Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore

Though Irish-born, Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore spent much of his life in the United States and is most famous for writing the lyrics to "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" under the pseudonym Louis Lambert. John Philip Sousa regarded Gilmore as the "Father of the American Band."

Photo: Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, public domain

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    Born in Ireland, Gilmore settled in Boston, Massachusetts in 1848 when he became a band leader. While living in Boston, he also worked at John P. Ordway’s music store and performed with a group of blackfaced minstrels, Ordway’s Aeolians. Gilmore had novel ideas about the band and, with the Civil War beginning, he founded his own band, “Gilmore’s Band,” in 1858. In his band, he had two wind players for every brass player, which is the ratio of modern concert bands.

    Besides writing “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” Gilmore also wrote “Good News From Home” and “We Are Coming, Father Abraham.” After the Civil War, he was the music director for many important events, including the Dedication of the Statue of Liberty in 1886. He toured Europe and America extensively with his band. Gilmore’s Concert Garden in New York City was a forerunner of Madison Square Garden, and his band began the tradition of greeting the New Year in Times Square. Gilmore is buried in Old Calvary Cemetery in Long Island, New York.

    –Christie Finn

    Related Information



    Sheet Music

    The Winds of Destiny

    Composer(s): George Crumb

    Song(s): 1. "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory"
    2. "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
    3. "Lonesome Road"
    4. "Twelve Gates to the City"
    5. De Profundis: A Psalm for the Night-Wanderer (Instrumental Interlude)
    6. "All My Trials (Death's Lullaby)"
    7. "Go Tell it on the Mountain!"
    8. "The Enchanted Valley"
    9. "Shenandoah"

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