With countless carols and songs, Christmas is most musical of the holidays. Between religious and secular songs, there must be somewhere between nine and ten billion of them, all of which are played endlessly from Halloween through the New Year. Make no mistake, we here are huge fans of Christmas music, and if we were in charge, we would start playing it on July 5 and end on July 3, saving July 4th for second most musical holiday: Independence Day.

While a lot of Christmas music is heard via recordings, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Fourth of July is the day when more people listen to live music than any other.

On bandstands and gazebos, at fireworks shows and parades, and at gatherings small and large all across the country, bands and orchestras perform a playlist of patriotic songs that most of us have known forever. And there is nothing quite like the incomparable ‘Stars and Stripes Forever.’

John Phillip Sousa wrote it on Christmas Day in 1896 and it was published in 1897.  In 1987, Congress  passed an act making it America’s national march.  It’s probably most famous for its featuring of the piccolo section in the final strain.

We’d love to encourage you to sing along whenever you hear it this weekend. You may not know that song has official lyrics, but they are impossible to remember. So you should use these instead.

Be kind to your web footed friends,
For that duck may be somebody’s mother
She lives in a hole in a swamp
Where the weather is always damp
You may think that this is the end:
Well it is, but to prove that we’re all liars
We’re going to sing it again,
But only this time we will sing a little higher

And so you can practice, here is Stars and Stripes Forever, performed by just about the best band in the world. Happy 4th!!