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The most famous of the bandmaster-composers was John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), who in 1880 became leader of the U.S. Marine band. In 1892, he organized his own band that toured throughout the world. Known as The March King, Sousa was a highly skilled composer of marches. He wrote more than one hundred of them, including the famous Stars and Stripes Forever that became the official United States march in 1987. A strong-willed child, Sousa s first memories of his childhood include the time he was not permitted to eat as many donuts as he wanted, so he ran away in the rain and laid outside for a half an hour. He got so sick he almost died. But the best story Sousa tells is the one where he almost ran away to join the circus band!