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Masonic March Composers
Contributed & Edited by Brother Patrick Lehrman

square & compasses

The following was written by Brother Ron Keller of Euclid Lodge, #65, A.F.& A.M. of the M.W. Grand Lodge of Illinois. It came about as a presentation for a Ladies Night last spring [1998].

March Writers of the Masonic & Shrine Fraternal Orders*

When [Brother] Tom Behr contacted me to talk about Sousa and other march writers who had written Shrine or Masonic marches I didn't realize what I was getting in to! I have three giant encyclopedias containing all the names of any composer in the world who ever wrote a piece of music. It was most interesting! Here is what I was able to dig up.

Monroe Althouse (Dir. Ringgold Band) Reading Pa. 1853-1924

- Oriental Commandery K.T. 1899

- Our Illustrious Potentate 1923

- Reading Commandery 1889

- Reading Commandery #42 1898

Edward E. Bagley 1857-1922(Composer of National Emblem)

- Holy Cross Commandery 1902

- Knight Templar 1911

Charles L. Barnhouse 1865-1929

- Tripoli Temple 1928

- Ridin' de Goat 1909 (written under the name Jim Fisk)

Nicholas Brown 1870-1935

- California Commandery 1912

Carl Carlton**

- Medinah Temple March 1908

- Our Potentate 1907

- Syrian Temple 1909

Thomas Carter 1841-1934 (Lived most of his life in Boston, was a Mason for 58 years)

- The Boston Commandery 1892

- The Grand Commandery 1926

William Paris Chambers 1854-1913(Chicago Tribune March is most popular)

- Knight Templar March 1885

Herbert L. Clarke 1867-1945 (Cornet soloist with Sousa's Band)

- Calvary Commandery 1910

Frederick Clement 1865-1951

- Aleppo Temple 1926

- Sphionx Temple 1903

George Cobb 1886-1942

- The Square & Compass March 1921

Joseph DeLuca 1890-1935 (Euphonium soloist with Sousa)

- The Shriners Parade March

Everette Evans 1868-1951

- Temple Commandery 1911

Merle Evans 1892-1987 (Leader of Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Band for 51 yrs) Merle was an honorary member of 28 Shrine Clubs and an honorary member of Euclid Lodge #65! [I met him back in 1967, and he autographed one of his recordings for my father. PL]

Orrin R. Farrer 1866-? joined Old Erie Lodge #2 in 1894-Warren Ohio

- Old Erie March 1895

- St. John's Commandery 1899

Henry Fillmore 1881-1956 (from 1921-1926 led Syrian Shrine Temple Band-Cincinnati**

- Fraternity March 1910

James Fulton 1873-1930

- Gethesemane Commandery 1915

Claudio S. Grafulla 1810-1880 [???] (Washington Grays is most popular march)

- The Masonic Dead 1890

- Knight Templar Funeral March 1891

R. B. Hall 1858-1907 (The March King of New England)

- DeMolay Commandery 1892

- Dunlap Commandery 1894

John Hazel 1865-1948

- Baldwin Commandery 1887

Fred K. Huffer 1879-1936 (Entered the Masons in 1937, led the band at St. Bernard's Commandery and was asst director of Medinah Shrine Band [in which I played for several years-PL]

- St. Bernard Commandery March 1924

Fred Jewel 1875-1936 (Led Franklin Indiana Masonic Home High School Band & Murat Temple Shrine Band)

- March to Mecca 1919

- Murat Temple 1925

- Sahara Grotto 1928

Karl L. King 1891-1971 (In America's top four march composers!)

- Mystic Call 1913

- Forest City Commandery 1915

- Alhambra Grotto 1926

- Nazir Grotto 1928

John Klohr 1869-1955 (Most famous march is The Billboard-1901) Performed over 50 years with Syrian Temple Shrine Band of Cincinnati and played trombone with Henry Fillmore in the band!

Mayhew L. Lake 1879-1955

- Eastern Star March 1929

Harry J. Lincoln 1878-1937 (Composer of Repasz Band March)(was member of Williamsport Consistory, Masonic Lodge #662 and the Baldwin Commandery)

- Baldwin Commandry March 1906

Frank Losey 1872-1931 (Was most prolific composer of Fraternal Marches)

- Eastern Star 1905

- Knight Commander 1905

- Knights of the Sword 1905

- KnightEscort 1902

- Knights of Pythias 1900

- Knights of the Garter 1901

- Loyal Knights 1907

- Mt. Olivet Commandery 1915

- Pythian Grand March 1903

Carl Mader 1885-1952

- Columbia Commandery #63 Knights Templar [?]

Joseph Peckham 1849-1904 (Lived all his life in Rhode Island)

- Portland Commandery 1881

- Redwood Lodge 1896

- Washington Commandery 1887

William Pettee 1839-1891 (basically lived in two towns, Sharon Pa. and Plymouth Mass)

- Knights Templar Commandery 1880

- Rebecca Commandery 1882

Thomas H. Rollinson 1844-1928

- Lu Lu Temple 1907

George Rosenkrans 1881-1955

- Bethany Commandery 1904

Floyd St. Clair 1871-1942

- March of the Sheridan Sabres 1900

- Plumed Knight 1905

- Templar Triumphal 1915

Roland Seitz 1867-1946

- DeMolay Band March 1930

Loernard B. Smith b 1915 (Is another 33rd Degree Mason)

- The Potentate 1940

John Phillip Sousa 1854-1932 (Sousa was knighted in the Columbia Commandery #2 Knights Templar, Washington, D.C. and was honorary director of the Almas Temple Shrine Band of Washington)

- The Crusader 1888

- Nobles ofthe Mystic Shrine 1923

- The Thunderer 1889

Forrest Tubbs 1865-1926 (Lived all his life in Ohio)

- Defiance Commandery 1897

Alfred Weldon 1862-1914

- Kaaba Temple 1897

Meridith Willson 1902-1984 (The Music Man -76 Trombones!)

- Shrine Centennial March 1973

It is interesting to note also that two men wrote marches titled "The Imperial Potentate", but nothing is known about either composer and a march titled "The Potentate" was written by six different composers. Many Community Bands and Town Bands, if you will, were sponsored by Fraternal Organizations like the Shriners or Masons between the 1890's and 1930's. Many Shrine bands still exist today as do Legion Bands and Industry Bands.

The Community Band movement of the 80's and 90's is stronger than at any time in the 20th Century!

[Brother Keller also played some of the less famous marches at his presentation. Some were not good but some were excellent. Brother Keller was music director of the Naperville Ill. High School for many years, and is a member of the American Bandmasters Association, and a member of Windjammers Unlimited, a group dedicated to playing and preserving circus music.-PL]

* This list is not meant to be presented as complete. It is merely the excellent research done by its author. Several other march composers are listed on the More Masonic Composers & Performers page. Editor.

** Mention is made of the composer Carl Carlton, a pseudonym for Carl Fequa (sp), the first director of the Al Koran Shrine Band of Cleveland Ohio. He also wrote for (of course) Al Koran's Band. [Also] it would be a shame not to mention One of Filmore's most famous Masonic Marches, Noble Men - Brother Thomas Herbell