Henry Fillmore  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Henry Fillmore (3 December, 18817 December, 1956) was a United States composer and publisher.

A prolific composer, Fillmore wrote over 250 tunes and arranged orchestrations for hundreds more; he also published a great number of tunes under various pseudonyms. While best known for march music and screamers, he also wrote waltzes, foxtrots, hymns, novelty numbers, overtures and waltzes.

James Henry Fillmore Jr. was born in Cincinnati, Ohio as the eldest of 5 children. In his youth he mastered piano, guitar, violin, and flute -- as well as the slide trombone, which at first he played in secret, as his conservative religious father believed it an uncouth and sinful instrument. Fillmore was also a singer for his church choir as a boy. He began composing at 18, with his first published march "Higham", named after a line of brass instruments. Fillmore entered the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 1901. After this he traveled around the United States as a circus bandmaster with his wife, an exotic dancer named Mabel May Jones. They got married in St Louis.

In the 1920s he was back in Cincinnati, directing the Shriners Temple Band, which he turned into one of the most virtuosic marching bands in the country.

Fillmore's best known compositions include:

  • The Footlifter
  • Americans We
  • Men of Ohio
  • His Honor
  • The Klaxon
  • Miami (March)
  • Lassus Trombone
  • (We're) Men of Florida
  • Military Escort
  • Mt. Healthy
  • The Crosley March
  • Noble Men
  • Rolling Thunder March
  • The Circus Bee
  • King Karl King

Fillmore gained fame as the Father of the Trombone Smear, writing a series of fifteen novelty tunes featuring trombone smears called "The Trombone Family", including Miss Trombone, Sally Trombone, Lassus Trombone and Shoutin' Liza Trombone. A number of these have a strong ragtime influence.

All of Fillmore's trombone rags are:

  • Miss Trombone (1908)
  • Teddy Trombone (1911)
  • Lassus Trombone (1915)
  • Pahson Trombone (1916)
  • Sally Trombone (1917)
  • Slim Trombone (1918)
  • Mose Trombone (1919)
  • Shoutin' Liza Trombone (1920)
  • Hot Trombone (1921)
  • Bones Trombone (1922)
  • Dusty Trombone (1923)
  • Bull Trombone (1924)
  • Lucky Trombone (1926)
  • Boss Trombone (1929)
  • Ham Trombone (1929)

Henry Fillmore wrote under a series of different names such as Harold Bennett, Ray Hall, Harry Hartley, Al Hayes, and the funniest, Henrietta Hall. The name that caused a conflict was Will Huff. Because there was a Will Huff, who did compose marches and lived and composed in his state and area.

In 1938 he retired to Miami, Florida, but kept active in his later years organizing and rehearsing high school bands in Florida. Henry Fillmore Band Hall, the rehearsal hall for many of the University of Miami's performing groups, including the Band of the Hour, stands today as a tribute to Fillmore's work in the band genre. There, he wrote his final piece, "President's March". Fillmore lived out the rest of his days in South Florida.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Henry Fillmore" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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