Brooke, Thomas Preston
- Vincent J. Novara
(b Dubuque, IA, 1856; d Chicago, IL, Sept 9, 1921). American band composer and conductor. Early accounts indicate that Brooke left Dubuque as a young man to study theory and harmony in Boston (institution not known). While a student, Brooke was invited to conduct two of his marches with Patrick Gilmore’s band. Soon after, Brooke won an audition as a trombonist and performed with Gilmore’s band for two years. Brooke resigned in 1880, and, aside from returning to Dubuque to marry and compose, little is known of his activities before establishing the Chicago Marine Band in 1893. Brooke’s band performed a series of winter concerts in Chicago, and spent summers touring the mid-western and eastern United States and Canada. His conducting career earned him the title of “Popular Music King,” due to his innovative programming of ragtime and other music that appealed to the general public, in addition to serious classical repertoire. Brooke explored additional business ventures from ...