Commonly referred to as the "March King," John Philip Sousa was arguably the most influential composer of time. Sousa Archives' vast collections show the March King's musical contributions to America's war effort during World War I, in addition to his impact on the early evolution of electronic and avant-garde music.
The offerings at Sousa Archives span outside of the realm of the March King. Coming up in October 2014, Sousa Archives will launch Many Voices: The Great War in America's Songs, a special exhibition hailing from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. Through the melodies, lyrics, and graphic illustrations of sheet music produced between 1917 -- 1919, the exhibit depicts the diverse portrayals of soldiers' lives, recruitment of African-American soldiers, women's support for the war effort and the country's financial and personal sacrifice.
While the Sousa Archives house a fair share of national music history, one of its greatest attributes is its dedication to the local music scene. Recently, the Sousa Archives became the home to Jack Van Camp's black-and-white photography collection of blues and gospel musicians performing at various venues throughout Champaign. Taken between 1994 and 2001, the photographs not only document the diverse local and national blues and gospel ensembles and solo acts that frequently performed at Champaign's Blind Ping and Highdive, but also Central Illinois' vital African-American music scene at the end of the twentieth century. The collection includes images of the Blind Boys of Alabama, Mighty Blues Kings, Junior Wells, Luther Johnson, Robert Lockwood Junior and other nationally-recognized musicians. As a self-taught photographer, Mr. Camp's images capture the intense personal connections these musicians had with their work and the Champaign-Urbana audiences.New to Sousa Archives, Pogo Studio: Capturing the Sounds of the Champaign-Urbana Music Scene 1985 -- 2014, showcases the unique music legacy Mark Rubal and Pogo Studio in downtown Champaign. Through photographs, oral history and sound recordings, the exhibit gives insight into the influence Pogo Studio had on the national music scene -- recording and producing over 1,000 different projects with musicians like Adrian Belew and Alison Krauss; rock bands Hum, Menthol, Starcastle and the Vertebrats; and a variety of performances by student ensembles and faculty from the University of Illinois, Eastern Illinois University and Parkland Community College.