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Raymond L. Flynn

Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore
Musician, composer
(1829-1892)

Patrick S. Gilmore was a 19th century musician, composer, and showman who took brass band music in America to a whole new level. Born in Ballygar, County Galway, Gilmore came to Boston in 1849 and immediately established himself as an exceptional cornet player and band leader. Like many Irish he enlisted when the American Civil War broke out and became Bandmaster of the Union Army. He composed, arranged and self-published several songs that became best-sellers during the war, including Good News from Home, We are Coming Father Abraham, and most famously, When Johnny Comes Marching Home.

After the war Gilmore organized a National Peace Jubilee in Boston in 1869, held in the Copley Square area of Boston. The Jubilee featured 1,000 musicians, 10,000 singers and was attended by President Ulysses S. Grant. Three years later Gilmore staged an International Peace Jubilee that doubled the musicians and singers, and featured Austrian waltz king Johann Strauss, making his first American appearance.

Gilmore historian Michael Cummings notes that Gilmore organized Boston's first July 4th concert, initiated the New Year's Eve countdown in New York City, and played at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty.

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