Music and Oil in Beaumont: A History of the Magnolia Petroleum Band
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The 1920s were a turbulent time for bands in the United States. The ensembles dominated American popular music from the late nineteenth century through World War I, more or less coinciding with the famed careers of P.S. Gilmore and John Philip Sousa. In the immediate post-war period, however, bands faced numerous challenges to their preeminence. On the one hand there was no heir apparent to Sousa, who was already in his mid-sixties and faced constant speculation that he would retire. Indeed, Sousa’s force of personality would never permit retirement, but the Sousa Band’s tours gradually shortened year by year through the 1920s as his audiences and profitability declined.