the Reconstruction Era.  Patrick Gilmore’s and John Philip Sousa’s civilian bands during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries made extensive use of their trombonists as their ensembles performed countless concerts across America and Europe.  Later such exceptional trombonists as Arthur Pryor, Ralph Corey, Kid Ory, and William “Willy” Cornish continued to keep the trombone center stage, and the instruments that they played on and often endorsed were manufactured by such companies as C.G. Conn, Frank Holton, Henry Lehnert, F.E. Olds, C.W. Osgood, and Morceau.  Join Douglas Yeo, retired professor of trombone at Arizona State University and bass trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as he performs on some of the Sousa Archives’ historical trombones and discusses their technological development and use in nineteenth and twentieth-century America orchestras, wind bands, and jazz bands. For further information contact the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at 217-333-4577 or email sousa@illinois.edu.

November 4, 2016

Trombone Masterclass with Douglas Yeo
Guest lecture and hands-on instruction featuring Douglas Yeo
2:30-4:00pm
School of Music Auditorium
Admission:  Free

Former Boston Symphony Orchestra bass trombonist and Arizona State University trombone faculty member, Douglas Yeo, will present a masterclass featuring students from the University of Illinois trombone studios.  He will discuss and demonstrate a variety of techniques and concepts for solo and ensemble performance that will address many of the challenges musicians frequently face when performing in modern symphony orchestras and wind ensembles.  The masterclass is open to all music students from the university and local communities as well as the general public. At the end of masterclass Doug will answer any questions from the audience.  For further information contact the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at 217-333-4577 or email sousa@illinois.edu.

December 2, 2016

The Unconventional Henry Fillmore
Guest lecture featuring Jim Daughters
3:00pm
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
Admission: Free

For a young Henry Fillmore growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio the hustle of the city’s river wharfs and his intrigue with the circuses that passed through town often distracted him from the drudgeries of school work, piano lessons, and the weekly church meetings that he was required to attend. In addition he was a practical joker who frequently sought out new excitement at the good-natured expense of friends, family, and the occasional minister who came to his home for dinner which at times caused serious consternation from his strict church-going family. However, Henry’s eventual attendance at Ohio’s Miami Military Institute starting in 1898 provided him with a strict military regime that enabled him to focus on his academic studies and gave him plenty of opportunities to practice his trombone, compose new music, and play football.  After his short tenure as a musician with the Lemon Brothers Circus in 1905, Henry returned to Cincinnati with his new wife, a vaudeville “hoochie-coochie” dancer from St. Louis, to begin working for his father’s Fillmore Brothers music company.  This traditional line of work was much more acceptable to his parents and it also enable Henry to publish his new music compositions for brass bands under his and several other pseudonyms as well as manage the company’s new non-church music publishing operation.  As his skill as a performer, composer and conductor improved over time while leading the Shrine Temple Band for circus performances between 1921 and 1926, and later with his own Fillmore Band for WLW radio broadcasts with his radio-hound dog, Mike, between 1927 and 1932, Henry’s reputation and influence as one of America’s leading wind band directors was felt across the country.  Join Jim Daughters, Fillmore scholar and artistic director of the Fillmore Wind Band, as he walks his audience through the unconventional life, music, and performance practice of James Henry Fillmore (1881-1956).  For further information contact the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at 217-333-4577 or email sousa@illinois.edu.