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 (April 6, 2019)

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Born in Prague in 1827, Anton Rosenkranz spent most of his adult life as a bandmaster in the Army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. While he studied at the Prague Conservatory, he became the bandmaster of Civil Infantry Corps of Praue—at age 20. From 1848, he was bandmaster of the 2nd Styrian Volunteer Infantry Battalion. He then served as bandmaster of the band of the 39th Infantry Regiment and the 80th Infantry Regiment. In 1878, Rosenkranz succeeded Carl Michael Ziehrer as bandmaster of the 76th Infantry Regiment in Vienna.

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

Saturday, March 30, 2019

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features original wind-band music by Beethoven. His Octet is not a transcription, a type of composition in which someone converts an orchestral work to a wind-band arrangement. Instead, it was written for the harmonie (the wind-band of the late 18th century and early 19th century), with instrumentation typically consisting of two clarinets, two oboes, two bassoons, and two horns. The harmonie was often augmented with a string bass, as is the typical concert wind band or jazz band of today.

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

Saturday, March 23, 2019

We’ve probably all heard of Johann Strauss, father and son, but today we feature music by their biggest rival during the last half of the 19th century: Carl Michael Ziehrer. When one of Johann Strauss’ publishers had a falling out with that composer, he promoted Ziehrer to take his place—in 1863 when Ziehrer was only 20 years old. Shortly after that, Ziehrer obtained a position as a military band leader in Vienna.

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

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Most of today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will consist of wind-band arrangement of popular songs, but we will start today’s show with a march by the Bohemian composer Hermann Josef Schneider, who lived from 1862 to1921. Even though he was never a bandmaster in the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s army, he nevertheless composed some of the most frequently performed marches of that army. But today’s composition is the official march of the Swiss Infantry Regiment 5 and named the Archduke Albrecht Review March. It’s named after Austrian Archduke Albrecht.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (March 2, 2019)

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Mardi Gras is this Tuesday, March 5. So this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will feature music and musicians from New Orleans. We'll start the show with the "Sugarfoot Stomp" by King Oliver, who lived from 1881-1938. He was born in Abend, Louisiana, which is on the Mississippi River north of New Orleans. As with so many other New Orleans musicians of that period, Oliver played in brass bands in Storyville. In 1917, he and other band members were arrested, an event that motivated a move to Chicago in 1918.

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

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Josef Myslivecek was a mentor to Mozart in his younger years and had significant influence on the early works of Mozart. Today's edition features Myslivecek's Octet 2 in E Flat for harmonie, which was the wind band popular in Europe from appoximately 1775 to 1825. It typically consisted of two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, and two horns. Sometimes this instrumentation was augmented with a string bass.

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

Saturday, February 16, 2019

This month, one of the greats of wind-band music had a birthday. Sammy Nestico turned 95 years old on February 6. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Nestico was a staff arranger for Pittsburgh radio station WCAE in 1941 at age 17. During his career, he arranged music for the Count Basie Orchestra for 17 years, the U.S. Air Force Band for 15 years, and the U.S. Marine Band for 5 years. In addition, he played trombone in the big bands of Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Gene Krupa, and Charlie Barnet.

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

Saturday, February 9, 2019

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features three different marches, all named after St. Petersburg. We call this edition “St. Petersburg March” day. This first march is among the German Army's collection of official marches. Although changed from time to time, this official collection has been in existence since 1817 when Prussian King Frederick Wilhelm III when instituted the policy. One of the oldest of the marches included in the collection is the “St.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (Feburary 2, 2019)

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Percussion no longer gets short shrift on Brass, Reeds, and Pecussion because this edition featurea a snare-drum solo. Alexander Borodin never finished his opera Prince Igor. Instead, the performing version was prepared by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov. Perhaps one of the most famous pieces from this opera is the “Polovtsian Dances.” Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features a snare drum solo based on this composition, written by the Japanese composer Masmichi Amano.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (January 26, 2019)

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Paquito d’Rivera was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1948. When he was a child, his father took him to the Tropicana night club and to concerts by bands and orchestras. He started saxophone lessons with his father at age 5. In 1960, he was enrolled in the Havana Conservatory of Music where he also learned to play the clarinet. In 1965, at age 17, he was the featured soloist of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (January 19, 2019)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Walter Kollo is a German composer of operettas and what the Germans call evergreens . In terms of music, a German evergreen is a popular music hit—and Kollo had quite a number of them, including our opening number on today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: “Untern Linden.” Kollo lived from 1878 to 1940. He also wrote music for film and the German form of Broadway musicals.

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.




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