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 (March 10, 2018)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

This Tuesday, March 13, at Latham United Methodist Church on Weatherly Road, you can hear a performance by the Huntsville Concert Band. The concert begins at 7 p.m. in Farley Hall.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (March 3, 2018)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The history of music is filled with lives ended too soon. That was certainly the case when two musicians of the group Circus Contraption were killed in Seattle in 2012 during the Cafe Racer Shooting. The Circus Contraption is a very different wind band—actually a circus band that is darkly humorous. Today's edition features performances from their album Gallimaufry (ga luh MAH free).

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (February 24, 2018)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Next month, we will be recognizing the U.S. participation in the one of the most significant World War I battles, the Battle of the Somme. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the end of WW I and Black History Month, we open today's show with a 1919 recording of “How Ya Gonna Keep’em Down on the Farm,” performed by the U.S. Army’s 369th Infantry Regiment Band, lead by James Reese Europe. The 369th Hellfighters, as they were known, were a segregated African-American unit.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (February 17, 2018)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion begins with the “Triumphant Fanfare” by the Swiss composer Franco Cesarini, born in Tocino, Switzerland, in 1961. Yes, that name sounds Italian, but remember that Switzerland is composed of areas that speak Italian, French, German, and even Romansh. But Cesarini did study in Italy at the Milan Conservatory. His primary instruments were flute and piano.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (February 10, 2018)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Mardi Gras is Tuesday, February 13. So this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will visit New Orleans to celebrate the gumbo of wind-band music there. New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz; and wind and percussion instruments where the delivery tools. We’re going to listen to some klezmer, some traditional dixieland, American Indian music, blues, soul, funk, and even Caribbean music. In short we’ll demonstrate how music in New Orleans is creole—a mixture of musical traditions from many different sources.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (January 27, 2018)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion is a program about wind-band music. We have a unique opportunity on February 9 to hear the Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble.

Friday, February 9, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
305 W. Seventh St.
Chattanooga, TN
More information.

This edition of Reeds, and Percussion begins with a march based on themes written by Edward Elgar, as performed by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (January 20, 2018)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

In the late 1800s, European armies discovered a new mode of transportation for soldiers: bicycles. In fact, the Belgians organized four regiments of carabinier cyclists. A carabinier uses a carbine, a gun that is typically shorter than a rifle. And of course, no military unit can be without its own march. So Belgian military band leaders composed marches for these units. This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features two marches composed for the second and fourth regiments of bicycle carabiniers.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (January 13, 2018)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Wind band music can sometimes be a repository of obscure opera music. This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion demonstrates that point by featuring three marches from operas by Francois Boieldieu, Giacomo Meyerbeer, and Friedrich von Flotow.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (January 6, 2018)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features the Pasadena Roof Orchestra performing music by Rodgers and Hart.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 30, 2017)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The traditional Brass, Reeds, and Percussion show for New Year’s is to visit the wind-band cha-cha palace. That is, we play dance music performed by wind bands. Today’s show starts with a song that says “I Can’t Dance,” composed in 1934 by Charlie Gaines and Clarence Williams. Of course, you can dance to this song. In addition to 1930s music, the show has music from the 1980s and pasodobles, a waltz, a polka, and even a foxtrot arranged by Dmitri Shastokovich.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 23, 2017)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion has Christmas music dating back to 1120 with the most recent composition coming from 2002. Don’t expect to hear your usual Christmas music on this edition. Even though tomorrow is Christmas Eve, we are still in the liturgical period known as advent. So we’ll start with one of the most popular of Advent hymns: “Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending.” In fact, this hymn is considered one of the four greatest Anglican hymns.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 16, 2017)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features a concertino for English horn, an instrument that is neither English nor a horn.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 9, 2017)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A little Advent music, a little Christmas music, and music played on a Ukrainian woodwind instrument you’ve probably not heard before on this edition. The instrument is called a sopilko.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 2, 2017)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A little Advent music, a little Christmas music, and a little bongo music from Perez Prado on this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 25, 2017)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

This episode recognizes the WW I Battle of Cambrai, which was underway at this time 100 years ago. The battle started on November 20 and ended on December 17, 1917. It is famous for several reasons, but primarily because it’s considered the first major tank battle. For us Americans, it’s important because it’s the first battle of WW I in which the American Expeditionary Force suffered casualties.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 18, 2017)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Most of us know Charlie Chaplin because of his silent films, especially The Tramp, made in 1915. And probably most of know him as an actor, but Chaplin wrote, directed, produced, edited, starred in, and composed the music for most of his films. So today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features music composed by Charlie Chaplin and arranged for performance by wind band. But we’ll open the show with the U.S. Marine Band performing one of Karl L. King’s greatest hits: “The Purple Pageant.”

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 11, 2017)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

This year’s celebration of Veteran’s Day is special because 100 years ago (this year), the United States entered World War I. This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion therefore honors our veterans by airing music written during or popular during World War I—or the Great War, as it is often called. In recognition of other wars, we have not been able to air recordings made during or near the war being recognized. But World War I is different.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 4, 2017)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

This edition features tower music. Perhaps the most famous composer of tower music is Johann Pezel.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (October 28, 2017)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A march is usually in two-four time and waltz is in three-four time. That’s like two halves of a pie versus three thirds of a pie. The parts won’t quite match up. However, from time to time, music in three-four time has been converted to two-four time. Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features a waltz converted to a march. The waltz, called “The Roses,” was composed by Olivier Metra who lived from 1830 to 1886.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (October 21, 2017)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Generally, Brass, Reeds, and Percussion is a program about music with few strings attached, but the this edition features a German folk band that includes a harp. Well, we have aired a good of bit wind-band music that includes banjoes and guitars. And even the wind band of the classical period frequently used a string bass to strengthen the bass line of the music. That’s understandable when we realize the tuba hadn’t been invented yet.




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