The Karl L. King Municipal Band of Fort Dodge, Iowa

The June 26th concert of the 2016 Summer Concert Series

June 26, 2016


     The Karl L. King Municipal Band of Fort Dodge presented a special concert on Sunday evening, June 26, at the Karl L. King Band Shell in Oleson Park.

Conductor Jerrold P. Jimmerson and Assistant Conductor Dr. David Klee led the Band in a special tribute to former band master Karl L. King on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of his birth in 1891.  This program centered on music written by King for the various circuses he performed with or directed between 1910 through 1918.  When he arrived in Fort Dodge in the fall of 1920, he was already well-known throughout the United States as a composer, Euphonium player, and conductor.


Karl King’s circus career began in 1910 when he joined the Robinson Famous Shows as the Euphonium player.  The opening march, “Robinson’s Grand Entrée”, was written for that show.

In 1911, King joined the Yankee Robinson Circus as the Euphonium player, where the bandmaster was Appolos Woodring van Anda, to whom he composed and dedicated “Woody Van’s March”.

In 1912, King was hired as the Euphonium player for the Sells-Floto Circus, and composed “Princess of India Overture” for that show.

The next season, 1913, King reached the pinnacle of his profession when he was hired as the Euphonium player on the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  Ragtime was the popular music of the day, and he composed “Ragged Rozey” for Charles Rozell, the drummer on that show.

Special performers for this concert were the cornet duet of Tim Miller, Humboldt, and David Swaroff, Dayton, performing King’s 1914 publication, “Wood Nymphs Polka”.

Starting with the 1914 season through the 1916 season, Karl King became the director of the Sells-Floto/Buffalo Bill Wild West Shows.

There was a need for music to fit the various acts, and King wrote “Sells-Floto Triumphal March” and the three-part “Western Sketches Suite” to meet that need.  King and Buffalo Bill became close friends.

During the 1917 and 1918 seasons, King was hired as the bandmaster for the Barnum and Bailey Circus, the top job in the country at that time.  He met a variety of performers and wrote music for their acts.  For aerialist Lillian Leitzel, he composed the waltz “In Old Portugal”; for a group of Chinese acrobats, he wrote the intermezzo “Ung-Kung-Foy-Ya”; and for famous lion tamer Clyde Beatty, he wrote “The Big Cage Galop”.

     This special tribute concert would not be complete without closing by performing Karl King’s masterpiece, the “Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite March”, which he wrote in 1913 at the age of 22 years and dedicated to bandmaster Ned Brill.  This march is one of the best-known and most often recorded and performed marches in the world still today, and has become the march that everyone associates with the maestro Karl L. King.

     The evening closed with our National Anthem.

Thanks to Nancy Olson and Susan Swaroff for these photos.

July 9 - Iowa Municipal Band Festival in Boone

 July 10 Concert

Today's Karl King Band the Karl King Page Online Photo Archive of Fort Dodge Bands