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Arthur W. Lehman, 91

Arthur W. Lehman, 91, Retired Sergeant Played Euphonium With the Marine Band

Arthur W. Lehman, 91, a retired master gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps, joined the Marine Band in 1947 and became known as a master of the euphonium.
Arthur W. Lehman, 91, a retired master gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps, joined the Marine Band in 1947 and became known as a master of the euphonium. (Marine Band)
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By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 28, 2009

Arthur W. Lehman, 91, a retired master gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps who spent 24 years as a member of the Marine Band and who was among the most influential euphonium virtuosos of his time, died June 19 at his home in Camp Springs. He had pulmonary fibrosis.

Sgt. Lehman joined the Marine Band in 1947 and quickly became recognized as a preeminent master of the euphonium, a valved brass instrument that resembles a small tuba. He often performed as a soloist in concerts in Washington, at the White House, on radio broadcasts and on the band's annual tours throughout the United States.

"He was a very influential player nationally and internationally," said Marine Band historian Mike Ressler. "Because of his exposure as a soloist, he really had a profound influence on how the euphonium is played."

Sgt. Lehman helped spearhead a change from double-belled euphoniums to a single-belled instrument that produces a richer, more resonant sound. He also developed a new form of mouthpiece for the euphonium. Both advances were adopted by musicians in military bands, marching bands and concert bands worldwide.

The Marine Band, dubbed "the President's Own" by Thomas Jefferson, was formed in 1798 and is the nation's oldest continuously operating professional musical organization.

From 1956 to 1964, Sgt. Lehman was the band's personnel manager during concert tours and sometimes served as an assistant recording engineer. He retired from the band in 1971.

Arthur Wismer Lehman was born Sept. 24, 1917, in Doylestown, Pa., and began playing brass instruments when he was 10. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1940 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. After being drafted into the Army during World War II, he was assigned to work at an airplane factory in Pennsylvania.

From 1944 to 1946, he played euphonium in an Army band before joining the Marine Band a year later.

Mr. Lehman later performed for 24 years with the National Concert Band of America, an ensemble made up primarily of retired military musicians. He gave private lessons to service band members and other students of the euphonium and published a two-volume instructional book, "The Art of Euphonium Playing," and a companion work, "The Brass Musician." He also wrote unpublished memoirs about his musical career.

Survivors include his wife of 17 years, Frieda DuPaul Lehman of Camp Springs.


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