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Charles Ives, Intercollegiate March, 1892
Performed at William McKinley's Inauguration,
March 4, 1897

Charles Ives Papers
Gilmore Music Library

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Charles Ives, Intercollegiate March

Charles Ives composed this march for the Danbury Band in 1892, while he was still in high school. It was published in 1896, and in 1897 the combined forces of the New Haven Band and the Washington Marine Band performed it at William McKinley’s inauguration. By then, Ives was a student at Yale (Class of 1898). This would have been a remarkable honor for an undergraduate, but decades later, Ives told Henry and Sidney Cowell that his march was “no good.” Like so many of Ives’s works, the Intercollegiate March quotes music that his listeners would have recognized, in this case the once-popular song “Annie Lisle,” which was already better known as the alma mater of Cornell University.

This is not the only Ives piece associated with McKinley’s bid for the presidency in 1896; he also wrote a campaign song called “William Will.”
In 1905, Ives’s Yale professor, Horatio Parker, composed a choral piece called Union and Liberty for the inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt, who had become president following McKinley’s assassination in 1901. The Horatio Parker Papers (which are also held at the Gilmore Music Library) contain several versions of this work, as well as Parker’s correspondence with the Chairman of the Committee on Music for the inauguration.