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Title: John Van Fossen Papers and Memorabilia, 1903-1994
Primary Creator: Van Fossen, John (1903-1994)
Extent: 2.0 cubic feet
Arrangement: Alphabetical by type of document.
Date Acquired: 07/07/2004
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.
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.
Acquisition Source: Ms. Judy Shannon, 1147 Pelhamwood Road, Baltimore, MD√???√??√?¬† 21234
Acquisition Method: Donation.