Dr. Joseph J. McGrath was born in Oswego, New York on July 4, 1889. He died in Syracuse, New York on January 23, 1968.
He was a graduate of Syracuse University, a student of Composition under Dr. William Berwald, studied organ with August Wiegand, Gaston Dethier and Charles Courboin, and church music under Msgr. L.P. Manzetti.
A Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, he was Organist and Choir Master of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Syracuse, N.Y. for forty years. He was teacher of harmony and composition at Syracuse University and a lecturer at the Catholic University Summer School.
In 1956 Dr. McGrath was the recipient of an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Le Moyne College. In 1958 he was cited by the National Catholic Music Educators Association for outstanding contributions to music and music education, and his Mass of the Blessed Sacrament was awarded the Prize for that year. The National Association of Music Clubs awarded prizes to his Sonata Romantica and an Organ Sonata. His published compositions include more than 100 choral compositions for Catholic Church Services, organ music, a cantata, string quartets and several piano compositions.
On April 17, 1966, he received a special Papal award, the first time such an honor was given in the Syracuse Diocese.
Festal March (Recessional) was published in 1948 by. J. Fisher & Bros. Although there is no indication of such, I/m quite sure that this, and the preceding march (Processional) were written as wedding marches.
You can view these pieces as "just two more marches in C major," or hear them with some of the distinct touches that come from the composer's pen.
McGrath's organ at the cathedral was a 4-manual Roosevelt, not as big as the Hereford organ, and lacking a Solo Tuba or 32' reed, but I have made use of both of these in these performances.
I can't decide which of these two marches I prefer... ;-)