Rolling Thunder March (arr Foster Jr)

From Wind Repertory Project
Henry Fillmore

Henry Fillmore (ed. Foster Jr.)

General Info

Year: 1916 / 2015
Duration: c. 2:45
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Wingert-Jones Publications
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $50.00   |   Score Only (print) - $6.00


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Written in 1916, Rolling Thunder was dedicated to Ed Hicker, presumably a trombonist, since the march is sub-titled, a trombone ace. Since its composition, Rolling Thunder has been used for diverse circus acts, including high sway poles, elephant acts, and Roman rides, at rodeos to generate excitement, and on concert programs as a show-stopper. Rolling Thunder is not only one of Henry Fillmore’s most exciting marches, it is also one of his most difficult.

-Program Note from The Grand Band Companion

Rolling Thunder is a “circus march” featuring the trombone section, written by Henry Fillmore in 1916. This famous march has long been a showcase for upper level bands, and now younger groups can add this thrilling work to concert programs. Carefully written, it contains all the excitement and flash of the original in a setting that is both accessible and entertaining.

- Program Note from North Hardin High School Wind Symphony concert program, 17 December 2015

The fast-paced march Rolling Thunder draws upon two important influences in Fillmore’s life: an early involvement in the circus and a lifelong fascination with the trombone. When the young Fillmore displayed an interest in the slide trombone, his father, a conservative partner in a religious music publishing firm, declared the instrument uncouth, sinful, and off-limits to his son. Fillmore’s mother snuck her son a secondhand instrument to practice in an attempt to keep him out of bigger trouble. The deception was serendipitous since Fillmore became an innovative composer for the instrument, writing signature trombone rags and often featuring the trombone section as he does in Rolling Thunder.

Fillmore’s conservative father also likely disagreed with his decision to join the circus, but this choice also resulted in innovative music. Fillmore’s role as circus bandmaster gave him the opportunity to amplify the circus experience for the audience by using music to intensify suspense or heighten the excitement. A fast and exciting show-stopper like Rolling Thunder makes hearts race and feet tap, whether in the circus ring or the concert hall.

- Program Note from U.S. Marine Band concert program, 28 July 2016

Rolling Thunder is a great circus march, as breath-taking in its excitement as the action feats by horsemen riding full tilt around the narrow confines of a sawdust track under canvas. The track is known in the circus as the Hippodrome and the music played by the band to accompany the riding is invariably exciting and driving in its manner, and it is always played at an appropriate breath-taking speed.

- Program Note by Frederick Fennell

N.B. This 2015 Grade III arrangement is by Robert E. Foster Jr. It should not be confused with the 2014 Grade V arrangement of Rolling Thunder by Robert E. Foster, the father, published by Carl Fischer.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Courage (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Clark) (1919/2003/2012)
  • His Honor March (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Clark) (1934/2014)

All Wind Works


None discovered thus far.