Brass, Reeds, and Percussion

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion is WLRH’s longest running program, started in 1976 by musician Darryl Adams,  and as the name suggests—is a program about music for the wind band (as opposed to the orchestra).  The program, hosted by John Hightower, 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.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion airs every Saturday at 1 p.m. Follow Brass, Reeds and Percussion on Facebook.


Darryl G. Adams, March 30, 1939 - October 18, 2011

Darryl Adams originated Brass, Reeds, and Percussion and 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.) He hosted the program from 1976 until his death 2011. WLRH's earliest roots thrive 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.

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


Wind Bands of the U.S. Armed Services

West Point Band

Others to be added soon.



If your musical organization is not listed on our page, please send contact information to John Hightower at [email protected]

To arrange to have your event announced on BRP, e-mail John Hightower at [email protected] 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, please submit your request on the WLRH PSA program page. 

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 24, 2022

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Yes, Beethoven did write wind-band music! Today’s featured composition is the Beethoven wind octet for two clarinets, two oboes, two horns, and two bassoons—true classical wind-band music, not a transcription. But open today’s edition opens with a jazz standard “Charmaine” written in 1926 and performed by Billy May and His Orchestra in a 1951 recording on which Si Zenter plays the trombone.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 17, 2022

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features a number of transcriptions. Transcriptions are arrangements of orchestral compositions for wind band. In essence, the violins, violas, cellos, and string basses are removed. Their parts are played by the woodwinds and brass instruments. The percussion parts seldom change.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 10, 2022

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Variety best desribes this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion, which features classical wind band music composed by Beethoven, 20th-century modern music from a Spanish composer, a Japanese march, klezmer, and American popular music from the early 1800s, the 1920s, and the 1930s. The general rule of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion is no fiddles allowed. But even this rule is sometimes suspended. As its name suggests, the show concentrates on music written for—

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 3, 2022

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Women classical compers are rare, of course. Today’s edition features one from the Romantic era named Louise Ferranc. She lived from 1804 to 1875 and studied under Ignaz Moscheles, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and Anton Reicha at the Paris Conservatory. Of the three, Reicha is one of the most influential proponents of woodwinds being included in the orchestra. Among Ferranc’s compositions are three symphonies, choral works, numerous chamber pieces, and a wide variety of piano music.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 27, 2022 (Vive Saxophone Quartet)

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Otto Schwarz is an Austrian composer who got his start with popular music, but has now become one of the world’s leading composers for wind band.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 20, 2022 (Bert Appermont)

Saturday, August 20, 2022

The Belgian composer Bert Appermont has made quite a name for himself in the world of wind-band music. In 1998, he completed his musical studies at the Lemmens Institute in Leuven. He then completed a masters degree in music design for film & television at the Bournemouth Media School in England. He has composed two musicals, two orchestral symphonies, an opera, an oratorio, and more than 100 other pieces for wind orchestra, choir and symphony orchestra.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 13, 2022 (Martin Scharnagl)

Saturday, August 13, 2022

This episode of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features compositions by three younger Austrian composers and a number of performances by the popular Austrian brass septet known as Viera Blech. Most of the music in this show is composed or arranged by Martin Scharnagl, but the episode will also include compositions by a current member and a former member of Viera Blech. Scharnagl leads the group as its percussionist, but he started out as the tuba player when Viera Blech was only a quartet.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 6, 2022 (Otto Schwarz)

Saturday, August 6, 2022

The Austrian composer Otto Schwarz comes to the world of wind-band music from popular music. He is one of the youngest students to ever enroll in the Vienna Music Academy, where he studied trumpet. His first musical successes came from pop hits on Austrian radio. But in 1989, the Austrian Composers’ Association awarded him the prize for the best composition in the preliminary round of the European Song Contest. In addition to writing much music for wind band, he has composed for symphony orchestra and for advertisements, television, and movies.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: July 30, 2022

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Today’s edition focuses on the music of Thomas Doss,born in Linz, Austria, in 1966. Both of his parents were professional musicians, and he was taught to play the tenor horn and trombone beginning at age 7. He wrote his first composition at age 11. He has studied at the Bruckner Conservatory, the Music University of Vienna, the Mozarteum Salzburg, and the Maastricht Conservatory in the Netherlands. He also interned in Los Angeles at MGM Studios and Dick Groove College.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: July 23, 2022 (Dr. Johnnie Vinson)

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Dr. Johnnie Vinson, director emeritus of Auburn University bands, was born in Andalusia, Alabama, in 1944. (Andulsia is located in Covington County on the border with Florida.) Dr. Vinson started playing drums in ninth grade. During his senior year in high school, his high school band director gave the band members the director’s own compositions to play. This experience inspired Vinson to become a composer. He now has more than 500 compositions to his credit.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: July 16, 2022 (Bastille Day)

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Bastille Day is a French national holiday that commemorates the anniversary of (1) the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, a major event of the French Revolution; and (2) the Fete de la Fédération that celebrated the unity of the French people on July 14, 1790. Bastille Day has the reputation of being the oldest and largest military parade in Europe—in which many military bands participate. To recognize this event, today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion airs only music composed by French composers and performed by French bands.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: July 9, 2022

Saturday, July 9, 2022

The Touro Infirmary in New Orleans was founded in 1852 and is one of the oldest continually operating hospitals in the United States. Muggsy Spanier, the Chicago trumpet player, was a patient at the Touro in 1938 because of his “drinking problems.” While there, he suffered from a perforated ulcer and underwent a life-saving operation by Dr. Alton Oschner. At the time, the Touro was famous as a rehabilitation facility and was actually one of the first hospitals in the United States to provide that type of medical service.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: July 2, 2022 (Independence Day)

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the “Star Spangled Banner,” but the words were set to the music of British drinking song called “The Anacreontic Song,” written by the church organist named John Stafford Smith. Considered a patriotic air since the War of 1812, the tune was arranged in many different ways and even included in marches (for example, in the trio of “National Emblem”). Congress adopted the “Star Spangled Banner” as the American national anthem in 1931.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: June 25, 2022

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features the wind-band equivalent to "Peter and the Wolf." In short, we're going to hear music with narration. The composition tells the story of the feuding families in Band Land, but ends on a happy note when they are all united to make music. Dr. Derek Bourgeois composed the piece in 2006. He also conducts the performance heared on this edition. Bourgeois is a British composer who lived from 1941 to 2017.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: June 18, 2022

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Popular music is often wind-band music as this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion demonstrates. Today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features Latin music from the 1960s, beginning with "Fried Neck Bones" by Willie Bobo and his band. Bobo was known for his playing of the timbales, a type of drum with a metal casing, more shallow than a tom-tom and tuned much higher. They were developed in Cuba as an alternative to classical timpani in the early part of the 20th century.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: June 11, 2022

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Popular music is often wind-band music. This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion demonstrates that fact with the show opening with the original 1954 recording of "Bandstand Boggie," also known as the American Bandstand theme. The composition was performed by Les and Larry Elgart and their band, but it was written by Charles Albertine, who began playing the oboe in the pit band for Radio City Music Hall right after his graduation from high school in 1947.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: June 4, 2022

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Henry Mancini is considered to be one of the greatest film composers. He won 4 Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and 20 Grammy Awards. He also had a No. 1 hit single during the rock era on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: "Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet." It spent 2 weeks at the top of the chart in 1969. He started his musical training at age 8 by learning how to play the piccolo, but also studied piano at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. At the age of 18 in 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 28, 2022 (Memorial Day)

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Somber and contemplative is music heard on this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion in recognition of Memorial Day. Memorial Day was started as Decoration Day—with flags and flowers being put at the graves of deceased military personnel who had died in the Civil War. This practice began as early as 1861.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 21, 2022

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Spanish violinst Enric Madriguera was born in 1902. He studied at the Barcelona Conservatory. In his early 20s, he immigrated to the United States and soon became the concert master of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He then became the conductor of the Cuban Philharmonic Orchestra. He became known as the ambassador of music to all the Americas. When he performed for radio shows, his band was billed as Enric Madriguera and His Music of the Americas.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 14, 2022

Saturday, May 14, 2022

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, wind bands held a position somewhat similar to late 20th century rock and roll bands. They conveyed popular music to the population at large, and they went on tours. They were competitive and even charged high prices for concert tickets. No doubt, John Philip Sousa's band was probably the most famous and most popular, but an Italian named Guiseppe Creatore lead a competitive band. Born in Naples, Italy, in 1871, Creatore was a trombonist and a very colorful conductor.




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