The legendary American bandmaster Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore (1829-1892) was born in Ballygar, County Galway, in Ireland, and emigrated to the United States in 1848. He settled in Boston, and soon established himself in the area as a virtuoso cornet player and bandleader, directing the Suffolk, Boston Brigade and Salem bands. In 1858 he founded "Gilmore's Grand Boston Band" and rapidly earned a reputation as one of the foremost bandmasters in the nation, leading his band on several tours across the country. At the start of the Civil War he enlisted his band in the Union Army with the 24th Massachusetts Volunteers, and shortly afterwards Governor Andrews tasked him with training and organizing all of the Massachusetts Militia bands. After the war, General Banks asked him to organize a peace celebration. Gilmore relished his new role as an impresario, staging the large-scale National Peace Jubilee in New Orleans (1869). He went on to present an even larger-scale World Peace Jubilee in Boston in 1872, an 18-day extravaganza celebrating the end of the Franco-Prussian War and featuring 20,000 chorus members and 2000 instrumentalists, including a number of famous orchestras and bands from Europe. He moved to New York in 1873 to become the bandmaster of the acclaimed 22nd Regiment Band, a position he held for the rest of his life. Gilmore continued to organize and present concerts on a grandiose scale, performing at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in 1886 and initiating the first "Promenade Concert in America" - the forerunner of the Boston Pops. In 1888 he and the 22nd Regiment Band started the tradition of the annual New Year's celebrations in Times Square.
John Philip Sousa called Gilmore "the Father of the American Band." His major contributions to American band music include expansion of band instrumentation, new repertoire, and the popularization of the concert band. Up to the 1850s American bands had been primarily brass marching bands, but with the 1858 founding of his own band, Gilmore began to follow the trend of European bands by adding woodwinds. By the time he and his band toured Europe in 1878 he had expanded his band to 66 members, with 1/3 clarinets, 1/3 other woodwinds and 1/3 brasses, laying the foundation for the present-day American concert band. He also expanded the repertoire by arranging standard classical works for band. Gilmore wrote a number of marches, most under the pseudonym of Louis Lambert. Today his two most popular works are "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", written after the Battle of Gettysburg, and the the present work. The "Famous 22nd Regiment March" was written in 1874, the second year of Gilmore's 22 year tenure with the 22nd Regimental Band, and was first published by Carl Fischer in 1882. Later editions were published with amended instrumentation, but in this welcome new edition Richard Sargeant pays tribute to Gilmore's original instrumentation, scoring it for piccolo, flute, oboe, 3 B-flat clarinets plus E-flat and B-flat bass clarinet, bassoon, SATB saxophones, 4 cornets, 4 horns, 2 trombones and bass trombone, euphonium, basses, snare drum, cymbals and bass drum.