Sousa and his band ‘return’ to Owego

On April 28, the music of John Philip Sousa and his band “returns” to Owego as the Binghamton University Wind Symphony and Daniel Fabricius, conductor, will perform in concert at the Owego Apalachin Theater at 3 p.m. There is no admission fee for this event.

Sousa is recognized as the most important American composer and bandmaster of his era. After a 12-year tenure as leader of “The President’s Own” (The U.S. Marine Band) from 1890-1892, Sousa set out touring the world as the leader of his own band for the next 40 years.  He shared his music by crossing the country with his band by rail, stopping in both major metropolitan areas and small towns.  His band was made up the best musicians and their reputation for excellence allowed them to serve as musical ambassadors as they also traveled the world.  

Sousa and his band performed across New York State and specifically in the Southern Tier numerous times. In fact, Sousa tour press books list performances in Owego on both March 30, 1896 and June 17, 1919. Yes, it has been 100 years since Sousa’s last performance in Owego.  

However, on April 28, area residents can recognize that anniversary by attending a special performance by the Binghamton University Wind Symphony, conducted by Daniel Fabricius. Many will recall that Fabricius served as Director of Bands at Owego Free Academy for many years until his retirement in 2017. However, Fabricius has also served on the faculty at Binghamton University since 1992, first as percussion instructor and since 2012 as conductor of the Wind Symphony.

This concert has been modeled on programs that Sousa presented during the 1919 tour. During the Sousa Band era premium entertainment was not available to people in sparsely populated areas, so Sousa provided many classics to audiences that had never heard them. There would also be a touch of patriotism, a touch of humor, and perhaps the latest tune in the style of the day – such as ragtime. Of course, there would be numerous Sousa marches.  

Featured student soloists on the program will be Paul Barber, cornet, and Jordan Bowman, soprano.

This free concert will be presented in cooperation with the Owego Apalachin Music Department at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, at the Owego Apalachin Theater, located at 3 Sheldon Guile Blvd. in Owego.

For more information, email to or call (607) 727-7877.

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