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My Choice - Meredith Willson: Seventy-six Trombones

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Published on Jun 19, 2011

INFO STATES PHILIP SOUSA IS CONDUCTING - THAT IS INCORRECT. Please ignore it.

Seventy-six Trombones is the signature song from the musical play "The Music Man" (1957), which was written by Meredith Willson. This song also appeared in the film The Music Man (1962), and in the made-for-TV movie adaptation in 2003.

In one of Willson's arrangements of the song, it seamlessly integrates with other popular marches at the time, such as Stars and Stripes Forever and

In the dramas, "Professor" Harold Hill uses the song Seventy-six trombones to help the townspeople of the fictional town of River City, Iowa, visualize their children playing in a marching band by harkening back to a time when he saw several famous bandleaders' bands in a combined performance.

Whereas an average-sized high school marching band might have about 10 musicians playing the trombone, and a large college marching band seldom has more than 30 trombonists, the band that Harold describes to the villagers included 76 trombones, 110 cornets, "over a thousand reeds", double bell euphoniums, and "fifty mounted cannon" (which were popular in bands of the time).

In Willson's hometown of Mason City, Iowa, they honor this song (and the rest of the story of The Music Man) in a building called "Music Man Square", which is located next to Willson's boyhood home. In one large room, they have 76 donated trombones hanging from the ceiling.

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