Hail to the Chief December 09 2011, 0 Comments

Contributed by: Jack Kopstein "Hail to the Chief" is a march primarily associated with the President of the United States. Its playing accompanies the appearance of the President at many public appearances. For major official occasions, the United States Marine Band and other military ensembles generally are the performers. It is preceded by four ruffles and flourishes when played for the President. The song is in the public domain. Verses from Sir Walter Scott's The Lady of the Lake, including "Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances!" were set to music around 1812 by the songwriter James Sanderson (c. 1769 – c. 1841), a self-taught English violinist and the conductor of the Surrey Theatre, London, who wrote many songs for local theatrical productions during the 1790s and the early years of the 19th century. A version of Lady of the Lake debuted in New York May 8, 1812, and "Hail to the Chief" was published in Philadelphia about the same time, as 'March and Chorus in the Dramatic Romance of the Lady of the Lake'. Many parodies appeared, an indication of great popularity. Association with the President first occurred in 1815, when it was played to honour both George Washington and the end of the War of 1812 (under the name "Wreaths for the Chieftain"). Andrew Jackson was the first living President to have the song used to honour his position in 1829, and it was played at Martin Van Buren's inauguration in 1837. On July 4, 1828, the U.S. Marine Band performed the song at a ceremony for the formal opening of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which was attended by President John Quincy Adams. Julia Tyler, wife of John Tyler, specifically requested its use at her husband's inauguration. It was used at James Polk's inauguration, Later  it became a mainstay to announce the arrival of the president; William Seale says, "Polk was not an impressive figure, so some announcement was necessary to avoid the embarrassment of his entering a crowded room unnoticed. At large affairs the band...rolled the drums as they played the march...and a way was cleared for the President. Under the term of Harry Truman the Department of Defence made it the official tribute to the President. It has now become standard practice for the president to be honoured by the playing of the music  by any function where a band is in attendance During the American Civil War (1861-1865) the same piece was also used to announce the arrival of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. On October 3, 1861, Davis visited with Generals P.G.T. Beauregard, Joseph Eggleston Johnston, and Gustavus Woodson Smith at Fairfax Court House (now the City of Fairfax) for a Council of War. While at Fairfax, President Davis also conducted a formal Review of the Troops, which numbered some 30,000. At the start of the review, the band of the 1st Virginia Infantry struck up "Hail To The Chief" and concluded with "Dixie". Sites: Hail to the Chief on Wikipedia