Sun Dance

From Wind Repertory Project
Frank Ticheli

Frank Ticheli

General Info

Year: 1997
Duration: c. 5:10
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manhattan Beach Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $85.00   |   Score Only - $15.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass 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-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


In Parts

  • Trumpet III, m.55 (6/8 bar): Should have concert E-flat, not concert E.

Program Notes

Sun Dance was written to evoke a general feeling of bright joy and was later found to present a more specific impression of a sun-drenched town festival, with various groups of townspeople walking, dancing, sitting in small groups, and generally enjoying the day. The work’s essentially motivic construction is evident throughout, as the song-like and dance-like characteristics are heard in various instruments —- beginning with the solo oboe, responded to by dance rhythms in mellow tones, and continuing through a more lush, lyrical passage at the center of the arch form.

- Program note by Dr. Brian Casey, with credit to the composer

Sun Dance has been described as a sparkling ballet full of light, playful motives and warm melodies. The dance-like transparent score and variety of interesting musical elements are enhanced by a syncopated rhythmic figure that is used as the structural building block for virtually everything in the piece.

Sun Dance was commissioned by the Austin Independent School District for the Silver Anniversary Celebration of the 25th Annual All-City Band Festival, on March 18, 1997.

- Program Note by the Austin (Texas) Symphonic Band concert program, 7 February 2015

Sun Dance was written in 1997 on a commission from the Austin Independent School District to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of their All-City Honor Band Festival, and it was premiered by that group on March 18 of that year. Ticheli writes about the piece:

While composing Sun Dance, I was consciously attempting to evoke a feeling: bright joy. After completing the work, I found that the music began to suggest a more concrete image -- a town festival on a warm, sun-washed day. I imagined townspeople gathered in the park, some in small groups, some walking hand in hand, others dancing to the music played by a small band under a red gazebo. Throughout the composition process, I carefully balanced the songlike and dancelike components of “bright joy.” The oboe’s gentle statement of the main melody establishes the work’s song-like characteristics, while in the work’s middle section, a lyrical theme of even greater passion appears. Several recurring themes are indeed more vocal than instrumental in nature.

The work’s dancelike qualities are enhanced by a syncopated rhythmic figure... The figure is used not only in the main melody, but also as a structural building block for virtually everything in the piece, including other melodies, accompaniment figures, and episodes.

- Program Note from Baylor University Concert Band concert program, 18 February 2018


State Ratings

  • Florida: IV
  • Texas: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Florida State University (Tallahassee, Fla.) Concert Band (Collin Clark, conductor) - 4 April 2023
  • Temple University (Philadelphia, Penn.) Symphonic Band (Matthew Brunner, conductor) - 28 February 2023
  • University of North Texas (Denton) University Band (Jerianne Larson, conductor) - 14 November 2022
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (Jason Gardner, conductor) - 25 April 2022
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Concert Band (David J. Stanley, conductor) - 18 March 2022
  • Lebanon Valley College (Annville, Penn.) Symphonic Band (Christopher J. Heffner, conductor) - 13 May 2021
  • Stephen F. Austin University (Nacogdoches, Tx.) Symphonic Band (Chris Kaatz, conductor) - 25 April 2021
  • University of Texas at Arlington Symphonic Winds (Christopher Evans, conductor) - 14 March 2021
  • University of Central Florida (Orlando) Symphonic Band (Danny Santos, conductor) – 7 October 2020
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, University Band (J. Benjamin Jones, conductor) – 18 February 2020
  • University of California, Los Angeles, Symphonic Band (Janet Kim, conductor) – 6 December 2019
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) University Band (Tom Davoren, conductor) – 4 December 2019
  • West Chester University (Penn.) Concert Band (Tyler Walthers, conductor) – 4 December 2019
  • Shenandoah Conservatory Concert Band (Winchester, Va.) (Keith Taylor, conductor)– 26 October 2019
  • University of Rhode Island (Kingston) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Gene Pollart, conductor) – 20 October 2019
  • Sacramento (Calif.) State University Concert Band (Matthew Morse, conductor) - 16 October 2019
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Hindsley Symphonic Band (Anthony Messina, conductor) – 13 October 2019
  • Cazadero (Calif.) Music Camp JH Session Concert Band (Norman Dea, conductor) - 20 July 2019
  • Cincinnati (Ohio) Youth Wind Ensemble (Colton Thomas, conductor) – 29 April 2019
  • University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) Symphonic Band (Shelby Swanson-Williams, conductor) – 28 April 2019
  • Grand Street (New York) Community Band (Brian Worsdale, conductor) – 23 March 2019
  • Milburn (N.J.) High School Concert Band (Mindy Scheierman, conductor)- 9 January 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Frank Ticheli website Accessed 6 July 2020
  • Miles, Richard B. 2000. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 285-288.