Sousa Band Saxophone Section Photograph, ca. 1926

from the William Herb Papers

The Sousa Band Saxophone section, a group of men holding saxophones.

In 1922, Sousa began to see the success of saxophone ensembles like the Tom Brown Brothers and decided to form his own saxophone octet. The octet performed as a separate ensemble in between the first and second acts of the typical Sousa program and offered comic relief to the show. Two years after its formation, Sousa hired Fred Monroe on bass saxophone to replace Herman Schmidt who left the band after its 1924 tour.  Monroe quickly became the octet’s star because of his light-hearted comedic introductions to each of the octet’s pieces.  In this photograph, likely taken during the 1926 tour, the saxophone octet consisted of the following members: Edward J. Heney (1st Alto), Owen D. Kincaid (2nd Alto), Benjamin Conklin (3rd Alto), Leo Spalti (4th Alto), Leon E. Weir (1st Tenor), Albert O. Madden (2nd Tenor), James Schlanz (Baritone), and Fred Monroe (Bass).