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David Wallis Reeves

David Wallis Reeves (February 14, 1838 – March 8, 1900), also known as D. W. Reeves or Wally Reeves, was an American composer, cornetist, and bandleader. He developed the American march style, later made famous by the likes of John Philip Sousa, and his innovations include adding a countermelody to the American march form in 1876. Sousa called Reeves "The Father of Band Music in America", and stated he wished he himself had written Reeves' "Second Regiment Connecticut National Guard March". Charles Ives also borrowed from the "Second Connecticut" on four occasions.

Reeves was born on February 14, 1838, in Oswego, New York. In the early 1850s, he joined the Oswego band as an alto horn player, but soon moved to cornet, the instrument for which he would become famous. He occasionally performed with Jules Levy, another famous cornetist of the period. In 1871, he married Sarah Blanding. Blanding had a daughter from a previous marriage, and they were later to have a son, David W. Reeves, Jr.

Reeves was a cornetist with the Dodworth Band of New York before being recruited by the American Brass Band of Providence, Rhode Island in 1866. He joined the ensemble on February 17, and was elected its leader on April 9. His initial compensation was $600 per year, plus the proceeds of one concert, in return for which he agreed to conduct the band on all occasions. He eventually added woodwinds to the formerly all-brass band, which became known as Reeves' American Band. It was known as one of the best marching bands in the country during his tenure. In the 1870s, he created the first local orchestra in Providence, the Providence Symphony Orchestra. In 1892, he accepted the directorship of Patrick Gilmore's Twenty-Second New York Regiment band after Gilmore's death, but returned to the American Band after a year. Later in the 1890s, he served as a judge for the New York Volunteer Firemen's Association's band competitions.

In 1878, Reeves led a performance of H.M.S. Pinafore, using a boat for the stage, which Arthur Sullivan took note of.

Early in 1900, he contracted Bright's disease. He died on March 8, 1900. His funeral service took place at the First Baptist Church in America, where he had frequently led the American Band as part of Brown University's Commencement ceremonies, and included a performance of his Immortalis by the American Band. Sousa sent 200 roses in his memory. He was buried at Swan Point Cemetery with Masonic honors.

By the time of his death in 1900, he had composed over 100 works. In 1926, a marble fountain was built as a memorial to Reeves in Roger Williams Park in Providence.

Birth and Death Data: Born February 14th, 1838 (Oswego), Died Providence

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1900 - 1938

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, arranger

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 50 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Berliner 01284 7-in. Before June 1900 The night alarm Metropolitan Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]284 7-in. 1/19/1901 The night alarm Metropolitan Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]284 10-in. 5/1/1902 The night alarm Metropolitan Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]284 12-in. 5/1/1902 The night alarm Metropolitan Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1217 7-in. 1/29/1902 Second Regiment Connecticut National Guard march Kendle's First Regiment Band Band, with drum solo composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1217 10-in. 1/29/1902 Second Connecticut march Kendle's First Regiment Band Band, with drum solo composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1432 7-in. 6/18/1902 United Service passing in review Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1432 10-in. 6/18/1902 United Service passing in review Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]1432 12-in. 6/18/1902 United Service passing in review Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1743 7-in. 11/11/1902 Second Connecticut march American Band of Providence Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1743 10-in. 11/11/1902 Second Connecticut march American Band of Providence Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]2211 12-in. 1901-03 Narragansett march Victor Grand Concert Band Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3028 10-in. 2/28/1901 Second Connecticut march Kendle's First Regiment Band Band composer  
Victor A-207 7-in. 7/28/1903 The night alarm Metropolitan Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor B-207 10-in. 7/28/1903 The night alarm Metropolitan Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor A-210 7-in. 7/29/1903 Second Connecticut march Clarke's Band of Providence Band composer  
Victor B-210 10-in. 7/29/1903 Second Connecticut march Clarke's Band of Providence Band composer  
Victor C-210 12-in. 7/29/1903 Second Connecticut march Clarke's Band of Providence Band composer  
Victor A-273 7-in. 8/14/1903 United Service passing in review Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor B-273 10-in. 8/14/1903 United Service passing in review Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor C-273 12-in. 8/14/1903 United Service passing in review Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor A-311 7-in. 8/18/1903 United Service passing in review Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor B-311 10-in. 8/18/1903 The United Services passing in review Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor C-311 12-in. 8/18/1903 The United Services passing in review Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor A-1603 7-in. 7/14/1904 Second Connecticut march Kendle's First Regiment Band Band composer  
(Results 1-25 of 50 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Reeves, David Wallis," accessed September 25, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106132.

Reeves, David Wallis. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 25, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106132.

"Reeves, David Wallis." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 25 September 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106132

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