The Clarksburg Telegram of Clarksburg, West Virginia in its issue of February 11, 1898 carried an article regarding requests that had been handed in at concerts of the Sousa Band.
On one occasion, a note described as dainty read, “A society lady requests that you play the overture to “Tannahauser” [referring to “Tannhauser” by Richard Wager] as an encore.” This contrasted with a more blunt note from a Southern concert that read, “Damn Wagner. Play the ‘Liberty Bell!'”
Another note from the St. Louis Exposition requested, “This young lady with me requests that you play your charming composition ‘The Ice Cold Cadets.'” Sousa reckoned that it was a reference to his work, “The High School Cadets.”
A request contained this note, “Bandmaster Sousa: Please inform me what is the name of those two instruments that look like gas pipes.” Another lady asked, in all seriousness, to hear a “coronet solo by your coronetist.”
At a matinee, Sousa received this request, “Dear Sir: Please play “Love’s Old Sweet Song.’ I’ve got my girl almost to the sticking point, and that will fetch her ’round, sure.”