2016 Ornament

by Maria on December 6th, 2016

Three years ago, Kelley's Heroes launched a series of Christmas ornaments. The first featured instrument was the valve trombone; the second featured instrument was the bass drum; the third featured instrument was the snare drum.

This year, our fourth ornament celebrates our 25th anniversary and features the sousaphone. It is important to have a strong bass line to lay the foundation for the instruments that play the melody and harmony. Our current sousaphonists are  Don H. and Josh. The bass line is so important that, when necessary, Mike W., who normally plays trumpet, and Maria, who normally plays saxophone, will abandon their instruments to play sousaphone.
In the late 1800s, the popular bass instrument was the helicon. John Philip Sousa liked its sound for parades but not for concerts. He wanted an instrument that was easy to carry, had a large bore, and had a large bell that could be adjusted forward for parades or upward for concerts. He took his ideas to John Walsh Pepper, an instrument maker in Philadelphia. In 1893, Pepper was so pleased with the result, he named the new invention the sousaphone. The detachable forward-facing bell was introduced in 1908 by Conn. Brass sousaphones are heavy, so many sousaphonists were happy when lighter weight fiberglass instruments became available in the 1960s. However, the brass instruments have a distinctive sound that is preferred by some sousaphonists, including Don and Josh.
Whatever happened to John Walsh Pepper? Over time, his company stopped producing instruments and started selling sheet music. Today, J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. is the largest retailer of sheet music in the world.

The flat acrylic ornaments are 3" inches in diameter. For a suggested donation of $5, you can start your own collection of Kelley's Heroes ornaments.  If you would like this one or any of the ones from previous years, send us a message by clicking on Contact on the navigation bar at the top of this Web page.

Posted in In the Spotlight    Tagged with Ornament, Don H., Josh, Maria, Mike W.


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