Whether you start the song by singing "Let martial note in triumph float" or "Be kind to your web-footed friends," the Stars and Stripes Forever is one of the best marches ever written. One swells with patriotism when it is played. Indeed, it is the National March of the United States of America. It is especially appropriate for listening to on the Fourth of July when 76 percent of us celebrate the Declaration of Independence. The other 24 percent of us don't know what we are celebrating according to a Marist survey of knowledge about history. When I hear Stars and Stripes, I think of John Philip Sousa. And when I think of John Phillip Sousa, I think of Bill Bell, the late, great tuba player who was on the Indiana University School of Music faculty from 1961-1971, the last ten years that he taught. Bell in his prime was considered the world's best tuba player and in 1921 he joined Sousa's band. I attended an annual German band concert directed by Bell when I was in graduate school at Indiana University Bloomington. At the end of the concert, Bell always brought his tuba player to the front of the stage because the player would be featured in the last tune, Stars and Stripes to honor Bell's time with Sousa. The player that I heard that day lived in a tepee outside Bloomington, Ind. and wore a clip-on tie--clipped on to his shirt pocket. His appearance was a bit grubby and I wondered why Bell was featuring him. I soon found out. When the march got to the point that a piccolo plays the obbligato, the tuba player played it. Wow! That guy could play. I never imagine a tuba player could play notes so fast. If you Google Bill Bell and tuba you will find plenty of interesting material but not on the Jacobs School of Music website (Indiana University). It is too bad that Indiana University school websites typically do not keep historic bios of faculty. The late Harvey G. Phillips, a world renowned tuba player and one of Bell's students, wrote a good bio of Bell. I had learned of Bill Bell through my boss and friend, the late Ralph Veal. Ralph was completing his undergraduate degree in music after a 19 year hiatus and took private tuba lessons from Bell in preparation for his senior recital. The next time you hear Stars and Stripes, try to imagine a tuba player playing the piccolo part. It is a stretch. I still remember that performance 40 years later. Happy Fourth of July!