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

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 (September 6, 2014)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Nulli Secundus is the motto of the Coldstream Guards.  It is the oldest continuously operating military unit in the British Army.  The motto means second to none.  In keeping with this, the regiment has always insisted that if it cannot march at the head of the Household Division then it will march at the end.  And they have had a band since at least 1742.  This edition features performances by the Band of the Coldstream Guards, especially of arrangements or compositions by Lt. Col. Trevor Sharpe, its director from 1963 to 1974.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 30,2014)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

How did a British military unit get a German composition about Italian violinists as its official march?  As teenagers in the 1840s, the Milanollo sisters toured Europe to great acclaim.  Inspired by these prodigies, Johann Valentin Hamm, a German composer and violin player from Wurzburg, Bavaria, composed a tune in their honor.  When the sisters visited Britain in 1845, they played the tune and it became very popular.  In 1882, it was adopted as the official quick march of the Coldstream Guards.  And it’s a real toe-tapper.  This edition of BRP opens with the Band of the Coldstream Guards

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 23, 2014)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Here’s a summary of events from 1937, published in the "School Musician" magazine: Band music has played a big role the lives of the men of industry.  Charles Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel, plays the piano and Andrew Carnegie often asks him to begin meetings of leaders of the industry by playing the piano.  Felix Dupont plays baritone horn with the Wilmington Police Band.  Bennet Chapple, vice president of American Rolling Mills, played the clarinet in his home-town band.  And Charles Gates Dawes, banker and former vice president of the United States from 1924 to 1929, plays the flut

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 16,2014)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

This edition features classical wind band music from the time of Mozart, music from America’s golden age for wind bands, music written by King Henry VIII of England, a bit of 20th century Russian opera music, and even a little hot Chicago Jazz.  The only thing uniting all this music is that it’s played on wind instruments and percussion.  And every once in a while, a string or two are attached.  This edition includes the big hit from 1919 that spent 13 weeks on the charts and sold 5 million copies.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 9, 2014)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

In 1922, the almost complete tomb of the Egyptian pharoah Tutankamun was discovered.  Not only did this give anthropologists insights into ancient Egyptian culture, but it also affected current popular culture.  Tutankamun became known as King Tut, and that name was used for consumer products, businesses, and even the name of President Herbert Hoover’s dog.  And there is a connection to band music.  In this case, it’s a popular song written in 1923 by Tin Pan Alley great Harry Von Tilzer.  From the soundtrack of the television show Boardwalk Empire, this edition opens with "

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 2, 2014)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

This edition has a variety of music:  drum-and-fife marches, traditional marches, British light music for wind band, Dixieland, and classical wind-band  music from the 1700s.  The show begins with a "March Slav" by Adolf Lotter, a Czech composer born in Prague in 1871.  He studied composition under Anton Dvorak.  Later, he moved to Britain where he played string bass and tuba for the London Symphony Orchestra and composed a number of wind-band marches, along with symphonic works. 

Brass, Reeds and Percussion (July 26, 2014)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 19, 2014)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

This episode of Brass, Reeds and Percussion features wind band music from Martin Ellerby, a British composer born in 1957. You'll hear a musical tribute to Jacob the Goose, which foiled an attach on the Coldstream Guards in 1840. 

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 12, 2014)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

This episode of Brass, Reeds and Percussion features wind band music about horse, cavaltry, as well as cowboys and indians.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 5, 2014)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features modern and ancient national airs in commemoration of Independence Day.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 28, 2014)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features the music of George Lewis, a New Orleans musician who lead the Dixieland revival of the 1950s and influenced the blues-based sound of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 21, 2014)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussions features "Little Buckaroos" by Anthony DiLorenzo, original wind-band music inspired by classic western movie scores, will be featured on this Saturday’s edition of BRP at noon on 89.3, WLRH.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 14, 2014)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

This episode of Brass, Reeds and Percussion features a cornucopia of musical styles with some 20th century music, some blues and some light opera, including the overture to "La Bella Helene" by Jacques Offenbach. (audio pending)

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 7, 2014)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

This episode of Brass, Reeds and Percussion features a bacchanal of wind band music from Russian operas and ballets.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 31, 2014)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

This episode of Brass, Reeds and Percussion features the "Repasz Band March" written in honor of the oldest continuously operating band in the United States: the Repasz Elks Band (founded in 1831 as the Williamsport Band of Williamsport, Pennsylvania). Several circus marches are also played.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion 'Music For Memorial Day' (May 24, 2014)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

This episode of Brass, Reeds and Percussion features music for Memorial Day, including works from John Philip Sousa, Felix Vinatieri, Robert Jager, and Anton Dvorak.

Brass, Reeds and Percussion (May 17th, 2014)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 10, 2014)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Brass, Reeds and Percussion (May 3rd, 2014)

Monday, May 5, 2014

This episode featured the trifecta of the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble, the composer Nigel Clark, and the composer Frank Ticheli. Born in 1960, Nigel Clarke is a former British bandsman and adjunct professor of music at MTSU. His "Angels in the Architecture" is one of the modern band-music hits, having its U.S. premier by the MTSU wind ensemble in 2012. Frank Ticheli was born in Monroe, Louisiana, and is professor of composition at the University of Southern California. His "Earthrise" is another of the modern band-music hits.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 26, 2014)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sometimes referred to as the London Bach or the English Bach, Johann Christian Bach was the the11th child of Johann Sebastian Bach and was born in 1735. In fact, he spent so much time in London that he eventually became known as John Bach. When Johann Christian was born, his father was 50 years old. He received his earliest musical instruction from his father and then from his second-oldest half brother Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Then he traveled to Italy to study with Padre Martini, where he was a reasonably successful as an opera composer.




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