In Storm and Sunshine (arr Curnow)

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J.C. Heed

J C Heed (arr. James Curnow)

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General Info

Year: 1885 / 1986
Duration: c. 2:55
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Jenson
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Composed in 1885, In Storm and Sunshine is one of the most enduring circus marches, or “screamers”. Heed was a gifted young cornetist and bandmaster from New Jersey. Composed when he was only 23 years old, it is uncertain whether In Storm and Sunshine was created specifically for a circus, but has nonetheless established itself as a circus favorite and stands as the best known of Heed’s sixty marches. The quick tempo and pounding rhythms are meant to accompany the chaos and thundering hooves of four-footed animals running into a circus arena instead of the steady, regimented pulse of men marching.

Presumably, the title refers to minor and major modes, hence the “storms” and the “sunshine.” Although nearly all of Heed’s marches were written after In Storm and Sunshine, it has remained the most popular.

- Program note by The Woodlands High School Wind Ensemble concert program, 21 December 2012

In Storm and Sunshine was written when the composer was only 23; it has remained his most popular march to the present time. The work has all of the ingredients for a great march: a strong attention-getting introduction, dynamic contrast from fff down to a bar of silence, technical melodies for all of the wind instruments, and a tune in the last strain that everyone can remember. Whether or not Heed wrote this march for the circus is not known, but it has been a big-top favorite, as well as a concert highlight, for most of the 20th century.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

In circus parlance, a “screamer” is a perilously fast march written to accentuate the excitement and danger of the Big Top. In Storm and Sunshine was one of John Clifford Heed’s first marches and remains his most well-known.

Heed was an exceptional cornetist and bandmaster from New Jersey. Written in 6/8, the opening unison passage thunders into a chaotic first strain which features both extreme low and high registers. Presumably, the title refers to minor and major modes, hence the “storms” and the “sunshine.”

- Program Note from Austin Symphonic Band concert program, 12 November 2019


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro) Wind Ensemble (Reed Thomas, conductor) – 8 November 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 277.