Cheltenham, England

by: John Philip Sousa
arranged by: Brian Harris

This joyous, fun, and toe-tapping march will be the favorite of your band and audience alike - especially at the break strain where the band members break into song with the tune everyone knows. Pure excitement! For an even greater effect, have the brass section stand for the final repeat of the famous melody.

In 1917, Sousa was requested to write a march using the newly-popular Caisson song, thought to date back to the Civil War. Turns out the man who wrote it was still alive and spent years unsuccessfully trying to get rights/royalties from the work. Eventually, the US Army changed much of the lyrics (such as "..caissons go rolling along" was changed to "..Army goes rolling along") and adopted it as their official service song.

This arrangement of Sousa's work remains in the original key, but has modified (easier) ranges for most players. The bass line is now doubled throughout the low woodwinds, and the alto and tenor saxophone parts reorganized (the original published parts were inconsistently voiced). Instead of three clarinet and trumpet parts, it now has two with the second part have optional divisi notes. Also, the repeat of the first strain was removed and an optional cannon shot at the end was added.

Medium: Grade 3

See the full score as you listen to the music.

Sample pages (.pdf): 

Sound files: 

Premiere Performance (live concert) of this piece by the McLennan Community College Wind Ensemble on April 25, 2013; directed by the arranger.

$37 U.S. for PDF of full score, parts, and site-license

  • about 2 minutes, 20 seconds in length
  • any Spring or Fall concert
  • use at Contest: as a short march, you save chops for your other selections
  • although still in original key, the ranges have been moderated from Sousa's original version
  • band members sing the famous "Caisson" song; the lyrics are printed in all parts.
  • trombone section and euphonium replace the 4-part horn section on backbeats during singing section (let me know if you prefer the notes in the horn parts)
  • marimba plays melody to assist singing
  • Singing (Unless you have your band sing on a regular basis, students might be reluctant at first - but by performance time, they'll belt it out!)
  • Key signatures
  • Limited use of double flats and C-flats in some parts during break strain
  • KEY and RANGES:
    Ab major to Db major 

    All parts lay within "3rd/4th-year" ranges: Flute to 4th line G (above staff); 1st Clarinet to 2nd line C (above staff); 2nd Clarinet to Eb on staff (4th space); 1st Trumpet to Bb above staff; 2nd Trumpet to F (top of staff; divisi in spots); 1st Trombone to Gb above staff; B.C. Euphonium to G above staff.

    Concert Instrumentation except only 2 clarinet and 2 trumpet parts (some divisi in 2nd parts)
    Parts for 5 percussionists (minimum of 4 players): 
      Percussion 1 = Snare Drum; Bass Drum  

      Percussion 2 = Crash Cymbals; Cannon (option: use 2nd Bass Drum)


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