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 (April 28, 2018)

Saturday, April 28, 2018

In 1907, John Walter Bratton, an American Tin Pin Alley composer, wrote the melody for the "Teddy Bear's Picnic." Even though he was a singer and had written lyrics for about 250 other songs, he never wrote any words to accompany that melody. That role was performed the Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy in 1932. Not only has the music become a popular children's song, but the melody has has appeared as background music in many movies, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 21, 2018): Trip to the Movies

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion goes to the movies this Saturday with wind-band arrangements of music from Star Wars, Star Trek, and several other movies.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 14, 2018)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion salutes the U.S. Material Command Band and the University of Alabama in Huntsville Wind Ensemble. Both bands will have a joint concert on Friday, April 20, 2018, in the Von Braun Center at 7:30 p.m. There is no admission charge. Meanwhile, on today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion, we’ll wind bands from the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Japan.

WLRH is currently conducting it’s spring fund drive. Giving is easy. Just visit the station’s website:

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 7, 2018)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion is supposed to be about brass, reeds, and percussion. Admittedly, percussion sometimes gets short shrift, but today's edition begins with an aptly named percussion composition: "Intrada Festivo." It features only percussion. The composer is Matthjis van Driel, born in the Netherlands in 1985. In addition to being a composer, he is a free-lance percussionist for a number of Dutch symphony orchestra.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (March 31, 2018)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

One-hundred years ago today, the world was at war. At that time, the major battle was the Somme Defensive—the first battle of WW I in which there were significant American deaths. The war will be over by November. The next year, a British wind-band composer wrote a march that reflected what I imagine people were feeling and hoping for 100 years ago: “The World Is Waiting for Sunrise.” So today’s edition of BRP begins with that march composed in 1919 by Frederick Joseph Rickets, more commonly known as Kenneth Alford.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (March 24, 2018): Commemorating the Somme Defensive

Saturday, March 24, 2018

On March 21, 1918, during WW I, the Germans began an attack on the British-held Somme front, roughly located at Amiens, France on the Somme River. Amiens is located about 60 miles directly north of Paris. Sixty-two German divisions began the assault that attempted to divide the French and British armies.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (March 17, 2018): St. Patrick's Day

Saturday, March 17, 2018
  1. Irish Jaunting Car
    Composer:  Traditional
    Performer:  Drums and Fifes of 1st Battalion Irish Guards
    Album:  Great Irish Marches
  2. Paddy Green's Shamrock Shores
    Composer:  Traditional, arranged by Teague
    Performer:  Drums, Fifes, and Pipes of 1st Battalion Irish Guards

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.




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