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Karl King

Karl L. King (February 21, 1891 – March 31, 1971) was a United States march music bandmaster and composer. He is best known as the composer of "Barnum and Bailey's Favorite".

Karl Lawrence King was born in the village of Paintersville, Ohio. He was the only child of Sandusky S. and Anna Lindsey King. The King family moved to Canton, Ohio when he was eleven, the age he used newspaper carrier income to purchase his first musical instrument – a cornet. He studied with Emile Reinkendorff, director of the Grand Army Band of Canton, on this instrument.

He grew up as a self-taught musician with very little schooling of any kind (he left school after the eighth grade, age fourteen). His only music instruction included assistance from local musicians when he played brass instruments in the Canton Marine Band. He also had four piano lessons and one harmony lesson from musical show director William Bradford. He learned to compose by studying scores. He quit school to learn the printing trade (while composing music at night), but soon switched to playing in and composing for bands.

His first professional positions were in the Thayer Military Band in Canton, directed by William E. Strassner followed by the Neddermeyer Band of Columbus, Ohio, conducted by Fred Neddermeyer. He switched from the cornet to the baritone horn, with Strassner instructing him on that instrument. He also played in the Soldier's Home Band in Danville, Illinois.

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