Please DONATE to help with maintenance and upkeep of the Wind Repertory Project!

Rolling Thunder March (ed Fennell)

From Wind Repertory Project
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Henry Fillmore

Henry Fillmore (ed. Frederick Fennell)

General Info

Year: 1916 / 1982
Duration: c. 1:55
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts - $90.00   |   Score Only - $15.00

For further availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Full Score
Eb Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone I-II
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Cornets I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium (Bass Clef & Treble Clef)
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbal
  • Field Drum
  • Snare Drum


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

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

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings



To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 31 January 2020
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Hunter Kopczynski, conductor) – 24 October 2019
  • Bixby High School (Oklahoma) Wind Ensemble (Jeremy W. Parker, conductor) - 6 May 2019
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 18 April 2019
  • Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) Wind Ensemble (Craig A. Hancock, conductor) – 15 April 2018
  • American Chamber Winds (United States) (David Waybright, conductor) – 18 July 2017 - WASBE Conference (Utrecht, Netherlands)
  • United States Army Band (Ft. Myer, Va.) (Andrew Esch, conductor) – 11 March 2017
  • Dallas (Texas) Winds (Jerry Junkin, conductor) – 23 February 2016
  • Charlottesville (Va.) Municipal Band (Stephen E, Layman, conductor) - 2 June 2015
  • San Jose (Calif.) State University Wind Ensemble (Edward C. Harris, conductor) - 17 April 2015
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Wind Orchestra (Donald Peterson, conductor) - 5 March 2015
  • University City (Mo.) Summer Band (Tom Poshak, conductor) - 2012

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


  • Fillmore, H.; Fennell, F. (1982). Rolling Thunder: March [score]. Fillmore Music House: New York.