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We have a 1921 Iowa state law to thank for an increased interest in band music. (iStockphoto.com)

Marches Madness: Hurray For Taxes!

by Mark Mobley
Mar 20, 2013

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It's Marches Madness! Throughout this month, we're posting some of our favorite marches — from the concert hall, opera stage and parade ground. Got one we should hear? Played any yourself? Let us know in the comments section.

Given the continuing controversy over government spending, it's nice to remember a simpler time — when a state legislature acted to help citizens share music.

In 1921, Iowa passed the Municipal Band Law, which enabled towns under 40,000 to implement a modest tax to support community bands. Karl King, best known for the rousing circus marches Barnum & Bailey's Favorite and Invictus, wrote his Iowa Band Law March to celebrate its passage.

While the movement started in Iowa, it spread like wildfire to 33 states and a few other countries. The video above — which includes text telling the story of the march — features Wisconsin's plucky Rhinelander Area Community Band from its concert on Veterans Day 2009. The sound is from the 21st century but could easily be many decades older.


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