On This Day, November 6

John Philip Sousa composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known primarily for American military and patriotic marches, was born in Washington, D.C., on November 6, 1854. Sousa he is known as “The March King” or the “American March King” due to his British counterpart Kenneth J. Alford also being known by the former nickname. Sousa composed upwards of 300 diverse musical works in his long and prosperous career, but it is his 136 marches for which he is best known. Among his best-known marches are “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (National March of the United States of America), “Semper Fidelis” (Official March of the United States Marine Corps), “The Liberty Bell”, “The Thunderer” and “The Washington Post”. Find Sousa marching in the library, on hoopla and in Freegal.


Michael Cunningham, novelist and short story writer, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 6, 1952. He is best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999. Cunningham is a senior lecturer of creative writing at Yale University. Find Michael Cunningham at the library and on OverDrive.


Joseph Raymond “Ray” Conniff, composer, arranger, bandleader and trombonists, best known for his Ray Conniff Singers during the 1960s, was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts on November 6, 1916. Ray Conniff played in Bunny Berigan’s Orchestra and Bob Crosby’s Bobcats After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II (where he worked under Walter Schumann), he joined the Artie Shaw big band and wrote many arrangements for him. After his stint with Shaw, he was then hired by Mitch Miller, then head of A&R at Columbia Records, as their home arranger, working with several artists including Rosemary Clooney, Marty Robbins, Frankie Laine, Johnny Mathis, Guy Mitchell and Johnnie Ray. He wrote a top 10 arrangement for Don Cherry’s “Band of Gold” in 1955, a single that sold more than a million copies. Among the hit singles he backed with his orchestra (and eventually with a male chorus) were “Yes Tonight Josephine” and “Just Walkin’ in the Rain” by Johnnie Ray; “Chances Are” and “It’s Not for Me to Say” by Johnny Mathis; “A White Sport Coat” and “The Hanging Tree” by Marty Robbins; “Moonlight Gambler” by Frankie Laine; “Up Above My Head,” a duet by Frankie Laine and Johnnie Ray; and “Pet Me, Poppa” by Rosemary Clooney. He also backed up the albums Tony by Tony Bennett, Blue Swing by Eileen Rodgers, Swingin’ for Two by Don Cherry, and half the tracks of The Big Beat by Johnnie Ray. Find Ray Conniff on hoopla and in Freegal.

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