Philadelphia Bandleader Francis "Frank" Johnson, circa 1840.
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An etching of Francis "Frank" Johnson in formal dress, holding a trumpet.

Credit: Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

From the 1820s into the 1840s, Philadelphia trumpeter and composer Frank Johnson led the nation's first great brass band. In 1838, Johnson and his band became the first group of American musicians to play in Europe, and capped off their triumphal tour with a command performance for England's young monarch, Queen Victoria. Returning home, they introduced Americans to Europe's two latest musical crazes, the waltzes of Johan Strauss and promenade concerts.

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