Henry Fillmore

  • James Henry Fillmore, Jr. was born in Cincinnati on December 3, 1881 into a family of composers and publishers of religious music. A somewhat incorrigible boy, he was bored with church music. He preferred more exciting music such as that used in circuses. In fact, her ran off with circuses at least three times. This caused no small amount of consternation in the family, which had a dignified English-American bearing (he was a second cousin, twice removed, of President Millard B. Fillmore), so he received much of his education in a military school.

    He graduated from the Miami Military Institute in 1901. Frustrated at being unable to influence the Fillmore Brothers to branch into the publication of band music, he left home. He married his secret sweetheart Mabel Jones, a vaudeville dancer, and joined the Lemon Brothers circus as a trombone player. He returned to Cincinnati and the publishing company after one season, but it was several years before the family accepted Mabel.

    Gradually, Henry persuaded his father and uncles to publish more band music. The firm eventually became a leading band house, primarily because the music of Henry Fillmore and his seven aliases had become very popular. Another factor was his expertise as an arranger and editor.

    Meanwhile, he was heavily involved with bands in the Cincinnati area. Under his leadership, the Syrian Temple Shrine Band became America’s finest fraternal band. Industrialist Powell Crosley enticed him to organize a professional band, and it, too, achieved widespread fame through broadcasts over the powerful radio station WLW. One novel feature of the programs was Henry’s exceptional dog, Mike the “radio hound,” who barked at predetermined spots in the music.

    Henry’s music was now being played by bands throughout North America and abroad, and his intense schedule as composer, arranger, music editor, and conductor began to take its toll. In his late fifties, he developed a serious heart problem. Doctors told him his life expectancy would be less than one year unless he retired. They also suggested that he move to a warmer climate.

    He moved to Miami with the expectation of living only a short time. However, he was revived by the Florida sunshine and lived almost two more decades. Much of his renewed energy could be attributed to a new life as mentor of school musicians throughout the state of Florida. He loved the kids, who adopted him universally as their “Uncle Henry.”

    His activities in the music education field soon became a serious commitment. One of his old friends was John J. Heney, a noted former percussionist of Sousa’s band, who was obsessed with raising the level of school bands in Florida. Together they traveled about the state encouraging school officials to start bands. The end result of their extraordinary promotional efforts was the creation of three dozen new high school bands.

    An especially loving relationship developed between Henry and the band at the University of Miami. He was named “permanent guest conductor” and accompanied the band on trips, including three to Central America. In appreciation of his concern – and his generosity – the university awarded him with an honorary doctorate.

    Despite the warnings of doctors, Henry became even more active in the band movement. He was elected president of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and held the organization together through the years of World War II when travel was restricted. And he seldom passed up a chance to be present at functions of the Florida Bandmasters Association.

    As might be expected, he paid the price for not heeding his doctor’s advice. After being weakened by a series of illnesses, the big heart of Henry Fillmore finally gave way. He died peacefully in his sleep on December 7, 1956. His body was cremated, and his ashes were interred with those of his beloved Mabel at the Woodlawn Park Cemetery in Miami.

    The band world had lost a giant, but his music will live as long as there are bands to play it. Benefiting most from his legacy was the University of Miami Band, to which he bequeathed most of his estate. The Henry Fillmore Band Hall with its Fillmore Museum is a symbol of that legacy.


  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
    Band Compositions
    R1524 Americans We March
    Marching Band
    R68 The Footlifter (March)
    Marching Band
    CFD6 His Honor
    Concert Band
    XPS7 His Honor
    (March)
    Concert Band
    R45 His Honor (March)
    Marching Band
    CB146 The Klaxon
    (March)
    Concert Band
    R1242 Lassus Trombone
    Marching Band
    20305 Lassus Trombone
    5:00 Solo trombone.; 1 1 2 1, 2A.Sax., Ten. Sax. – 2 2 3 0; Perc. Str.
    R1407 Military Escort March
    Marching Band
    CB148 Our Own Red, White and Blue
    March and One Step
    Concert Band
    CFD1 A Perfect Union
    51:55 Concert Band
    R52 Reveille (Harmonized)/The Star-Spangled Banner (The Trumpeting Arrangement)
    Marching Band
    CB147 Rolling Thunder
    (March)
    Concert Band
    20306 Teddy Trombone
    5:00 Solo tbn.; 1 1 2 1 – 2 2 1 0; 3Perc. Str.
    CB144 Teddy Trombone
    A Brother to Miss Trombone
    Concert Band
    CB145 The U.S. of A. Armed Forces
    Review March
    Concert Band
    CFD4 Vigor
    Concert Band
    Band Arrangements
    Solo
    FL231 Ham Trombone
    Trombone, Piano
    FL660 Henry Fillmore’s Lassus Trombone
    Trombone, Piano
    FL280 Lassus Trombone
    Trombone, Piano
    FL290 Lucky Trombone
    Trombone, Piano
    Chamber Music
    CFD2 Landmarks
    Winds
    FL663 Lassus Trombone
    Brass Quintet
    FH0284 Lassus Trombone
    Flute Ensemble
    Books
    O5321 14 Best-Selling Pieces From The Band Series
    Flute
    JB40 Andrew Balent March Spectacular
    Concert Band
    JB47 Andrew Balent March Spectacular
    Concert Band
    JB41 March Spectacular
    Concert Band
    JB45 March Spectacular
    Tenor I
    JB46 March Spectacular
    Concert Band
    JB32 March Spectacular
    Concert Band
    JB33 March Spectacular
    Flute
    JB34 March Spectacular
    Oboe
    JB35 March Spectacular
    Concert Band
    JB36 March Spectacular
    Concert Band
    JB37 March Spectacular
    Concert Band
    JB39 March Spectacular
    Concert Band
    JB42 March Spectacular
    Trumpet I
    JB43 March Spectacular
    Trumpet II
    JB44 March Spectacular
    Horn
    JB49 March Spectacular
    Percussion
    JB50 March Spectacular
    Concert Band
    WF41 More March Melodies
    Alto Saxophone
    JB48 Old Comrades
    Tuba
    WF39 Playing With The Band – Classics
    Flute
    WF40 Playing With The Band – Classics
    Clarinet
    WF42 Playing With The Band – Classics
    Trumpet
    WF43 Playing With The Band – Classics
    Tenor
    O5320 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Concert Band
    O5322 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Oboe
    O5323 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Clarinet I
    O5324 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Clarinet II
    O5325 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Alto Clarinet
    O5326 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Bass Clarinet
    O5327 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Alto Saxophone
    O5328 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Tenor Saxophone
    O5329 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Baritone Saxophone
    O5330 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Trumpet, Cornet
    O5331 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Concert Band
    O5332 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Horn
    O5333 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Tenor I
    O5334 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Tenor II, Euphonium, Bassoon
    O5335 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Euphonium
    O5336 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Tuba
    O5337 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Percussion I
    O5338 Sounds Spectacular Band Folio
    Percussion II

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