Joseph John Richards (aka J.J.Richards (1878 - 1956) was born in Cwmavon, Wales. His family moved to the USA in 1882, settling in Peterson, Kansas. He began learning brass instruments at the age of ten, progressing rapidly, playing with various local bands.
At the age of nineteen he was appointed leader of the Norton-Jones Circus Band, beginning a long career as bandmaster with numerous ensembles. His first composition appeared in print in 1899, during this period he began writing marches and other works and many of his early works were first performed by the bands that he led. His career as a circus bandleader culminated with his directorship of the Ringling Bros. Circus Band from 1911 to 1918.
During the circus off-seasons, he attended Kansas State Teachers College and the American Conservatory of Music. Beginning in the early 1920s, he taught school music and directed bands in numerous Illinois towns throughout 1944.
In 1945, following the death of Herbert L. Clarke, he was appointed director of the famous Long Beach, California Municipal Band, a post he held until 1950. Subsequently, he returned to Illinois in the spring and summer to lead Mount Morris Band while wintering in Long Beach.
He died in 1956 in Long Beach. He was highly regarded by his peers. He was elected to the American Bandmasters Association in 1939 and served as its president in 1948. He composed well over one hundred works that were published.
On this week's show we celebrate the music of J.J.Richards by playing his march Midwest featured by the Illinois Brass Band .