Did You Know A World Famous Song Was First Played In Augusta?
According to the Augusta Museum in The Streets and The Military Music Blog, John Philip Sousa's "Stars And Stripes Forever" was first performed at Augusta's city hall on May 1st, 1897.
The piece was composed during the ocean voyage back home following Sousa's extended European vacation with his wife. His inspirations included homesickness, thoughts of the American flag flying over the Whitehouse, and memories of his recently deceased friend and manager.
On the off chance you have never heard the piece (can you really call it a song if there are no lyrics?), one of the best versions was done by the United States Marine Corps Band. Check it out:
While the piece was originally performed in Augusta on May 1st, it did not yet have a name. Because of this, many sources list the first time "Stars And Stripes Forever" as being played publicly as Philadelphia on May 14th.
What happened to the building where the piece was first performed? The Augusta city hall, which doubled as a performance space, was used by the city until the mid-1980s. After the city vacated the building in 1987, it was turned into an assisted living facility. It still serves that purpose today. It is located across the street from Old Fort Western.
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