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The First John Phillip Sousa Band returns to play patriotic pieces at the Sheldon Theatre, Saturday, Sept. 21.

All for Sousa

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The First John Philip Sousa Memorial Band presents its 18th annual concert at the Sheldon Theatre at 7 p.m. Saturday Sept. 21. The band is directed by Scott Crosbie.

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Coffee and cake served by Friends of the Sheldon and members of the Sheldon Board on the lawn adjacent the theatre kicks off the evening at 6 p.m. — and the Sheldon's new season.

Sousa's Fifes and Drums will begin playing authentic Revolutionary period music and instruments at 6:10 p.m. on the street.

The 45-member concert band sponsored by the city of Edina, Minn., plays a show of marches, rags and novelties.

Sousa was an American composer and conductor, known primarily for military and patriotic music. Sousa's music lives on through the instruments of an all-volunteer band that has been entertaining Twin Cities audiences for years.

"If it's not Sousa that we play, we make sure that it's great and fun and crowd pleasing," Crosbie said, "That's always been kind of our mantra - audience comes first."

The First John Philip Sousa Memorial Band was founded in 1970 - the year that Crosbie graduated from Edina High School.

"Myself and a bunch of friends from Edina Concert Band got together that summer and I purchased 50 uniforms from Buffalo High School for $3 a piece," he explained. "So we loaded those up and brought them home and went down to Groth Music Store and bought a bunch of marches, and we had a band."

About 50 people were a part of the original band, which, at times called itself Band on Wheels; they drove someplace unannounced, formed up, marched down a neighborhood street to a park and play a little concert.

"It was fun because it was spontaneous. We just played a little concert, got in our cars, and left," he said. "It was totally nuts, it's what you do when you're 18 years old, I guess."

After a few years, the band decided on a name change.

"Most of our marches were Sousa and we all just loved Sousa anyway, so we all just thought let's just make it John Philip Sousa Memorial Band," Crosbie said.

With permission from the Sousa family, the name became the First John Philip Sousa Memorial Band.

Members of the 40-piece band now come from all over the Twin Cities.

Their upcoming concert features a bass saxophone feature, soprano solo, xylophone duet, tap dance number, trombone section smear and"a number about a Civil War locomotive chase complete with steam, whistles and clanging bells," said Crosbie.

Tickets are $17.50 adults, $11.50 students and $16 senior citizens. For more information, check out the band's website www.sousaband.net.

The concert is two hours, with a 15 minute intermission.

If you go ...

What: First John Philip Sousa Memorial Band

When: 7 p.m. Saturday Sept. 21

Where: Sheldon Theatre, 443 W. Third St.

Cost: $17.50 adults, $11.50 students, $16 senior citizens

More info: 651-388-8700 or 800-899-5759, or www.sheldontheatre.org.

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