Cooper Music Made History With The Sousa Band

In 1920’s one of the best known Victor Red Seal Record’s celebrities was John sousa bandPhillip Sousa. Cooper Music Minstrals had been able to sell out several concerts to raise money selling Liberty Bonds during the "War to End All Wars", John Cooper was sure he could do it again, with Sousa’s Marine Band.

Through Victrola Phonographs, as one of their prize winning stores, Cooper Music had access to their artist. A local performance of Sousa’s band was set- up. But there was a challenge, The  Sousa contract demanded a large cash guarantee to RCA, requiring a "sold out house" at the Liberty Theatre to just break even. Days later it was announced that the Heavy Weight Championship Fight between Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey was to be broadcast on KDKA radio  that very same night.  A World’s First! What to do?  

The Cooper’s radio technician, "Wink" Winslow Nealy a former wartime Merchant marine wireless operator was convinced that the fight could be piped across the street from Cooper Music to the Liberty Theatre stage on telephone wire lines. With his helper they started setting up the circuit. The concert with the fight, that too would be a first. The tickets sold out like wild fire.  

The night of the concert the Band started as usual with the Washington Post March, On The Mall, and Colonel Bogey March. Then John Cooper stepped out and said, "We have a promise to keep, We want to share the fight between former Marine Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey with the Marine Band" John Cooper turned to the orchestra and said, "Gentlemen!". The Band stood as one, in a silent salute, then took off their waistcoats, hung them on their chairs and sat back to listen to the radio. That brought down the house, and the cheering continued till the final gong.. What a night.  

The Tunney, Dempsey fight was one of the most famous Boxing Matches in history, known as the famous "Long Count", with the Champion, former Marine,Gene Tunney! The Sousa Band stood up, now in their full dress, red and blue,cooper musicMarine waistcoats. Sousa’s musical salute "Sempre Fideles", the Marine Hymn closed the show for the cheering crowd!

After the concert there were autographs, David Cooper’s mother received a personal autograph from John Phillip Sousa, Which Cooper Music has kept to this day. As years went by it always meant something special when, to this day, a Hohner "Marine Band Harmonica" is sold with the photo of the band on the box. 


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