Kenneth Alford

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Birthday
21, 1881
Birthplace
England
Death Date
May 15, 1945 (64)
Birth Sign
Pisces
Birthday
21, 1881
Birthplace
England
Death Date
May 15, 1945 (64)

About

Born Frederick Joseph Ricketts and better known by the professional name Kenneth J. Alford, this composer of military marching band music wrote such famous pieces as The Vanished Army, The Voice of the Guns, and Colonel Bogey. His compositions made the saxophone a fixture in military bands.

Before Fame

When he was just fourteen years old, he joined the band of the Royal Irish Regiment. Later, after graduating from the Royal Military School of Music, he moved to South Africa and became the 2nd battalion bandleader for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders infantry regiment.

Trivia

In 1921, he turned down an opportunity to rise through the Royal Army's ranks in order to continue his musical career. He maintained his low military status, but happily led the Royal Marines band.

Family Life

His marriage to Annie ("Nan") Holmes resulted in four sons (Kenneth, Jose, Gordon, and Leo) and two daughters (Paula and Sheila).

Associated With

He and John Philip Sousa were both important early 20th-century composers of marches.

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