What is the John Philip Sousa Award for band students?

Q: What is the John Philip Sousa Award for band students?

A: The John Philip Sousa Award is an optional award a high school band director may award to one of his students. It is restricted to one per school per year (or two in the rare event of a tie). The award recognizes superior musicianship, dependability, loyalty, and cooperation. Band directors may order the award from The Instrumentalist magazine (200 Northfield, Northfield, IL 60093 ... phone 847-446-8550 or visit their website).

The Semper Fidelis Award may also be awarded to high school band students. Band directors that wish to nominate a student (a junior or senior who holds a "first chair" position) should contact the local U.S. Marine recruiter serving their high school. (Thanks to Sgt. Michael J. Bess for this information!)

John Philip Sousa award
  • Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Comments (70)

  • Chelbi Copes

    Chelbi Copes

    27 December 2012 at 18:19 |
    I'm a proud Sousa award winner AND was involved in one of the rare ties!
    • Jenn


      26 June 2014 at 18:49 |
      As was I for both the award and the tie
      • Katrina


        30 May 2016 at 17:51 |
        My son just won the jps award tonight in a rare tie he is a junior at bath county high school in virginia we are so proud of him he is a excellent trumpet player!
    • Carolyn Andrews

      Carolyn Andrews

      03 January 2017 at 15:02 |
      At Marion High School, Marion, NC in the year 1965, the John Phillip Sousa Award was presented to two outstanding clarinet musicians, Ralphia Webb and Bill Eckerd. Band director at the time, Louis V. Bean and Assistant director Ralph K. Ostrum.
  • J.C. short

    J.C. short

    07 May 2013 at 19:50 |
    I just recieved the Louis Armstrong award and the John phillip souse award tonight it is really an honor to recieve it. And im a senior by the way
  • Devin McAreavy

    Devin McAreavy

    24 May 2013 at 18:59 |
    I received the John Philip Sousa award at my high school. I was very honored.
  • Andrea Bangolan

    Andrea Bangolan

    31 May 2013 at 15:56 |
    I received this award tonight from my high school band director and as a senior, drum major and euphonium player I cannot be more proud! Congratulations to all the winners this year!
  • Ladybug Crossing

    Ladybug Crossing

    07 June 2013 at 11:26 |
    My daughter received both the Semper Fidelis and the John Philip Sousa Award this year. We are so incredibly proud of her!
  • William Davis

    William Davis

    19 September 2013 at 10:24 |
    Im a proud recipient of the JPS Award from Moore, OK High School, 1988.
  • Bobby Bean

    Bobby Bean

    12 October 2013 at 17:34 |
    Received the JPS Award and was very honored.
    Okolona High School 1985-1986
    Okolona, Mississippi
  • Michael Wilson

    Michael Wilson

    23 October 2013 at 19:03 |
    I am a recipient that was involved in a tie for this award.
  • David Pelton

    David Pelton

    09 April 2014 at 17:52 |
    Proud that I was a 1980 (yes, 1980) winner of the JPS Award.
  • Aubrey DeBraal

    Aubrey DeBraal

    01 May 2014 at 19:25 |
    I am proud to receive this award tonight at my school's awards night
  • Kim Bennett

    Kim Bennett

    07 May 2014 at 14:36 |
    I received this award in 1976 from Suwannee High School in Live Oak, Fla...I was very honored..Did not expect it since I was a Drummer...Thrilled Award still sits out even after 40 years!
    Kim Richardson Bennett
  • Susan Newell

    Susan Newell

    11 May 2014 at 09:19 |
    My son, Will - tubist, is the proud recipient of a JPS Band Award, involved in one of the rare two way ties, on Sat. May 10, 2014 @ Mountain Ridge H.S., Glendale, AZ. Both seniors most definitely deserved this honour. And, btw, my own older brother, Jim - trumpeter, received this honour back in May 1975 from Cortez H.S. in Phoenix, AZ. Our families are so proud! Thank you.
  • Luci Sloan

    Luci Sloan

    12 May 2014 at 07:34 |
    My son, Eric, an alto and soprano sax player, received the JPS Band Award on Saturday, May 10, 2014 @ Shenandoah Valley Academy High School in New Market, VA. Our family are very proud of his accomplishments!!!!!
    Thank You.
  • Angel Perez

    Angel Perez

    16 May 2014 at 12:36 |
    Iam proud of my lil. Girl Melany E. Perez for Her achivment
  • David Greer

    David Greer

    17 May 2014 at 20:57 |
    My daughter, who is a percussionist and a senior, just received the JPS award tonight from her band director Brock Cobb from Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. Her mother and I are so very proud of her musical accomplishments. She is Memphis Tiger bound.
  • David Greer

    David Greer

    17 May 2014 at 21:00 |
    My daughter, who is a percussionist and a senior, just received the JPS award tonight from her band director Brock Cobb from Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. Her mother and I are so very proud of her musical accomplishments. She is Memphis Tiger bound. Class of 2014!
  • Freda Pierce

    Freda Pierce

    20 May 2014 at 09:16 |
    My nephew, Sean Williams just won the John Philip Sousa Award. We are all so proud of him. He graduated from Ada High School, Ada, OK and has been given full ride Band Scholarship to East Central University, Ada, Ok
  • keenan turner

    keenan turner

    20 May 2014 at 21:34 |
    How is the John Phillip Sousa band award given to a student? Does the class vote or does the director give it to the student?
  • Judy Ward

    Judy Ward

    24 May 2014 at 18:54 |
    My grandson, Christian Bruce was honored to receive from his band director the JPS Band Award on May 22, 2014 from Reagan High School In NC! He is quite an accomplished percussionist breaking every previous record at Reagan and more! This year alone he made 1st chair Snare, Mallets & Timpani in All County Band then 1st chair Mallets & Timpani in All District Band then selecting & making 1st chair Timpani in the All State Honors Band! Two years ago he broke his arm skiing with the church group & had a cast on it only 3 days before auditions. He figured it out, practuced hard and with 2 mallets in one hand still made 1st chair Mallets on All District Honors Band! He was told for 3 years that he was much too valuable and talented to be a Drum Major although placing first! We could not be any more proud of him!
  • Keith Jackowski

    Keith Jackowski

    28 May 2014 at 09:17 |
    My son was honored last night by receiving this award. He was also in the rare tie, the other student was just as deserving. In fact, it would have been a shame if it had to be one or the other, both were as dedicated and talented as any I've seen or heard. My son will be off to Wayne State University to study premed before going to Michigan State University to follow his dream of being a Vet. He will be playing in the university jazz band.
  • Eric Bruckshaw

    Eric Bruckshaw

    03 June 2014 at 04:57 |
    I received it in 8th grade, so I guess middle school band directors can also give them out.
  • Randy Redburn

    Randy Redburn

    15 September 2014 at 19:41 |
    Proud recipient of the Sousa award, 2003. Made a living with music for the better part of my twenties.
  • Diane Sampson

    Diane Sampson

    26 October 2014 at 22:15 |
    I won this award (alto sax) as did my hero, Karen Carpenter (drums) - It's the one award we have in common - No Grammies here!
  • Emily E.

    Emily E.

    15 April 2015 at 21:06 |
    My boyfriend received this award tonight! I am so proud of him. He's played percussion in the band for several years and is the drum major. I'm so glad his hard work was recognized. :)
  • Jon Kalvik

    Jon Kalvik

    06 May 2015 at 08:37 |
    My wonderful daughter won this award last night at her senior concert. She plays piano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinet and violin. Her mother and I could not be more proud of her.
  • Emily Deyarmond

    Emily Deyarmond

    12 May 2015 at 10:34 |
    I won it last night, and feels great!
  • Cheryl


    14 May 2015 at 13:51 |
    My daughter won this award last night. She plays Euphonium. She is a senior at Michigan Lutheran High School. Proud Mama for sure.
  • Jack


    21 May 2015 at 23:08 |
    I just recieved the JPS award tonight and still don't believe it. I'm a senior percussionist and I don't understand why I recieved this award for doing what is asked of me as a musician but I am very honored and deeply saddened to be leaving my director. Kelso, WA 5/21/2015
  • Hugh


    23 May 2015 at 15:48 |
    Our son Dakota received the John Philip Sousa Award last night, May 22,2015 from American Canyon High School. He is first chair flutist. We are so proud of him. As I am a U.S. Marine I am exceptionally proud!!!!!
    Semper Fi.


    25 May 2015 at 18:08 |
    My best friend and I split these last week.
  • Joyce


    28 May 2015 at 09:23 |
    Is the recipient of this award chosen by peers or the teacher or does it matter?
    • David Lovrien

      David Lovrien

      28 May 2015 at 09:25 |
      Joyce, it is awarded by the student's band director.
  • MSDL


    28 May 2015 at 19:47 |
    Our son Adrian (Tenor Sax) received the JPS award on 5-26-15 at Edinburg North High School in Edinburg, TX. We are so Proud & Excited for all his accomishment on his last yr of HS. We would like to thank his band director Mr Dempsey for nominating him. Good Luck Adrian on your State Solo & Ensemble competition this Saturday in Austin, TX... Love Mom, Dad & DJ.... Go Mighty Cougar Band!!!!
  • Cathy Seehuetter

    Cathy Seehuetter

    29 May 2015 at 16:27 |
    My grandson who is a percussionist just won on 5/28/2015 the JPS Award last night at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. !!! Jett has a wide range of musical skills and tastes. He was in concert and winds ensemble, jazz band, marching band, drumline, the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony, U of MN Honors Band, St. Olaf Music Camp, and superior ratings in all competitions. And he only began playing drums in 8th grade. So proud of him!
  • Rusty


    31 May 2015 at 08:01 |
    The guy name Terry Benson, Jr is the first former Springfield High School (Tennessee) band student who was in one of those awards. Also he's a very good person. Terry keep it up.
  • Pamela Trout

    Pamela Trout

    05 June 2015 at 22:58 |
    My son Michael Paul Baughey received the John Philip Sousa Award June 2016 Clinton High School, Clinton, MI. Michael loves playing Flute and piccolo. (self taught) Also competent on violin, clarinet, piano, little trumpet! Very proud of him
  • Pamela Trout

    Pamela Trout

    05 June 2015 at 23:03 |
    My son Michael Paul Baughey received the John Philip Sousa Award June 2015 Clinton High School, Clinton, MI. Michael loves playing Flute and piccolo. (self taught) Also competent on violin, clarinet, piano, little trumpet! Very proud of him
  • Chrissy Wyld-Botterbrodt

    Chrissy Wyld-Botterbrodt

    16 June 2015 at 15:26 |
    My son Cody won the JPS award at his 8th grade graduation. He plays the trombone & will continue to play in the h.s. band. Proud parents!! He also plays the ocarina very well! Such a beautiful sound....
  • James Campion

    James Campion

    27 June 2015 at 05:15 |
    Our daughter Florentina received the JPS Award at Germantown High School last night. She told us it was her goal since she started flute in 4th grade! She's thrilled and we're very proud.
  • Vena Brown

    Vena Brown

    27 August 2015 at 20:28 |
    I am a John Phillips Sousa award winner. I was the drum major and flautist when I received it in 1996.
  • Seth Rogers

    Seth Rogers

    05 February 2016 at 09:19 |
    I received the John Philip Sousa award my senior year at Spiro High School in '08. It now sits on my teaching desk at the same school to remind myself of what I accomplished here.
  • Pat Pierce

    Pat Pierce

    03 March 2016 at 21:13 |
    I was fortunate to receive the John Phillips Sousa Award - twice! First in my junior year (1976), and the following year as a senior(1977). I was honored to be so recognized, and continued my immersion in music in college, where I was active with Tau Beta Sigma in support of the music programs at Michigan State University (1977 - 1982). I never imagined I would get to share my musical experiences later, but now I find myself deeply involved with my son's high school band. Perhaps in a couple of years, there might be THREE John Phillips Sousa awards on the fireplace mantle...a parent can surely dream!
  • Gena Dempsey

    Gena Dempsey

    08 May 2016 at 05:46 |
    So proud of my daughter Elizabeth for deserving this JPS award. She has worked very hard these past 4 years to support her band. As tenor sax player, she won 1st chair by her sophomore year. This year, as a senior, she proudly led her band as drum major into superior ratings. Congratulations Eliza, hard work and dedication really does pay off.
  • shari baldwin

    shari baldwin

    13 May 2016 at 20:42 |
    My boy Travis just won this award tonight. When his name was called, he just stared at the director's face. He couldn't believe it was his name being called out. He was shaking so bad, he couldn't get his pin on and had to be helped, but not from me. I was too busy crying my eyes out with joy!!!!!
  • Nicole Busboom

    Nicole Busboom

    13 May 2016 at 23:12 |
    Our son Blaine received his Semper Fidelis award tonight. What an honor. He is a senior, we couldn't be more proud.
  • Patricia Ramirez-Figueroa

    Patricia Ramirez-Figueroa

    16 May 2016 at 17:14 |
    I'm so proud of my son Daniel Figueroa he received the JPS award last night on his senior concert, he plays the trumpet since his 4th grade, he also is the drum major of the Mighty Bulldog Band, I would like to thank Mr. Valenzuela his band director for this recognition. He also received the Congressman Henry Cuellar Award for Perfect Attendance for 13 years of perfect attendance. Thanks God for all the blessings.
  • Jake Janssen

    Jake Janssen

    24 May 2016 at 19:53 |
    I am proud to be able to say i just got this award a few hours ago as a Sophomore! It truly is amazing.


    03 June 2016 at 13:51 |
    We are very proud of our son Drew Bedal. He just received the John Philip Sousa Award from Del Mar High School in San Jose CA.
  • Sweetooth97


    05 June 2016 at 21:29 |
    My son just won the JPS award for the 2015-2016 year from Bel Air High School! We could not be more proud of him!!
  • Tiffany


    08 June 2016 at 08:09 |
    I also won the award in a rare tie with one of my fellow seniors !
  • Jerry Meek

    Jerry Meek

    15 June 2016 at 16:22 |
    Interesting writing . I Appreciate the points - Does anyone know where my assistant would be able to access a template DS-4085 form to complete ?
    • jammy flipp

      jammy flipp

      16 June 2016 at 01:12 |
      Hi Jerry, my work colleague got access to a fillable DS-4085 using this https://goo.gl/XlgDRH.
  • John Montrey

    John Montrey

    28 June 2016 at 20:23 |
    My jps win was so special because it was such a Cinderella story. At the start of my senior year, I came in second last for band officer elections. Seven months later I was an almost unanimous John Phillips Sousa Band Award winner!
  • Richard LaMascus

    Richard LaMascus

    02 July 2016 at 05:54 |
    Won it twice Junior and Senior year, 1981 & 1982. Only one given each year at our school. Just pulled them out of my attic, had not looked at them in over 20 years. I lived band and the opportunities it brought to my life.
  • Leonard Hazelbaker

    Leonard Hazelbaker

    25 July 2016 at 23:42 |
    I and two of my band mates were recipients of this award senior year 1983 in Grangeville, Idaho.
  • Denise Hall

    Denise Hall

    27 April 2017 at 05:35 |
    April 25, 2017 My son, Jeremy received the JPS award. He is a senior this year and has been the 1st chair trombone since his freshman year. Drum Major for the past 2 years, Section leader his sophomore year. He spends his extra time in the band room, helping out where ever he can and the last to leave. Always the 1st at rehearsal setting up and helping the director when he can. He is continuously coming up with innovative solutions to situations that arise. His band director said at the Band Banquet that having him graduate is like losing her right hand. On top of this he is in the top 10% of his class, in the NHS and earned his rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts. Im just a bit proud of him!
  • Rhonda Hill

    Rhonda Hill

    27 April 2017 at 18:44 |
    My son received the jps award today from Hixson High School band director Mr McHenry,
    so very proud
  • Charlie Inwood

    Charlie Inwood

    11 May 2017 at 07:32 |
    My Daughter Samantha Inwood received the John Phillip Sousa Award last night May 10 2017 from Saint Clair High School, St. Clair MI. Very proud of her.
  • Charlie Inwood

    Charlie Inwood

    11 May 2017 at 07:34 |
    My Daughter Samantha Inwood received the John Phillip Sousa Award last night May 10 2017 from Saint Clair High School, St. Clair MI. Very proud of her.
  • Greg


    17 May 2017 at 20:17 |
    My son, Chase just won the JPS award this evening at The Northview High school band banquet. He is a clarinetist in wind ensemble, a percussionist in marching band and is headed to college i the fall as a music major. His Mom and I couldn't be prouder!
  • mary beth allen

    mary beth allen

    20 May 2017 at 06:12 |
    My grand daughter won this award last night from West Stokes High School in King NC. She has been playing the flute since 3rd grade and can just about play any instrument given to her. Wingate College in Raleigh NC is her next stop. So proud of this young lady.
  • Robert B

    Robert B

    20 May 2017 at 11:55 |
    I received this award last night and I am so honored. I'm going to UTK to march in the Pride of the Southland in the fall.
  • mel amrhein

    mel amrhein

    15 June 2017 at 11:05 |
    My daughter , Amanda received the award this May. She plays flute , piccolo, alto, tenor, baritone sax and percussion. We are very proud of her.
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  • Kathy Jewell

    Kathy Jewell

    09 October 2017 at 09:47 |
    I received the JPS award as a senior in 1982 at Breathitt County High School, Jackson, Kentucky. Trumpet, Baritone TC
  • Tony Zupancic

    Tony Zupancic

    30 January 2018 at 19:35 |
    I received the JPS award in 1970, Benedictine High School, Cleveland, Ohio. Also received the Arion award in 1969.

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