"The Father of the American Band."
- John Phillip Sousa
Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore was born on December 25, 1829 in Ballygar, County Galway, Ireland.
After accompanying his father to a protest rally against the British rule in Athlone, Ireland as a member of the Ballygar Fife and Drum Band. It was at the rally that Gilmore became enamored with the disciplined band. As a young man he moved to Athlone where he became a member of the local bands. He was introduced to the great bandleader, Patrick Keating, who taught him classical music and trumpets. Flourishing as a musician, Gilmore left Ireland for Boston in 1848.
In America, Gilmore became a member of a local band in Boston. He became the leader of the Boston Brigade Band and then the Charlestown Band. He became famous as a cornet soloist and joined the Salem Brigade Band in 1853, which at the time was regarded as the best in America. With the Salem band, Gilmore performed for the inauguration of President James Buchanan. He married Ellen ONeill in 1858 and the next year returned to Boston.
Reorganizing the Boston Brigade Band in 1858, Gilmore founded Patrick Gilmores Band, which featured 2 woodwinds to each brass instrument. The ensemble was the model for what would become the modern concert band. April 9, 1859 was the date of the first performance by the Gilmore Band.
Over the course of his life, Gilmore wrote several marches songs (often under the pseudonym Louis Lambert) including Good News From Home, We Are Coming Father Abraham, Seeing Nellie Home, 22nd Regiment March, Sad News From Home, The Everlasting Polka, Music Fills My Soul With Sadness and the…