White House Sketches
Marine Band Concerts a Popular Summer Entertainment
July 12, 1914
William H. Santelman was the leader of the Marine Band for 29 years, 1897–1928. He joined the band in 1887 auditioning for John Philip Sousa on violin, clarinet, and baritone. Santelman kept the band performing at a high level with a busy schedule. Summer concerts on Wednesday evenings at the Capitol, on Friday evenings on the grounds of the Washington Monument, and on Saturday afternoons at the White House became a Washington tradition and a draw for tourists. White House concerts were special, as everyone seemed to be in motion. Couples strolled on the South Lawn while the band played waltzes and nocturnes. Audiences at the Capitol preferred the patriotic marches.