John Van Fossen Papers and Memorabilia, 1903-1994
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Brief Description: Concert programs, photographs, postcards, correspondence, a contract, a Sousa Band uniform and Selmer clarinet, and memorbilia documenting John Van Fossen's career as a clarinetist while a member of the John Philip Sousa Band between 1926 and 1931.
Held at:
The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
236 Harding Band Building
1103 South 6th Street
Champaign, IL 61820 6223
Phone: 217-244-93093
Fax: 217-244-8695
Email: schwrtzs [at]
Record Series Number: 12/9/62
Created by: Van Fossen, John (1903-1994)
Volume: 2.0 cubic feet
Acquired: 07/07/2004.
Arrangement: Alphabetical by type of document.
Biographical Note for Van Fossen, John (1903-1994) :

John Van Fossen, clarinetist for the John Philip Sousa Band from 1925 until 1931, was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania.  He began playing the clarinet at the age of ten.  As an adult, he played in several regional bands including the John Wannamaker Band, conducted by Sousa's colleague, Arthur Rosander, saxophonist and librarian for the Sousa Band between 1909 and 1911.

At the age of twenty-one Van Fossen became a member of the Sousa Band.  In a 1989 interview  he described the sense of stage fright that he experienced during his first performance under Sousa's baton, "When we went into 'Stars and Stripes' for the finale, all of sudden I couldn't play.  I was entranced by everything.  I found out later that the same thing happened to most musicians in their first performance."

After leaving the Sousa Band in 1931, Van Fossen went on to play for the Pat Conway Band, the Arcadians, a jazz band with its own radio program in Philadelphia, and the Arthur Pryor Band, which was considered by many to be second only to the Sousa Band.

Subject Index
Band Musicians
Music - United States
Sousa, John Philip
Woodwind Instruments
Genres/Forms of Material
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Acquisition Notes: Ms. Judy Shannon, 1147 Pelhamwood Road, Baltimore, MDÃ??Ã?  21234  Donation.