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

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, please submit your request on the WLRH PSA program page. 


Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: March 21, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Wind-band music is often a musuem of little-known opera music. So it should be no surprise that this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will feature an overture to the opera "Fatanitza" by Franz von Suppe. Von Suppe was the first composer to successfully compete with Frenchman Jules Offenbach for the hearts of Vienna opera afficionados. His first three-act operetta was "Fatanitza," which premiered in 1876. It's the story of a Russian Army officer named Wladimir who dresses as a woman, whom he names Fatanitza.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: March 14, 2020

Saturday, March 14, 2020

In Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and France, there is a musical formation called a fanfare orchestra. It is composed of brass instruments, just as a true brass band would be, plus percussion, but the only woodwinds are saxophones. In these countries, music publishers and their composers will typically have versions of a composition arranged for symphonic wind band, brass band, and fanfare orchestra. Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will feature “2001 A Fanfare Odyssey” by Derek Bourgeois.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: March 7, 2020

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Since it’s the 2020s, you may have noticed that we've been airing a fair amount of music from the 1920s. So today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion continues that practice by opening with a 1929 composition called “The Ramble,” composed by Charlie Lawrence. Here’s what we know about Charlie Lawrence: He composed a number of jazz tunes during the 1920s. He played the clarinet, saxophone, and piano.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: February 29, 2020

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Gaetano Donizetti composed almost 70 operas. But he also composed many works for wind instruments—almost as many pieces for winds as he did for strings. He wrote pieces for every instrument in the typical woodwind quintet: flute, clarinet, oboe, horn, and bassoon. Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion beings with his Concertino for Clarinet. Of course, this started out as a orchestral work, but has been arranged for wind band. It is performed by the Military Band of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, which is the primary military band of that country.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: February 22, 2020

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Tuesday, February 25, is Mardi Gras. So today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features music from New Orleans or influenced by New Orleans jazz. We open the show with a song almost indelibly associated with New Orleans: “When the Saints Come Marching In.” The earliest known version of the song is 1896, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t older. The earliest known recording of the song is by the Paramount Jubilee Singers in 1923. But Louis Armstrong’s 1938 recording is probably what made it a jazz standard.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: February 15, 2020

Saturday, February 15, 2020

In recognition of Black History Month, today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion focuses on the music of Billy Strayhorn, who collaborated with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra for nearly 30 years. Born in Dayton Ohio in 1915, Strayhorn and his family soon moved to Pittsburgh, where he grew up. But he also spent a great deal of time in Hillsborough, North Carolina, at the home of his grandparents. During high school, Strayhorn was a member of the school band.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: February 8, 2020

Saturday, February 8, 2020

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion opens with the Overture from Il Signor Bruschino, written by Gioachino Rossini in 1813 at age 21. The opera is a farce involving Sofia who has been promised to Signor Broschino Junior, but is really in love with Florville. That type of set up is almost traditional with opera, but it goes even further and involves mistaken identify as well—when Florville pretends to be Signor Broschino Junior.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: February 1, 2020

Saturday, February 1, 2020

In recognition of Black History Month, the next edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion begins with the "Yellow Dog Blues" by Alabama’s very own W. C. Handy. Born in 1873 in a log cabin in Florence, Alabama, W. C. Handy is known as the Father of the Blues, not because he created the genre, but because he was the first to publish this type of music in printed form. His father was an African Methodist Episcopal preacher who believed musical instruments were the tools of the devil.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: January 25, 2020

Saturday, January 25, 2020

In the Benelux countries—Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg—there is a wind-band known as the fanfare orchestra. Now, it’s not what we think of an orchestra with violins. And neither is it a wind orchestra, the fancy name for a large wind band. Essentially, it’s a brass band with saxophones.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: January 18, 2010

Saturday, January 18, 2020

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion opens with Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks performing the 1917 hit “Back Home in Indiana.” The song regularly opens the Indianapolis 500. The music was written by James Hanley, who was born in Rensselaer, Indiana, in 1892. After serving in WW I, he went on to become a vaudeville accompanist and to write songs for Broadway and movies. The words were written by Ballard MacDonald, born in Portland Oregon in 1882. He wrote the lyrics for other popular songs and for Broadway productions.

Bass, Reeds, and Percussion: January 11, 2020

Saturday, January 11, 2020

One hundred years ago, popular music was jazz. It was born in New Orleans, but soon moved to Chicago, where it became hot. Both black and white New Orleans musicians moved to Chicago to perform. But the composer of today's opening number on Brass, Reeds, and Percussion was not from New Orleans, but from Emandale, Indiana. Born in 1902, Jack Pettis taught himself how to play the C-melody saxophone as a teenager.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: January 4, 2020

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Japanese drums, klezmer, hot jazz from the 1920s, and traditional marches: they all can be heard on this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 28, 2019)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Drag, stomp, bump, shuffle, scuffle, ramble, and swing—all of these are dances from the 1920s. Because the 2020s are beginning Wednesday, this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will be airing dance music from the 1920s—all performed by wind bands—although mostly by smaller ensembles. At least three of the bands you’ll hear perform music from the 1920s by reconstructing recordings from that period.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 21, 2019)

Saturday, December 21, 2019

In 1953, much popular music was wind-band music. That's certainly the case with the big Christmas hit of 1953: "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." After all, the song even has a bassoon solo. Gayla Peevy was only 10 years old when she sang the song on the Ed Sullivan Show. It's popularity even inspired a movement to actually get Peevy a hippopotamus for Christmas. After receiving the hippo, Peevy donated it the local Oklahoma City Zoo, where the hippo lived for the next 50 years. The song has been revived and recorded at least seven more times.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 14, 2019)

Saturday, December 14, 2019

In 2013, a movie inspired us to revisit music from the 1920s: The Great Gatsby. And since the 2020s start in only a few weeks, Brass, Reeds, and Percussion has been motivated to play music from the 1920s. We’ll begin with the “Black Bottom Stop” by Jelly Roll Morton, who lived from 1890 to 1941. The “Black Bottom Stomp” was written in the same year that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his novel; that is, 1925. But it was first recorded the next year.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 7, 2019)

Saturday, December 7, 2019

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion tells the story of “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” and the trumpet player who sang it. In 1944, Donald Gardner was teaching music in the public schools of Smithtown, New York. He asked his second-grade class what they wanted for Christmas and noticed that almost all of them answered with a lisp because they were missing at least one front tooth.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 30, 2019)

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion begins the Christmas season with a special thanks to the New Zealand Army Band , who has supplied WLRH with a copy of their CD entitled "Christmas." We will be airing selections from this album during December.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 23, 2019)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features two jazz standards by Juan Tizol: “Caravan” and “Perdido.” Juan Tizol was born in Puerto Rico in 1900. In 1920, he stowed away on a ship to get to Washington, D.C., where he played his trombone to accompany silent movies. Then he met Duke Ellington and became a member of his band. He was the person who copied out many of the parts for the other musicians to play. But he also composed and brought Latin music influences into the Ellington band.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 16, 2019)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Born in Bohemia in 1800, Andreas Leonhardt became a member of an Austro-Hungarian empire Army band age 18. He eventually became a Army bandmaster, but left the military for a while. But at age 50, he was put in charge of all of all the empire’s army bands. Along the way, he wrote a number of great marches. One march was written to honor Czar Alexander when he visited Berlin. The “Alexander March” was so well liked that it became an official German army march.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 9, 2019)

Saturday, November 9, 2019

With this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion, we will begin airing recordings of music from the 1920s made by Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks. We’ll hear two recordings from his Quality Shout album. To record the album, musicians listened to original recordings from the 1920s and wrote down the parts for the instruments as they played. The objective was to record a modern version of the songs with up-to-date digital equipment.




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