Dam Busters March, The

From Wind Repertory Project
Eric Coates

Eric Coates (arr. Douglas E. Wagner)

General Info

Year: 1954 / 2004
Duration: c. 4:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $70.00   |   Score Only - $9.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto 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
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Some of this material is reported from Coates' Eighth Army March, composed during World War II. During the war a special RAF unit was assigned the task of blowing up Ruhr power dams; the unit was soon labeled "The Dam Busters." The success of its daring operations captured the imagination of the British public sufficiently to warrant the production of a 1955 movie on the subject starring Michael Redgrave. Coates' score for the film, including this march, helped greatly to restore the public's interest in his music. The Wagner arrangement celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the composition.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

'The Dambusters concert march is the theme to the popular 1955 film The Dam Busters. Coates had been carrying out an exercise in composing a march that emulated the musical forms of Edward Elgar when he was contacted by the film's producers. However, having a profound dislike of writing film music he turned down their numerous requests; it was not until they told him that this was “a film of national importance” that he agreed, concluding that the piece he had just finished would be perfect overture. The march is also the musical setting for the hymn God is our strength and refuge, based on Psalm 46.

- Program Note from Leeds University Union (England) Concert Band concert program, 6 November 2016


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Tremper High School (Kenosha, Wisc.) Symphonic Winds (Kathryn Ripley, conductor) - 16 May 2018
  • Leeds University Union (England) Concert Band (Connor Marston, conductor) - 19 November 2016
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Symphonic Band (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 26 May 2016
  • Virginia Grand Military Band (Alexandria, Va.) (Loras John Schissel, conductor) - 15 March 2015
  • Montrose (Colo.) Band - 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Coates, E.; Wagner, D. (2004). The Dam Buster[s]: Concert March [score]. Chappell Music: London.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dam_Busters_March The Dam Busters March. Wikipedia.] Accessed 29 July 2023
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 130-131.