Topic: John Philip Sousa

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John Philip Sousa (November 6, 1854 – March 6, 1932) was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era known particularly for American military and patriotic marches. Because of his mastery of march composition and resultant prominence, he is known as "The March King". In public he was typically referenced by his full name.

Sousa was born in Washington, D.C., on November 6, 1854 to John António de Sousa and Maria Elisabeth Trinkhaus. His parents were of Portuguese, Spanish and Bavarian (German) descent; his grandparents were Portuguese refugees. Sousa started his music education, playing the violin, as a pupil of John Esputa and G. F. Benkert for harmony and musical composition at the age of six. He was found to have absolute pitch. When Sousa reached the age of 13, his father, a trombonist in the Marine Band, enlisted his son in the United States Marine Corps as an apprentice to keep the boy from joining a circus band. Sousa served his apprenticeship for seven years, until 1875, and apparently learned to play all the wind instruments while honing his mettle with the violin.

On December 30, 1879, he married Jane van Middlesworth Bellis. They had three children: John Philip Sousa, Jr (April 1, 1881 - May 18, 1937), Jane Priscilla (August 7, 1882 - October 28, 1958), and Helen (January 21, 1887 - October 14, 1975). All three are buried in the John Philip Sousa plot in the Congressional cemetery. Jane joined the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1907.

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "John Philip Sousa."