Richard E Kent Music and Personal Papers, 1899-1996
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Brief Description:

Consists of original and published music compositions and arrangements, correspondence, concert programs, memoirs, newspaper clippings, Sousa Band Fraternal Society newsletters, photographs, Volunteer Illini Projects awards, yearbooks, and appointment books. The collection documents Kent's career with the Sousa Band through photographs and correspondence, as well as the transcription of his interview for the Sousa Oral History Project. The many arrangements, compositions, and transcriptions within the collection document his contribution to the music publishing industry. Included with Kent's published compositions is "On To The Goal, Illinois." Among Kent's original, unpublished compositions is a submission for the Mets official song, entitled "I Am A Mets Fan." In addition to his original compositions, Kent also arranged a number of works by a variety of composers including George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, and Oscar Hammerstein. Finally, newspaper clippings and awards attest to Kent's active, post-retirement participation with Urbana-Champaign area Volunteer Illini Projects. The collection documents the life and career of a Sousa Band member, particularly a native Central Illinoisan, before, during, and after his tour with the great March King.

A composer/title index for all the music is located at the end of the finding aid.

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: 26/20/107
Created by: Kent, Richard E. (1899-1996)
Volume: 3.0 cubic feet
Acquired: 12/94
More information is available at
Arrangement: chronological by type of material
Biographical Note for Kent, Richard E. (1899-1996) : Richard E. Kent (1899-1996) was born on September 25, 1899, in Jacksonville Illinois. He grew up in a musical family; his father was director of the Bloomington (IL) High School Marching Band for many years. In 1914, the Kent family moved to Urbana, and he attended his last three years of high school at Urbana High School. In 1917, he enrolled at the University of Illinois. While attending the University, he was a member of the Marching Band, under the direction of Albert Austin Harding. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music, specializing in Piano, on June 15, 1921. In November of 1921, he withdrew from his post-graduate studies at the University to accept a professional position as second chair Alto Saxophone in the John Philip Sousa Band. Following two seasons with the Sousa Band, Kent continued his musical career, performing with combos in the Indianapolis (IN) area, including the Royal Peacock Orchestra. He moved to New York around 1921, and made a career as a music arranger with Radio-Keith-Orphem, and later the Southern Music Co. Upon his retirement from Southern Music in 1974, he and his wife, Nora Belle Phares, returned to Urbana. He was active with Volunteer Illini Projects, including the musical group the Heartlanders, until his death on March 19, 1996.
Subject Index
New York City
Sousa, John Philip
Urbana, Illinois
Genres/Forms of Material
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Acquisition Notes:   Received in December 1994.