In 1926, a campaign was started to raise money for the restoration of the famous battleship U.S.S. Constitution, whose nickname is “Old Ironsides.” A rally was held at Madison Square Garden, and Sousa conducted the combined bands of the Army, Navy and Marines. Sousa wrote the march for that event, but no evidence has been found to suggest that it was ever played in public, nor was it ever published or copyrighted.
In 1996 I started this web site dedicated to Sousa. Since then I’ve exchanged e-mail with Sousa fans from all over the world, including two of Sousa’s great-grandchildren! In early 1999 I received a message from Jim Gann in Kansas City, who told me of his recent trip to the Library of Congress to study the Sousa scores there. He told me he copied Sousa’s sketches for Old Ironsides and was working on a full band arrangement. I volunteered to complete the arrangement and offered the services of the Dallas Wind Symphony to perform it.
Old Ironsides was premiered October 12, 1999 at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.
- Year: 1926
- Key: B-flat minor, G-flat major
- Time: 2/2
- Perf. Time: 2:35