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 (July 4, 2015)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The “Star Spangled Banner” has not always been our national anthem.  Indeed, “Hail Columbia” was in the running for quite a while as the the favorite patriotic air of the United States.  Furthermore, the tune we know as the “Star Spangled Banner” is really a British drinking song entitled “Anacreon in Heaven.”  Francis Scott Key’s words were set to that tune.  And it only became the national anthem in 1931.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 27, 2015)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

More blasmusik from the Woodstock der Blasmusik in Austria.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 20, 2015)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hear blasmusik from Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, including a marsh by Julius Fucik, the Bohemian Sousa.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: Michael Jackson Edition (June 13, 2015)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Michael Jackson is often called the King of Pop. He and his music dominated the popular music charts from approximately 1979 to 1992. His Thriller album was the best-selling album of all time. He received 13 Grammy Awards and had 13 number-one singles on the American charts. It should then come as no surprise that there are wind-band arrangements of his music.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 6, 2015)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Later this month, from June 25 to 28 in Austria in a little town near the northern border of Austria called Ort im Innkreis, the fifth Woodstock der Blasmusik will be held. Ort im Innkreis is roughly equidistant from Vienna, Munich, and Prague. The Woodstock der Blasmusik is a festival of both traditional and modern blasmusik or wind-band music. Meanwhile, you can hear traditional and modern blasmusik during this episode of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion.

The following compositions will be heard on this edition.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 30, 2015)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The traditional Bohemian, Austrian, or German polka band typically has an instrumentation of a two or three clarinets, accordion, flugelhorns, tenor horns, baritone horns, tuba, and drum set. Variations can occur with flute, piccolo, trumpets, trombones, and a guitar being added A recent trend has been to have all brass instruments.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 23, 2015)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day started out during or after the American Civil War as a way to honor the more than 600,000 who died in that war. It was first called Decoration Day because people would decorate the graves of soldiers who had died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had become a holiday to honor all those who have died while serving in our armed services. Memorial Day shouldn’t really be confused with Veteran’s Day, which is to honor those who are alive and have served. So today’s edition is dedicated to the memory of those who died in service to our country.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 23, 2015)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day started out during or after the American Civil War as a way to honor the more than 600,000 who died in that war.  It was first called Decoration Day because people would decorate the graves of soldiers who had died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had become a holiday to honor all those who have died while serving in our armed services.  Memorial Day shouldn’t really be confused with Veteran’s Day, which is to honor those who are alive and have served.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 16, 2015)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

German blasmusik is featured on this episode.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 9, 2015)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

This edition features music from Der Freischutz, an opera by Carl Maria von Weber.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 2, 2015)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

On Monday, May 4, 1865, the American Civil War east of the Mississippi River ended. Even after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, the war had continued. On April 16, Union General Wilson defeated the Confederates in the Battle of Columbus, Georgia. On April 18, Confederate General Johnston surrendered to Union General Sherman in Durham, North Carolina. On May 4, Confederate General Taylor surrendered to Union General Canby at Citronelle, Alabama, in Mobile County.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 25, 2015)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features marches from operas and other classical music sources.  Among others, we will hear marches, arranged for wind band, by Edvard Grieg, Giuseppe Verdi, Nikolai Rimsky-Korskov, Charles Gounod, and Peter Tchaikovsky.  The show begins with a march heard in all too few operas: The March of the Toreadors from George Bizet’s opera Carmen.  

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 18, 2015)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Estonian composers and music are featured on this episode.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 11, 2015)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hear the Appomattox bugle on this edition.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 4, 2015)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Today, we go to public concerts by rock stars like Elton John or country music singers like Kenny Chesney.  Having been a teenager in the 1960s, I can still list the names rock bands from that period: Vanilla Fudge, the Who, and so forth.  During the late 19th century, there was popular music and singers—and musicians went on national tours just as they do today.  Only the stars of the late 19th century played the cornet and the trombone and performed with such wind bands as Gilmore’s Band, the Sousa Band, and the World Renowned Liberati Band.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (March 28, 2015)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Born in Texas in 1932, John Barnes Chance composed his first symphony at age 22.  He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Texas and then became a tympanist for the Austin Symphony Orchestra.  Eventually, he joined the Army and became a member and arranger for the Eighth U.S. Army Band.

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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

In 1963, Stephen Kent Goodman dropped out of school at age 14 to form his own concert band and made his debut as the youngest band-music composer and conductor.  These days, he’s known as the most-published, living ragtime composer.  And he likes to compose and arrange ragtime works for wind band.  As his full-time job, he repairs and restores player pianos and similar devices.  Today’s episode features Kent Goodman’s ragtime composition:  One Spring Day.


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.




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