The marches of David Wallis Reeves: Performance editions of three marches dedicated to Connecticut organizations

Date of Completion

January 2005






The marches of David Wallis Reeves (1838–1900) fill an historical gap between the works performed by Patrick Gilmore in the mid-nineteenth century and those written and performed by John Philip Sousa in the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In 1916, it was Sousa who identified Reeves as “The Father of Band Music in America.” This dissertation contains contemporary performance editions of three marches by D. W. Reeves, which accurately maintain the unique timbre and style of the originals. Each of the marches was dedicated to a Connecticut-based organization. As such, they may be of interest to bandsmen of that state, but they also provide an opportunity for musicians everywhere to rediscover pieces that are an important part of the wind band heritage. ^ Colonel John R. Bourgeois, former commander of the United States Marine Corps Band, has noted a decline of the march genre on recent concert programs. He attributes this decline to a lack of carefully researched and accurate performance materials, a lack of variety in the marches programmed, and a lack of knowledge regarding march tempi, dynamics, and style. The full scores, biographical information, and harmonic and structural analyses contained in this dissertation provide material that fills the voids listed by Colonel Bourgeois. They also contribute to a revived respect for a composer who, according to Sousa, “…paved the way and laid down the principles for the rest of us to follow.” ^