Text Box: Conductor autographs


Price: $200.00


Autographed 8” x 10” sepia photograph of the first leader of the United States Army Band, Pershing’s own standing in front of the band in the mall outside the front of the Capitol Building c. 1923.  We offer with an unsigned, original 8” x 10” bust portrait of the Captain in his dress uniform with an official U.S. Army emboss stamp on the bottom right, c. 1923.

Stannard (1884-1950) was born in Connecticut, the scion of an old farming family that had been in the state prior to the Revolutionary War.  He learned to play the clarinet at a young age and by the age of 10 he was playing in a local band in Guilford.  He enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 in 1901 and was placed as a solo clarinetist in the Tenth Band of the Coastal Artillery.  His progress with the regimental band led to a transfer to the Army Music Training School.  In 1911 he won an Army scholarship to the Institute of Musical Arts in New York City. (Today it is the Juilliard School)  Upon graduation, he was assigned as Bandmaster of the Thirtieth Infantry Band and the Thirteenth Infantry Band.  He was also invited by the University of Vermont and The College of the Pacific to organize their marching bands. When President Wilson heroically returned from signing the Treaty of Versailles in July, 1919, Stannard was selected to lead combined Army Bands at his arrival ceremony.  When General Pershing returned home from Europe, Stannard led the First Division Band at the arrival ceremony.  

 In January, 1922, General John J. Pershing after returning from Europe ordered an Army band similar to those he experienced in Europe during the War. The first Bandmaster was a local Washington D.C. place filler.  A commission was set up by Pershing to competitively find a candidate to be the first “Leader” of the Band.  In 1923, Stannard won the competition and was immediately promoted from Warrant Officer to Captain.  The Captain immediately made his mark with the Band playing on various syndicated national radio shows. Stannard was selected to conduct consolidated Army Bands at the funeral of President Warren Harding his first year.  Later in 1930, he would conduct the Army Band at the funeral of President William Howard Taft.  The Band under his direction played at the inaugurations of President Coolidge, Hoover and Roosevelt.  He took the Band on tours of France, Spain and made 5 U.S. Tours before his retirement in 1935.  In 1926 the Band was selected the official band of the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Exposition.  In 1928 he was awarded the Peruvian Order of the Sun for arranging Incan melodies for Band.  When the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was completed in 1932, Stannard led the Band at the first ceremony.

Stannard was also a composer, his most famous work was, “The Washington Evening Star March”, a competing march to Sousa’s earlier “Washington Post March”.  Other works include: the “Captain R. W. Lewis March”, the “Brigidier General H. H. Bandholtz March”, “The Future Farmer March” and “The National U.S. High School March”.  Composer Roland Seitz, Sousa’s biggest competitor and known as “The Parade Music Prince” wrote the “W.J. Stannard March” in his honor.  We understand The “Washington Evening Star March” is still performed with some regularity by the band at Fort Belvoir.      

Stannard retired in 1935 and passed away at Walter Reed in 1950 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

A rare autographed photograph of the first United States Army Band Leader.

Note, while the autographed photograph is near mint, the portrait has some mild creasing.


Phone: 212-860-5541