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Celebrate 150 Years of Taps

Boy Scouts of America March by Sousa

 

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA MARCH

BY JOHN PHILIP SOUSA

boy-scouts-of-america

Sousa wrote this march for the Boy Scouts of America after a request from Dr. Charles D. Hart. Sousa was a great supporter of Scouting who believed it was a powerful force in teaching Americanism.

 

A very melodic march, the bugle march is used as a break-up strain in the Trio section. Bugles have been a part of the scout tradition and nowhere has the connection between bugles and Scouting been more significant than in the United States. When the Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910, boys who joined Scout troops had heard first-hand about bugling in the Civil War, the Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War. Bugles seemed the natural way to communicate over distances on a campout. An article in the January, 1913, BOYS LIFE stated: “It should be the ambition of every scout who loves music and is interested in bugling to become the bugler of his patrol. But in addition to the appointment of official bugler for the patrol or troop, every well organized troop ought to have a drum and bugle corps. This sounds rather ambitious, but it will be found a comparably simple matter to organize and develop a proficient bugle corps in any large troop.” And bugling did catch on. As one example, a newspaper article describing a 1917 Boy Scout rally at Harvard Stadium stated “a bugle and drum band of 160 scouts provided one of the features of the afternoon as it paraded around the stadium,stopping before the reviewing stand, where the “To the color” was sounded

The scouts even had their own call to be used as a prelude call for activities:

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The march was never adopted as the official march of the Boy Scouts and it is a shame that Sousa did not incorporate the official bugle call for the Boy Scouts into the march. Here is the bugle march Sousa wrote into the march:

bsa-bugle

The Boy Scouts adopted the M1892 Field Trumpet (bugle) as early as 1916 and the bugle would remain an important part of scouting until interest began to diminish in the 1970s and 80s. In 1986 the Boy Scouts discontinued their authorization of an “Official Bugle,” although scouts still use bugles or trumpets for ceremonies, troops have troop buglers and it is possible to earn a merit badge for bugling.

1920s

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