Brass, Reeds, and Percussion

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

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (BRP)—as the name suggests—is a program about music for the wind band (as opposed to the orchestra).  The program 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.

About the Host

John Hightower is a “recovering” high school band member, as well as a “recovering” top-40 disc jockey.  From 1969 to 1975, while in college, he worked at WSSO and WSMU-FM in Starkville, Mississippi, and WSUH and WOOR-FM in Oxford, Mississippi.  Born and reared in Natchez, Mississippi, John has a degree in communications from Mississippi State University (1972) and law degree from the University of Mississippi (1975).

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion is WLRH’s longest running program, started in 1976 by musician Darryl Adams, who 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. WLRH's earliest roots thrives 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.

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

Local Wind Bands

U.S. Army Materiel Command Band

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, e-mail PSA Requests at Please allow AT LEAST five weeks advance notice for all PSA requests.


Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (October 29, 2016)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features two pieces of music for Halloween contemplation:

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (October 22, 2016)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Music composed or arranged by Hannes Apfolterer, an Austrian Army musician and bandleader.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (October 15, 2016)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Adam Bernick, representing the Huntsville Chamber Music Guild, is interviewed about the upcoming performance of the Philadelphia Brass on October 28, 2016.

Here is the playlist for this episode:

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (October 8, 2016)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (October 1, 2016)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

In 1910, Giacomo Puccini’s opera The Girl of the Golden West had its world premier at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Puccini was in attendance. The opera is set in a mining town in California. The first act begins in a saloon. The opera has a chorus of singing gold miners, a bandit, a shootout, a potential lynching, and a saloon girl pleading for her true love’s life.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (September 24, 2016)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Giacomo Puccini’s opera Edgar premiered 1889. It was a flop, not so much because of the music but because of the libretto. Even a three-act revision in 1891 didn't achieve popular acclaim. Puccini eventually recycled some of the music for "Tosca." And Arturo Toscanini conducted excerpts from the opera at Puccini's funeral. Proving the old saying that opera can be about anything so long as you sing about it, the plot is just a bit raunchy—with orgies, arson, jealousy, revenge, and murder.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (September 17, 2016)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Here's the playlist for today's episode:

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (September 10, 2016)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features rock classics, arranged for wind band:

  • "Smoke on the Water," a 1972 hit by the British band Deep Purple.
  • "Knock on Wood," a 1979 disco hit by Amil Stewart, but written in 1966 by Eddie Floyd.
  • "Eye of the Tiger," a 1982 hit by the American band Survivor.
  • "Verdamp lang der," a 1981 hit by the German rock band BAP.

Here's the playlist for today's show:

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (September 3, 2016)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

In the 1970s, Barry Manilow frequented the Copacabana nightclub in New York City. While he was staying at the Copacabana Hotel in Rio de Janiero, which is located on the Copacabana beach in Brazil, he suggested to his friend Bruce Sussman that he write a song for him about the Copacabana. Sussman collaborated with Jack Feldman to write lyrics about the Copacabana, the hottest night spot north of Havana. Manilow wrote the music. They won a Grammary Award, Manilow’s first and only.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 27, 2016)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Today's edition is a farrago of wind-band music: popular, classical, traditional marches, and jazz.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 20, 2016)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

André Danican Philidor, who lived from circa 1646 to 1730, was a French oboist who played in the drum in the band of the musketeers. In 1714 he owned 33 instruments, including crumhorns, oboes, flutes, recorders, bassoons, a musette (piccolo oboe), and drums. He was also the French King’s music librarian. In approximately 1688, he wrote a comic masquerade that was performed at the court of King Louis XIV (14th).

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 13, 2016)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Music by American, Briish, German, Austrian, Italian, and Russian composers.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 6, 2016)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wilhelm Zehle (1876-1956) is was a Prussian composer whose music was published by a British music publisher and given English names.  He was a member of a German marine band and participated in the Boxer Rebellion in China around 1900.  The British publisher is Boosey and Hawkes.  Around 1900, the publisher started holding annual march-writingcontests.  Zehle won the contest four times for—

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 30, 2016)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Here's the playlist for today's show:

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 23, 2016)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

This show also has music performed by the Band of the Household Cavalry, otherwise known as the band of the Blues and Royals.  Because the band is a combination of two military units (the Royal Dragoons and the Royal Horse Guards), half the band wears blue uniforms and the other half wears red.  Members of the band have to ride horses, take care of horses, and play their musical instruments while riding horses.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 16, 2016)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Around the middle of the 19th century in Ireland, Robert Martin was born—and impoverished. He moved to London and took up journalism, burlesque song writing, and politics.  He  was a member of the Pelican Club, a notorious group of men who believed in living life to the full—usually well beyond their means.  They socialized in a restaurant near the Gaiety Theater, famous for musical productions featuring dancing girls.  Martin wrote about 30 songs for various burlesque productions.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 9, 2016)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion begins with a wind-band arrangement of a composition that premiered in 1925.  It became so popular that, in the 1970s, it was estimated that the composition was played somewhere in the world every minute of every day.  The composer is Jacob Gade (1879-1963), a Dane who made his performing debut as a trumpet player at age 9 and joined the Tivoli Garden Orchestra at age 10.  At age 12, he switched to violin.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 2, 2016): Independence Day

Saturday, July 2, 2016

This is the Independence Day edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion, a program about music for the wind band.  For today’s edition, we’ll be featuring something old, something new, and plenty of red, white, and blue.  


Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 25, 2016): Woodstock der Blasmusik

Saturday, June 25, 2016

“Blasmusik” is the German word for wind music.  Die Woodstock der Blasmusik is a festival held in  Ort im Innkreis, Austria, equidistant from Vienna, Berlin, and Munich.  This year, the festival goes from June 30 to July 2 and 76 bands will be performing.  This is the sixth year the festival has been held.  Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will feature music from bands that have performed in the past at the festival.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 18, 2016)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

This edition features, among others, the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra performing a composition written by Harry Warren and Henry Creamer.  Warren was one of the first composers to write almost exclusively for movies.  He was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 3.  Henry Creamer was an African-American composer of popular music with an Alabama connection, having composed "The Alabama Stomp" with James P. Johnson in 1926.




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