Brass, Reeds, and Percussion

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion is WLRH’s longest running program, started in 1976 by musician Darryl Adams,  and as the name suggests—is a program about music for the wind band (as opposed to the orchestra).  The program, hosted by John Hightower, features music composed for the instruments of the typical American high school band or the typical American military band. Brass, Reeds and Percussion also provides information about local wind-band performances, players, and history.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion airs every Saturday at 1 p.m. Follow Brass, Reeds and Percussion on Facebook.


Darryl G. Adams, March 30, 1939 - October 18, 2011

Darryl Adams originated Brass, Reeds, and Percussion and used this hourly program to share a love of John Phillips Sousa marches, wind-band peformances, and seasonal celebrations.  (His St. Patrick's Day episode was always a hit.) He hosted the program from 1976 until his death 2011. WLRH's earliest roots thrive thanks to Darryl sharing his energy and talents with our Tennessee Valley listening community. Darryl was a rare champion for music who helped start one of WLRH's greatest traditions. We'll always be proud to have his association.

Local Wind Bands

Twickenham Winds

Brass Band of Huntsville

Rocket City Jazz Orchestra

Old Towne Brass

Huntsville Concert Band

Madison Community Band


Shoals Community Concert Band

The Rocketeers Drum and Bugle Corps


Local College Bands:

Alabama A&M University Band

University of Alabama in Huntsville Wind Ensemble

University of North Alabama Bands



High School Bands and Orchestras ... 

Bob Jones High School Band

Grissom High School Band

Huntsville High School Band

Meridianville Middle School Band

Hazel Green High School Band

Johnson High School Band

James Clemons High School Band

Austin High School Band

Sparkman High School Band

Lee High School Band

Buckhorn High School Band

Madison County High School Band

New Hope High School Band

If your musical organization is not listed on our page, please send contact information to John Hightower at

To arrange to have your event announced on BRP, e-mail John Hightower at or you can submit your non-profit event to our website. To arrange for a public service announcement to run throughout WLRH’s broadcast day, please submit your request on the WLRH PSA program page. 


Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: December 5, 2020

Saturday, December 5, 2020

In 1870, Philip Egner was born to German immigrant parents in New York City. He began to study the violin at age 6, but later switched to cello. When the Spanish-American War broke out, he joined the army and was made bandmaster of the 17th Infantry Regiment. After spending the war in the Philippines, he returned to New York and eventually became the bandmaster of the West Point Army Band, which is composed to enlisted army musicians, not cadets.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: November 28, 2020

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion is a radio program that champions wind-band music. Although Sousa marches are often the first thing people think of when they hear wind-band music mentioned, there was a period when most popular music in America was wind-band music. So that's why today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion opens with a 1926 recording of Sophie Tucker singing "Some of These Days." Most of the instruments used in this recording are wind-band instruments. But there appears to be a single violin also involved.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: November 21, 2020

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Estonian wind band music is featured on this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion. Eduard Tamm is a composer from the Baltic country of Estonia and lived from 1879 to 1941. As a child, he studied violin and cornet. He became a cadet in the 92nd Infantry Regiment and then went to the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he became a French hornist and earned a position in the Russian Imperial Orchestra. After the Russian October Revolution in 1917, he conducted the St. Petersburg Militia Band. He is credited with writing the first march by an Estonian.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: November 14, 2020

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion opens with “Opening Ceremony,” composed by Richard Phillips, a British composer, conductor, pianist, and trumpeter born in 1962. Phillips first encountered music playing trumpet in the local brass band of the Salvation Army. After studying at the Royal College, he was much in demand as a pianist. Since that time, he has conducted three Salvation Army bands and currently works as a music teacher at Thomas Deacon Academy in Peterborough, one of the largest music academies in England.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: November 7, 2020

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features a wind-band arrangment of "Till Eulenspiegel" composed by Richard Strauss. In 1895, Richard Strauss wrote a tone poem that tells the story of a traditional German literary character dating back to 1510. In the original book, Till Eulenspiegel travels about the Holy Roman Empire during the 1300s, playing practical jokes and exposing vices at every turn. In the book, he dies from the plague.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: October 31, 2020 (Halloween)

Saturday, October 31, 2020

To celebrate Halloween, this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features creepy music—music that has something to do with monsters or evil or frightening things, music with perhaps a tone of the foreboding. For monster music, we’ll hear a performance of “Godzilla Eats Las Vegas” by Eric Whitaker. But we’ll open from “Nightmare” from the music and dance production called “The Lord of the Dance,” which follows the the Lord of the Dance in a fight against the evil dark lord Don Dorcha.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: October 24, 2020

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Frank Watz is a Romanian composer born in 1949. His music is published by the prestigious Rundel music publishing house of Austria. He attended Cluj University in Transylvania. Yes, that really is part of Romania. His family taught him how to play the flugelhorn and accordian. In high school\s, he played clarinet and piano. At university, he played the tuba.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: October 17, 2020

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Prince and Madonna weren't the first popular music singers to go by a single name. In the early part of the 20th century, there was a French singer who went by the name Bach, as in Johann Sebastian Bach. His real name was Charles Joseph Pasquier, and he was what the French call a comic trooper, a singer and comedian who dressed up as a soldier and did comic routines based on the lives of soldiers.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: October 10, 2020

Saturday, October 10, 2020

During the 1980s, the Miami Sound Machine and Gloria Estafan had a series of big hits. The first big hit, "Conga," came in 1985, penned by band memberEnrique Elias Garcia, also know as “Kiki” Garcia. Born in 1958 in Cuba, he immigrated with his family to the United States at age 10. Today’s edition features a version of "Conga," played by the Austrian polka band Viera Blech,a seven-man band lead by its percussionist and composer Martin Scharnagl.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: October 3, 2020

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features a recording with a baritone saxophone solo. The bari sax has almost the same range as a tuba. So that makes it very appropriate for a tune entitled "Elephant's Tango," which was apparently a popular hit about 1955. It was composed by Bernie Landes, but we've not been able to find information about him other than he composed this dance tune. The performance “Elephant’s Tango” you'll hear when we open the show is by Tommy Rogers and His Ballroom Orchestra.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 26, 2020

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Popular music is often wind-band music. And if you hit the charts in popular music, that means that the recording industry takes note of your recording because it appears on a list of the most popular tunes. Duke Ellington's first record to hit the charts was "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo," written by Ellington and his cornet player Bubber Miley. King Oliver had already introduced the idea of using unusual mutes for the cornet.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 19, 2020

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Óscar Navarro was born in Alicante, Spain, in 1981. He is a composer, musical educator, conductor and clarinetist. In April 2005, he premiered his symphonic poem "Noah’s Ark" with the Young National Orchestra of Spain. In October 2006, he won first prize at the Adolfo Ventas International Music Composition Competition in Amposta with his arrangement of this same work. He earned his master’s degree in soundtrack composition and television music from the University of Southern California.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 12, 2020

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Charles Gounod was a French composer who lived from 1818 to 1893. During his early childhood years, he and his family lived at the Palace of Versailles, where his father was the official painter for the Duke of Berry.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 5, 2020

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features transcriptions of the overtures to four of Giuseppe Verdi's less well-known operas. And this gives us an opportunity to talk about the cimbasso, which was Verdi's preferred bass brass instrument. A cimbasso is a bass trombone operated with keys instead of a slide. That makes it easier to play fast passages. And it's more bass than the bass trombone with a slide.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 29, 2020

Saturday, August 29, 2020

In 1938, Benny Goodman and his band appeared at Carnegie Hall, perhaps the pinnacle of his career. But then he lost his drummer and his piano player. The piano player was replaced by a teenager named Mel Powell, who also arranged the version of “Mission to Moscow.” Powell was just short of 17 when he was hired by Benny Goodman in 1940.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 22, 2020

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Cincinnati is known as the Queen City of the West from when Ohio was the western part of the United States. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow even refers to the city by that name in one of his poems. So today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion opens with the "Queen City March," written by a musician and boilermaker named William H. Boorn who lived from 1906 to 1959. Brass, Reeds, and Percussion thereby salutes one of the one-hit wonders of the wind-band world—since this is just about the only composition Boorn is known by.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 15, 2020

Saturday, August 15, 2020

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features music composed by one of the most influential of all military band leaders. Wilhelm Wieprecht was a German composer, conductor, and arranger who lived from 1802 to 1872. His influence over wind-band music is probably the greatest of any single human. Even though he started out as a violin player and was a member of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, he was inspired to become a military musician when he heard a military band playing the overture to Mozart's Figaro as it marched through the streets of Berlin.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 8, 2020

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Ferdinand David was a German virtuoso violinist and composer who lived from 1810 to 1873. His life is connected to that of Felix Mendelssohn in several ways. First he was born in the same house in which Mendelssohn was born. He was the concertmaster of the Gewandhaus Orchestra while Mendelssohn was the conductor. David gave Mendelssohn technical advice while Mendelssohn was composing his Violin Concerto in E minor.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 1, 2020

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Program music attempts to depict an event or a thing musically. Often the title suggests the nature of the “program.” Over the past several weeks, we’ve been airing a series of pieces from a longer composition call the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,” composed by the Alsatian composer Erick Debs. Today’s movement from that longer work is called “Temple of Artemis.” Artemis was the Greek god of the hunt, the wilderness, and the moon.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: July 25, 2020

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Frederick the Great (1712-1786) was king of Prussia from 1740 to 1786, the longest reigning Hohenzollern monarch. He took Prussia from a weak military power to one of the five major powers of Europe. he was not only a significant military leader, but also a social reformer, ending the practice of torture in his kingdom. He was also a musician, taking flute lessons from none other than Johann Joachim Quantz. And not only did he play music, but he also composed music, especially marches for his army.




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