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John Philip Sousa, Director (1880-1892), brought world fame to "The President's Own." While the organization was already considered a national institution, Sousa's dynamic leadership transformed the Marine Band's repertoire, emphasized symphonic music, changed the instrumentation, and made rehearsals exceptionally strict. He conducted the band's first sound recordings, initiated its first national concert tour, and began to write the marches that earned him international acclaim and the title "The March King." Sousa continued composing and conducting until his death in 1932. He left America a treasured musical legacy of marches that, as columnist Hugh Sidey noted, ". . . say more about liberty than a dozen orators."

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