program notes by composition > C > The Circus Bee

The Circus Bee

Henry Fillmore

The Circus Bee is a circus march or “screamer.” It is a celebration of sorts for the fact that Henry Fillmore (1881–1956) and his father, who managed their publishing business, finally agreed that Henry could publish his music even though it did not meet the elder Fillmore's standard of being religious music. It is named after an imaginary circus newspaper and reflects Fillmore's lifelong interest in circuses and his varied experiences while touring with five different big top shows.

Henry Fillmore was a prolific composer of waltzes, foxtrots, hymns, novelty numbers and overtures. He is best-known for his marches and screamers. Born in Cincinnati, he mastered piano, guitar, violin, and flute, and the slide trombone, which at first he played in secret, as his conservative religious father considered it an uncouth and sinful instrument. He traveled widely as a circus bandmaster with his wife, an exotic dancer, and directed the Shriners Temple Band.

Last updated on May 8, 2019 by Palatine Concert Band