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Marches Madness thanks to taxes

I'm not a basketball fan, but I am a sports fan, so I know millions of folks -- including President Obama, who filled out his bracket picks before heading off to official business in Israel -- are following the men's NCAA tournament right now.

In the spirit of March Madness, as the annual college basketball tourney is known, NPR has come up with a feature for music fans, specifically those of us who love marches.

The public radio blog Deceptive Cadence is featuring those distinctive compositions in a feature it calls Marches Madness.

I was in the band, concert as well as the one that took the field at football game halftimes, back in Kermit High School, so I know marches well.

And some of the hubby's and my fondest memories of our years in the Washington, D.C., area were Fourth of July celebrations punctuated by John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" (performed in the video below by the U.S. Marine Corp Band) as fireworks colored the sky over the National Mall.

But until today, I did not know that marches and other music performed publicly has a tax connection.

According to Deceptive Cadence:

In 1921, Iowa passed the Municipal Band Law, which enabled towns under 40,000 to implement a modest tax to support community bands. Karl King, best known for the rousing circus marches Barnum & Bailey's Favorite and Invictus, wrote his Iowa Band Law March to celebrate its passage.

From that Midwestern beginning, says the blog, public funding for community musicians spread to 33 states and a few other countries.

So the next time you're enjoying music in your local park, thank those tuneful turn-of-the-century tax law writers.

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