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 (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.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 4, 2018)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Percussion is emphasized in this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion. This edition inlcudes a dixieland composition featuring a glockenspiel and the "Concerto for Two Tympanists" by Philip Glass. The show opens with the "Lancer March" by Russian composer Valery Khalilov who lived from 1952 to 2016 and was tragically killed in a plane crash that year, along with members of the Russian Army Band and Choir. Lt. Gen.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 28, 2018): Death of Joyce Kilmer

Saturday, July 28, 2018

At this time, 100 years ago, World War I was raging in Europe—especially an engagement called the Second Battle of the Marne, which began on July 15 and ended on August 6, 1918. During this battle, one of America’s most famous poets was killed.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 21, 2018): Battle of Soissons

Saturday, July 21, 2018

This edition once again features 100-year-old recordings and 100-year-old compositions as we commerorate the Battle of Soissons during World War I. The Battle of Soissons occurred from July 18 to 22, 1918. Although the allied attack on the Germans was lead by the French, American soldiers participated in a major way in this battle. Before this battle, there was doubt on both sides about the American soldiers, but their performance impressed both the German and French military leaders.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 14, 2018): Battle of Chateau Thierry

Saturday, July 14, 2018

On July 15, 1918, near Chateau Thierry in France, the German military forces launched an attack on the American Expeditionary Force under the command of General John "Black Jack" Pershing. This battle what is part of an overall operation called the Second Battle of the Marne. The Marne River was located 50 miles from Paris. On July 18, the Americans responded with a surprise attack on the Germans.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 7, 2018)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Jimmie Dodd was the master of ceremonies for the original Mickey Mouse Club, a television show that aired from 1955 to 1959. The show was opened and closed with the “Mickey Mouse March.” The music and song was written by Jimmie Dodd—a musician, composer, and guitarist hired by Walt Disney to host the show. Before the television show, Dodd had been a minor movie and television actor. He is the quintessential one-hit wonder, with his whole career dependent on the television show and the “Mickey Mouse March.”

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 30, 2018): Robert B. Hall Day and Fourth of July

Saturday, June 30, 2018

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion celebrates Robert B. Hall Day, in solidarity with the citizens of Maine, as well as the Fourth of July. It features music written during WW I.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 23, 2018)

Saturday, June 23, 2018

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features music composed by Lt. Gen. Valery Khalilov, former commander of Russian military bands. Khalilov is a military band director having the rank of lieutenant general, but that should give us some idea of the respect the Russian military and government had for Valery Khalilov. He conducted the Russian Victory Day celebrations a record 14 times in Moscow's Red Square. He was born into a family of military band directors in Uzbekistan in 1952.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 16, 2018)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Baroque composer Dietrich Buxtehude was probably born in 1637 and probably in a part of Denmark that is now part of Sweden. In any event, he always claimed to be a Dane, but eventually lived in Lubeck, Germany, where he played the church organ. Among his fans were George Frederick Handel and Johann Mattheson, Handel's friend who almost killed Handel when they got mad at each other one time. Another big fan was Johann Sebastian Bach, who hiked 250 miles to listen to Buxtehude and stayed almost 3 months in Lubeck.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 9, 2018)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

In 1969, in Britain, John Arthy was an amateur musician who placed a want ad for dance band music. A woman responded to the ad and sold him 2,000 arrangements of dance band music from the 1920s and 30s. The arrangement on the top of the pile was the "Home in Pasadena," by American song writer and composer Harry Warren. So Arthy named his new band the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, a wind band still in existence today, but with professional musicians—still playing music from the 1920s and 30s.




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