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 Perucssion (March 14, 2015)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Thomas Moore is an Irish poet who lived from 1779 to 1852.  He is perhaps most famous for writing words to many Irish tunes.  Mind you, he didn’t write the music, but did right the lyrics, mostly using traditional Irish tunes.  One of these is “The Minstrel Boy,” an Irish patriotic song.  The tune is called “The Moreen.”  The song gained widespread popularity and became a favorite of many Irishmen who fought during the American Civil War and gained even more popularity after World War I.  Brass, Reeds, and Percussion begins its celebration of St.

Brass, Reed, and Percussion (March 7, 2015)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Baptized with 36 Christian names, Louis Antoine Jullien was born in Sisteron in southeastern France near the Alps in 1812.  He studied at the Paris Conservatory and conducted the band of the Jardin Turc from 1835-1838.  To escape his creditors, he fled to London where he began conducting open-air concerts.  He was quite a showman, conducting Beethoven with a jeweled baton, having his white kid gloves brought to him on a silver salver, and facing the audience rather than the audience when he conducted.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion February 28, 2015)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Xavier Cugat is credited with having introduced Cuban and Latin American music to the United States, paving the way for Tito Puente, Perez Prado, and Desi Arnaz.  Although his place of birth isn’t certain, it was probably Girono, Spain.  There’s little doubt that he grew up in Cuba, where he trained as a classical violinist.  But how he came to the United States is subject to dispute.  Allegedly it was at the urging of the famous Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. In any event, he arrived in New York City some time during his late teens.

Brass, Reeds, and Perucssion (February 21, 2015)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

What do you get when you mix an Italian film composer with German cinema?  You get music that sounds like the opening composition on Brass, Reeds, and Percussion today: We Comrades of the Mountains March.  This march was written by Giuseppe Becce, who was born in 1877 in Italy and who studied geography at Padua University, where he conducted the student orchestra.

Brass, Reeds and Percussion (February 14, 2015)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

This was the Mardi Gras edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (BRP).  New Orleans has birthed both music and musicians. It’s also inspired music.  This episode of BRP is almost exclusively Dixieland music in celebration of Mardi Gras and of Black History Month.  BRP is about music for the wind band.  Dixieland is performed on such instruments, except occasionally a few strings will be attached; namely, the string bass, the piano, and the banjo.  So dixieland music is wind band music.  


Brass, Reeds and Percussion (February 7, 2015)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

This edition features music inspired by William Blake’s 1794 poem “The Tyger.”  Frank Ticheli, the composer of this piece, is one of the most popular of contemporary American composers of music for wind band. Born in 1958 in Monroe, Louisiana, he grew up in Texas and received his B.A. from Southern Methodist University and his Ph.D. in composition from the University of Michigan.  He currently lives in Los Angeles, California, where he is a professor of composition at the University of Southern California.


Brass, reeds, and percussion (January 31, 2015)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

This episode of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will feature a composition for percussion solist and wind band called “Tales from the Center of the Earth.”  It features the marimba and was composed by Nebojsa Zivkovic born in 1962 in Yugoslavia. He is a Serbian-German percussionist and composer. In addition to performing with major symphony orchestras around the world, the is a professor at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia and the Vienna Conservatory.

Brass, reeds, and percussion (January 24, 2015)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

This episode of Brass, Reeds, and Percusssion features the music of Geirr Tveitt, a Norwegian composer who lived from 1908 to 1981.  He was a disciple of Grieg, but had his own musical voice .  Like Grieg, he studied at the Leipzig Conservatory.  In Europe, he was a well know concert pianist and symphonic composer.  But he also wrote music for the wind band.

Brass, Reeds and Percussion (January 17, 2015)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gabriel Peres was the conductor of the Garde Republicane Band of France from 1893 to 1911 and composed over 150 works.  When the French government sent the band to the United States in 1917 to tour 100 cities for a war bond drive, the French premier called him out of retirement to lead the band once again. Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features two of his most famous marches:  the Veteran's March and the Light Infantryman March.


Brass, Reeds and Percussion (January 10,2015)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Because our country's secondary school music programs, mostly involving the wind band, students are frequently exposed to wind-band versions of classical or “art” music before being exposed to the orchestral versions.  This episode of  Brass, Reeds, and Percussion does that with one of Arthur Honnegar’s works.  Honnegar lived from 1892 to 1955.  His parents were Swiss, but he was born in Le Harve, France.  He was a member of the French resistance during WW II.  Musically, he was a member of Les Six.

Brass, Reeds and Percussion (January 3, 2015)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Charles Sanglear died from tuberculosis at age 34.  Living from 1881 to 1915, his life coincided with the golden age of circus bands—and many consider him to have the best euphonium player of all the circus bands.  From age 17 to 19, he was the euphonium solist for the Kilties Band of Canada when it went on a world tour.  During this tour, 170,000 people paid to see the band perform at the Crystal Place in London.  In addtion, Sanglear was the euphonium soloist for the Barnum and Bailey circus band for a while.  But he was also a composer, writing at least 26 marches.

Brass, Reeds and Percussion (December 27, 2014)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

This episode features waltzes, the Charleston, swing, disco, Latin dances, and even the hokey pokey.  Speaking of the hokey pokey, variants of the tune and lyrics of the song go back to the 1600s.  The song also has variant titles and dance moves, depending upon which English-speaking country is singing it.  It has been the subject of copyright litigation and Facebook humor.  The Virginia Tech band uses the song during its half-time performances, and the tuba players dance the hokey pokey while playing the tune.  In 1953, Ray Anthony’s Big Band turned it into a national sen

Brass, Reeds and Percussion (December 20, 2014)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday music, secular and religious, is featured for this episode of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion.  Wind-band arrangements of Bach works, traditional carols, and even some crazy Christmas music by Julie Giroux including What Child Is That Playing Carol of the Bells and The Little Drummer Boy’s Bolero.  Also featured is a big Christmas hit made famous by Eartha Kitt in 1953 and Madonna in 1987.  Even more curious, it was written by New York Senator Jacob Javits’ niece and has been covered by Lynn Anderson, Taylor Swift, RuPaul, and Miss Piggy of the Muppets, among many oth

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 13, 2014)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

When orchestral music is transcribed—or arranged—for wind band, some instrument has to take the place of the violins.  That instrument is the clarinet.  So today, we’re featuring the "Young People’s Guide to the Clarinet Choir."  Just as the "Young People’s Guide to the Orchestra" allows one to hear the sounds of the different orchestral instruments, this composition allows one to hear the sounds made by the different members of the clarinet choir.

Brass, Reeds, and Perucssion (December 6, 2014)

Friday, December 5, 2014

The tune to which we sing the Christmas carol "Good Christian Friends, Rejoice" is called "In Dulci Jubilo."  We are more certain of the author of the original words than we are of the composer of the melody.  The original words—not well translated into English by the carol we sing to the tune—are said to have been revealed to Henreich Suese in 1328 in a vision.  The earliest written version of the tune dates from 1400.  The earliest English version appeared c.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 29, 2014)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Johann Joseph Fux, an Austrian composer who lived from 1660-1748, wrote the Gradus ad Parnassum, a treatise about counterpoint.  The only known surviving book from Johann Sebastian Bach’s personal library is a first edition of this book.  Haydn used the book (not Bach's copy) to teach himself counterpoint and recommended it to Beethoven.  Mozart had a well-annotated copy.  This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion gets the holiday season underway with Baroque Christmas music by Fux.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 22, 2014)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Joeseph Triebensee was an oboe player who lived from 1772 to 1846, eventually becoming the director of the Prague Opera House.  He is perhaps most famous for arranging Mozart’s operas for wind band (called a harmonie at that time), but also arranged works of Haydn, Schubert, and Cherubini for wind band. Triebensee was also an original composer, mostly for wind band.  Today’s program features a performance of his Concertino for Piano and Wind Band in five movements.


Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 15, 2014)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fredé Grofé left home at 14 to work as a milkman, truck driver, usher, newsboy, elevator operator, helper in a book bindery, iron factory worker, and finally as a piano player in a bar for two dollars a night.  Grofé, who lived from 1892 to 1972, is perhaps most famous for arranging George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  He was nevertheless a composer in his own right.  He received his first commission at age 17.  From 1920 to 1932, he was the chief arranger for the Paul Whiteman orchestra.  This edition features a wind-band arrangement of Grofé's Mississippi Sui

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 8, 2014)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

This edition features classical wind-band (harmonie) music by Guiseppi Maria Cambini (1746-1825).  His works presented here are not transcriptions or arrangements for wind band.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 1,2014)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sir Arthur Sullivan did more than compose operettas with W. S. Gilbert.  Born in 1842 to the son a military band director, Sullivan learned to play almost all the wind band instruments by approximately 8 years old.  He composed his first anthem at the same age.  His first published work came at age 15.  In addition to 23 operettas, Sullivan composed 13 major orchestral works, 8 choral works and oratorios, 2 ballets, incidental music to several plays, and numerous hymns and other church pieces, songs, and piano and chamber pieces.




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