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: January 12, 2019

Saturday, January 12, 2019

With this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion, we will begin featuring a series of longer wind-band compositions of Jan Van der Roost, a Belgian composer born in 1956. He is one of the most prolific of wind-band composers, probably in the world. He studied trombone, music history, and musical education at the Lemmensinstituut in (Louvain). He continued his studies at the Royal Conservatoires of Ghent and Antwerp. Today, we feature the composition “From Ancient Times,” inspired by the music of Renaissance of Belgian.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (January 5, 2019)

Saturday, January 5, 2019

One of the big movie hits of 2018 was Crazy Rich Asians, based on the novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan. Kwan indicates the novel and movie are roughly based on his experiences growing up in Singapore and are designed to introduce North Americans to modern Asia. The movie features recordings by Jasmine Chen, a mainland Chinese singer and pianist who graduated from Leeds College in Britain.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 22, 2018)

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A portugaler is a 15th century dance that was popular throughout Europe. One might think that the name indicates music from Portugal, but some musicologists dispute that. They suggest a more likely explanation is that Isabel of Portugal, who was the Duchess of Burgundy located in east-central France, was especially fond on this type of dance. In any event, we begin today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion with a Christmas portugaler performed on recorders.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 15, 2018)

Saturday, December 15, 2018

In 1971, Oliver Waespi (VEHSH pee) was born in Zurich, Switzerland. Like Tchaikovsky and many other composers, he turned from being a lawyer to being a musician. He studied composition at the Zurich Conservatory, but also with American composer Alfred Reed, when he taught at the Lucerne Conservatory. As a child, he learned to play the guitar and trombone. He has won numerous awards for his band compositions, but also composes for symphony, choir, piano, guitar, and organ. Today’s edition features his “Divertimento,” a work in four non-stop movements.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 8, 2018)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

This year, Hannakuh goes from December 2 to December 10. To celebrate Hannakuh, this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features an arrangement of klezmer classics by Johan De Meij, a Dutch wind-band composer born in 1953 in Voorburg, the Netherlands. Voorburg is a suburb of the Hague, where De Meij graduated from the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. Before concentrating on composing and conducting, he was a professional trombone player, but also played the flute and the euphonium.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (December 1, 2018)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Today's opening march is named “Hoch Heidecksburg.” Well, when it's played in Germany and Austria, it has that name. When it's played in France, it's called "On the Banks of the Rhine"; and when it's played by the band of the British Royal Military Police, it's called "The Watchtower." Regardless of where it's played, it's a great march written by Rudolf Herzer who lived from 1878 to 1914. Born in the Thuringia, Herzer served for 24 years in the Germany army and was head of the Music Corps.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 24, 2018)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Heard on this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion were music from Puccini's opera “Tosca,” a wind-band arrangement of a big hit by Mike and the Mechanics, and Max Hempel's most famous march: "Laridah. Max Hempel was born in 1877 in Thuringia, Germany. He started his musical life as a violinist, playing in a spa orchestra at the age of 14. At age 19, he joined the Bavarian military as a bandsman. After graduating from the Academy of Music in Munich, he became the director of the 1st Bavarian Infantry Band in Munich.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 17, 2018)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Benjamin Yeo was born in 1985 in Singapore. He started playing trumpet at age 7 and began composing for wind band at age 15. He is generally recognized as one of the outstanding 21st century wind-band composers, published by the prestigious C. L. Barnhouse Co. of the United States and the equally prestigious Beriato Music of Belgium. As part of his national service, he played trumpet in the Singapore Armed Forces Band. Yeo is currently the band director of the Saint Andrew's School Military Band in Singapore.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 10 2018): Veterans' Day and End of WW I

Saturday, November 10, 2018

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the fighting in World War I ended when an armistice took effect. What was called Armistice Day is now Veterans’ Day. This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion commemorates the end of WW I and honors our veterans.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (November 3, 2018)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion begins with a German march composed to commemorate the Saxon’s conquering the Holstein city of Kiel during the German-Danish War. The composer Friedrich Spohr was the leader of the Saxon band attached to the Saxon military units. In 1890, the march became popular with the German navy and is still played when German navy ships leave or enter port.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: October 27, 2018

Saturday, October 27, 2018

In 1887, Oscar Wilde wrote a novella about an American family that moved into an English castle haunted by the ghost of Sir Simon: “The Canterville Ghost.” The ghost had scared off a number of owners of the castle. But the Americans weren't scared off him; in fact, they were amused by his antics. When they heard his rattling chains, for example, they offered him lubrication to quiet the noise.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (September 20, 2018): Charge at Burkel

Saturday, October 20, 2018

On October 19, 1918 (100 years ago), the Charge at Burkel occurred in Belgium during the closing days of Word War I. The Charge at Burkel was the last cavalry change to occur in Europe. Burkel is located in the northwestern part of Belgium near Bruges. Beginning in August, the allied forces had made a number of attacks on the German lines. During mid-October, the Germans began retreating to the Hindenberg line.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (October 13, 2018)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

One hundred years ago today because of WW I, American soldiers were in Siberia. To commemorate this little known story about WW I, this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features Russian music. But why were American soldiers in Siberia during WW I? To rescue the Czeckoslovak Legion , a group of Czecks and Slovaks that volunteered to fight in the Russian Army during WW I in hopes of freeing their homelands from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (October 6, 2018)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

One hundred years ago today, Americans were dying in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I. This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion commemorates this event with 100-year-old recordings and other music from that time. When the attack began on September 26, the allies expended more artillery ammunition than both the Union and Confederate armies had expended during the entire American Civil War.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (September 29, 2018)

Saturday, September 29, 2018

During the early part of the 20th century, Paul Lincke was to Berlin what Johann Strauss was to Vienna or Jacques Offenbach was to Paris; that is, a popular composer of operettas. He started his musical life as a high school bassoon player and played in the city band of Wittenberg, Germany. Lincke also learned how to play the tenor horn, drums, piano, and violin.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (September 22, 2018)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Robert Jager was born in 1939 in Binghamton, New York, and graduated from the University of Michigan. He served 4 years in the U.S. Navy and was a staff arranger and composer at the Armed Forces School of Music. From 1971 to 2001, he was a professor of music and band director at Tennessee Technical University in Cookeville, Tenn. He has over 150 compositions to his credit for band, orchestra, and chorus. Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion opens with one of his most popular march compositions: “Stars and Bars.”

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (September 15, 2018)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The British wind-band called the Trans-Siberian March Band is sometimes described as the Sex Pistols of Balkan brass music. Beginning in the 1990s, Balkan brass-band music became popular in Europe. It uses the traditional wind-band instruments, but employs the rhythms and harmony typically found in the Balkans, especially Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania. The tempos of the music are typically very fast.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (September 8, 2018)

Saturday, September 8, 2018

During the 19th century, popular music wasn’t played on the typical instruments of the 20th century rock band: guitars, keyboard, and drums. Instead popular music was more typically performed on wind instruments, such as the cornet. Jean Baptiste Arban lived from 1825 to 1889 and was the cornet virtuoso of his day. Perhaps his most famous composition is the “Carnival of Venice,” but he also wrote a method book for playing the cornet and saxhorn, still used by cornet players to this day.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 25, 2018)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion feature a jazz standard that started out as a composition by an obscure French composer. Jean Gabriel Prosper Marie was born in 1852 and attended the Paris Conservatory. In 1887, he composed "The Golden Wedding" for piano and cello; later, it was arranged for other sets of instruments. It became something of a hit for the time. It became an even bigger hit in 1940 when it was performed by Woody Herman and his band. The jazz version is particularly noted for its drum solo.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 18, 2018)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features the music of Harry Warren. Warren was an American composer and lyricist born in New York City in 1893. His composed over 800 songs, more than Irving Berlin, but was known as the incognito Hollywood composer—even though three episodes of the Lawrence Welk Show were devoted to his music. His parents were Italian immigrants who couldn’t afford music lessons for Harry, but—at a young age—he taught himself to play his father’s accordion.




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

Get Directions


(256) 895-9574

(800) 239-9574