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 (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) iwas 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-writing contests.  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.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 11, 2016)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Classical wind-band music and modern wind-band music—a double treat on today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion.  Today’s edition features classical wind-band music composed by George Druschetsky, who lived from from 1745 to 1819 and who was a bandmaster in the Autro-Hungarian Army; and modern wind-band music composed by Edward Gregson, a British composer born in 1945.  Brass, Reeds, and Percussion begins with "A Flourish" by Malcolm Arnold, performed by the Royal Artillery Band.


Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 4, 2016)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Marvin Hamlisch had his first top-40 hit in 1965:  “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows.”  He went on to compose music for Broadway and movies.  He is 1 of only 12 people to be an EGOT:  a winner of an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award.  Perhaps his most famous score was for the musical A Chorus Line.  He wrote music for such films as The Way We Were, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Sophie’s Choice, among many others.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: Memorial Day Edition (May 28, 2016)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Monday is Memorial Day, and in keeping with its purpose, today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will play somber music.  Memorial Day started very soon after the U.S. Civil War as Decoration Day, when the graves of Civil War soldiers were decorated with flowers.  As part of the program, we’ll hear a “dead” march (funeral march) from around 1815 and Robert Hall’s "March Funebre," which was played as part of John F. Kennedy’s state funeral.  We’ll begin today’s edition with the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets performing Paul Murtha’s “Heroic Fanfare.”

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 21, 2015)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Wind band music by composers from the United States, Ireland, Scotland, and England are heard on this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion.  You can also find out more information about wind bands and composers on our Facebook page:  WLRH Brass, Reeds, and Percussion.  Today’s show begins with The Liberator march by Charles Ancliffe.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 14, 2016)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Yes, the Austro-Hungarian Empire did have a navy.  And Archduke Maximillian commissioned the frigate Novara to do an around-the-world scientific expedition.  The ship was named after the Italian city of Novara, where the Austro-Hungarians had defeated the Italians in a battle.  Novara delivered Archduke Maximillian to Mexico when he became the emperor of Mexico.  When he was executed by the Mexican rebels, the ship also picked up his body and returned it to Austria for burial.  While Maximillian was emperor of Mexico, Joseph Sawerthal served as the imperia

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 7, 2016)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

On March 15, 1870, Mr. Spong was doing business near  Brompton Barracks of the British Corps of Royal Engineers.  Mr. Spong mounted his horse to leave, but the horse was startled, galloped down the street, jumped over 6-foot fence guarding a 42-foot drop.  Fortunately, about 17 from the top of the  of the drop was a flight of steps that intervened.  The horse and Mr. Spong survived the plunge with only a few scratches.  After being assisted by officers of the Corps of Royal Engineers, Mr. Spong remounted his horse and rode home.

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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

In 1944, Claude-Michel Shonberg was born in France.  In 1973, he wrote most of the music for the first French rock opera:  The French Revolution.  For its production, he also played the role of King Louis XVI.  In 1974, he wrote the music and the lyrics of the song "Le Premier Pas," which became the number-one hit in France that year, selling over one million copies.

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

Saturday, April 23, 2016

At 81 years of age, Cy Payne has had a 60-year career in the music industry.  He’s been a conductor of bands and orchestras.  He’s composed music for film, theater, radio, and television, including jingles for commercials.  He’s composed music for orchestra, military band, and especially big band.  In fact, he still fronts a dance band in East Anglia, England, and has performed for the royal family at new year’s parties.  Almost every major British military band has arrangements of his works and he has been commissioned to write marches as well.

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

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Derek Burgeois was born in England in 1941.  He studied at Cambridge University and the Royal College of Music.  He is a tuba player who has written extensively for wind band, brass, band, and orchestras.  One of the most amazing apsects of his musical career is that he has written a symphony that is over 2.5 hours long.  On this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion, we’ll hear Derek Bourgeois’ composition "Bridges over the River Cam"—right after an opening British march popular with California high school bands.




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