Henry Fillmore

Henry Fillmore (December 3, 1881 – December 7, 1956) was an American musician, composer, and publisher. A prolific composer, Fillmore wrote over 250 tunes and arranged orchestrations for hundreds more; he also published a great number of tunes under various pseudonyms. While best known for march music and screamers, he also wrote waltzes, foxtrots, hymns, novelty numbers, overtures and waltzes. Fillmore was born in Cincinnati, Ohio as the eldest of 5 children. In his youth he mastered piano, guitar, violin, and flute — as well as the slide trombone, which at first he played in secret, as his conservative religious father believed it an uncouth and sinful instrument. Fillmore was also a singer for his church choir as a boy.

He began composing at 18, with his first published march “Higham”, named after a line of brass instruments.

Fillmore entered the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 1901. After this he traveled around the United States as a circus bandmaster with his wife, an exotic dancer named Mabel May Jones. They got married in St Louis.

In the 1920s he was back in Cincinnati, directing the Shriners Temple Band, which he turned into one of the best marching bands in the country. As his composing career flourished, rivals claimed his success was because of his name, not his music's merit. To silence them, he began publishing under pseudonyms, including the humourous "Gus Beans".

In his later life, Fillmore retired to Miami spending much of his time and energy with area schools and the University of Miami music department.