Although primarily known for his marches, Sousa composed 11 suites, usually inspired by something he saw or read. In this case, the first movement, "By the Light of the Polar Star", came to him while riding a train through South Dakota late one night; he associated the Jingle Bells lyrics with it. The second movement depicts a tropical scene, inspired by an ad Sousa saw for the ship, Southern Cross. The final movement was inspired as he gazed at the heavens and recalled an old song about a soldier and a beautiful woman, bringing to mind the legend of lovers Mars (the god of war) and Venus (the goddess of love). The song evokes feelings of love, sadness, and glory as the soldier goes off to war. --James Huff 14:01, May 29, 2007 (EDT) (from the program notes of The Claremont Winds, submitted with permission)