Home » Uncategorized » Thomas M. Carter and the Boston Commandery March

Thomas M. Carter and the Boston Commandery March


Carter, Thomas Morrill (Dec. 24, 1841-Jan. 4, 1934) was an American trombonist, bandmaster, composer, and painter.  He was born on Dec. 24, 1841, in Newton, New Hampshire.  His father was a farmer named Thomas Webster Carter (b. 1800), and his mother was named Ann C. (1812-1851).  In 1860 he was a trombonist and bandleader of the Newburyport Band of Massachusetts. In 1862 he joined the D. C. Hall Band in Boston.  During 1869 and 1870 he was a conductor on the steamer Providence of the Fall River Line.  From 1871 to 1919 he organized and conducted the Carter’s Band.   He lived with his parents in Newton until his marriage in 1875 on Dec. 4 in Woodstock, Vermont, to singer Prudence ‘Percy’ Simpson Hazen (1849-1937).  From 1880 onward, he made his living as a professional musician.  His most famous Masonic march, “Boston Commandery,” was written in 1892. It was dedicated to the regional office of the Freemasonry that was headquartered in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. In the march, Carter used the hymn “Onward Christians Soldiers” by Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan as the melody for the trio, with the woodwinds providing the obbligato above the music.

Other pieces by Carter include Triennial March, Grand Commandery March, and The Banner March.  In 1933, at the age of 92, he was still conducting bands.  He was Freemason and in 1933 directed a ceremony of the Aleppo Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Liverpool , NY.  He died at Boston, Massachusetts, on Jan. 4, 1934. There have been many composers who were Masons; among them are Edward E. Bagley, W. Paris Chambers, Herbert L. Clarke, Merle Evans, Henry Fillmore, Karl L. King, and John Philip Sousa. And Freemasonry also includes in its ranks such musical luminaries as Louis Armstrong, Gene Autry, Count Basie, Ludwig van Beethoven, Irving Berlin, Roy Clark, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, and Paul Whiteman.

My collection includes the following work by Thomas M. Carter:

Boston Commandery (March).

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