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Reeves, David Wallis

Reeves, David Wallis

Reeves, David Wallis , American bandmaster and composer; b. Oswego, N.Y., Feb. 14, 1838; d. Providence, R.I., March 8, 1900. As a boy he began to play cornet in circus and minstrel bands, and later he was in Union Army bands. In 1866 he became the leader of the American Band of Providence, which is said to trace its roots back to the War of 1812. During its 35 years under the direction of Reeves, it became a model of excellence among American municipal bands; Reeves succeeded in standardizing the instrumentation of the ordinary parade and outdoor-concert band. He composed some 80 marches, of which the best is The 2nd Connecticut Regiment March, known to have been a favorite of Charles Ives. Reeves was a great friend of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, conductor of the band of the N.Y. 22nd Regiment, and it was Gilmore who popularized Reeves’s marches. Upon Gilmore’s death, Reeves took over the 22nd Regiment Band for the 1892–93 season, but then resumed the conductorship of the American Band. Sousa called Reeves “the father of band music in America.”

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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