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: June 6, 2020

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Why does a woodwind quintet have a brass instrument, the French horn? A brass quintet has all brass instruments including a French horn. (The other instruments are two trumpets, one trombone, and one tuba.) A woodwind quintet has four true woodwind instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon. But it also has a French horn.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 30, 2020

Saturday, May 30, 2020

In 1993, a comedy horror film premiered with the character Ash Williams as a time traveler transported from the modern day to the Middle Ages armed with a chainsaw. As might be expected, the main character has a quest: to find the Necronomicon, which can be used to return to the present. But he has to fight the undead to succeed in his quest. Born in 1958, Joseph LoDuca wrote the music for the Army of Darkness and won awards for his efforts.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 23, 2019 (Memorial Day edition)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Memorial Day is a supposed to inspire a somber contemplation of those who have sacrificed their lives on the altar of freedom. So today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will be a bit more somber than other editions. We’ll begin with taps, composed in 1862 by Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield , who was apparently dissatisfied with the French bugle call being used to signal “lights out.” He maintained it was too formal. So he modified an earlier bugle call in U.S. in the Army from 1835 until 1860.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 16, 2020

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion opens with a 1932 hit written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. It’s called “You’re Getting To Be a Habit With Me.” It was one of three songs by Warren and Dubin composed for the film musical 42nd Street. Warren was of Italian descent, born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1893. He composed mostly for film, but 112 of his songs not only appeared in movies but also in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Dubin was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1891.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 9, 2020

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features movie music that also a became popular hit. First, we’re going to hear “A Precious Little Thing Called Love,” which reached number 11 on the popular music charts in 1929. It was composed by Lou Davis, a Tin-Pin Alley composer who lived from 1881 to 1961. Paramount Pictures chose this song out of 150 submissions for the theme of the Gary Cooper film A Shopworn Angel.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 2, 2020

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Our listeners tell us that the best thing about Brass, Reeds, and Perucssion is the variety. Today, is the perfect example. Among other things, you’re going to hear the following on today’s edition: music from the 1300s, 1600s, a transcription of some opera music, jazz from the 1920s, and original music composed for band from the 20th century. We’ll open today’s show with a “Jubilee Sounds March, composed by Ernst Uebel, a German wind-band composer who lived from 1881 to 1959.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion; April 25, 2020

Saturday, April 25, 2020

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features an original wind-band composition by the Italian composer Armin Kofler, whose name sounds German because he comes from South Tyrol, the most northern of Italian provinces. Because South Tyrol was formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, three languages are spoken there: German, Italian, and Ladin. Born in 1981, Kofler started piano lessons at age 5 and trumpet lessons at age 9.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: April 18, 2020

Saturday, April 18, 2020

We open today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion with a march by the Czech composer Karel Padivy, born in 1908. Since his father was both the village tailor and member of the village band, Karel learned how to play violin and wind instruments at a young age. In fact, by age 14 he was playing in a Czechoslovakian military band. Eventually, he became a member of a military band in what is now Slovakia, where he was also the bandmaster of a firefighter's band.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: April 11, 2020

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Although he composed music for film, television, and Broadway, Elmer Bernstein’s music is played every football season by the band of the University of South Carolina. That’s because the school’s fight song is based on his song “Step to the Rear” from his Broadway musical How Now, Dow Jones. He also has an Alabama connection because he wrote the score for the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbirg. He won an Oscar for the music for the 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: April 4, 2020

Saturday, April 4, 2020

One of the war horses of band music is the “Light Cavalry Overture,” by Franz von Suppé. His father never encouraged von Suppé to become a musician, but the local bandmaster did. Living from 1819 to 1895, he composed over four dozen operettas—hardly any of which are performed these days. Nevertheless, his music remains alive in three places: transcriptions of his works into band music; on the program of pops concerts, such as those conducted by the Boston Pops; and in cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Mickey Mouse, and Dudley Dooright.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: March 28, 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Jaime Texidor composed over 500 marches, pasodobles, boleros, foxtrots, jotas, sambas, tangos, and waltzes for wind band. In addition to composing, he was saxophone player, conductor, and publisher. He was also a member of the Spanish Army, joining in 1906. After retiring from the military, he conducted community bands in Carlet, Manises, and Barakaldo. We open today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion with his most famous composition, “Amparito Roca,” composed and premiered in 1925.

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.




WLRH Public Radio
UAH Campus
John Wright Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899

Get Directions


(256) 895-9574

(800) 239-9574