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 (August 26, 2017)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Henry Mancini was born in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, and was raised near Pittsburgh, in the steel town of West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. His father was a steel worker and required Mancini to begin piccolo lessons when he was 8 years old. At age 12, he began piano lessons. He played flute in the Sons of Italy Wind Band and was a member of a U.S. Army band during WW II. After WW II, he worked as an arranger for the Glenn Miller Orchestra. By 1952, he was in Hollywood writing music for movies.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 12, 2017)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Here are the compositions heard on this edtiion:

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (August 5, 2017)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Central Military Band of the Royal Netherlands Army has a nickname: the Johan Willem Friso Military Band, more often called the JWF Band. Friso was the Prince of Orange and a famous military leader who lived from 1687 to 1710. Beginning at age 20, he lead the Dutch army in the War of Spanish Succession. Curiously, he is an ancestor of every currently reigning European monarch.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 29, 2017)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

We don’t know when August Musarurgwa was born, but we do know that he had a big hit in 1954 with the composition known as “Skokian.” Musarurgwa was from Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia. He joined the South African Police and worked as an interpreter until he was transferred to the police band. Later he became the leader of the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia. In 1954, his big hit “Skokian” was released as performed by the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 22, 2017)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Seymon Tchernetsky was born in Odessa, Russia, in 1881 and died in Moscow in 1950. He became a military bandsman in 1900, playing the trombone. By 1902, he was the bandmaster of the military bands in Odessa. In 1911, he went to St. Petersburg, where he studied under Glasunov and Rimsky-Korsakov. By 1924, he was chief inspector of the Soviet Army and Navy bands. He remained in that position until 1949, the year before he died. He composed and lead the music for the big celebration for the victory of the Soviet Union over the Nazis at the end of World War II.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 15, 2017)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

We begin today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion with what has been described as a duel for two drummers. It’s called “Drumsticks for Two” and was written by the British composer of light music Sidney Torch. He was a trombonist, pianist, cinema organist, conductor, and composer of light music, including music for television and movies. At one point in his career when both were younger, he played trombone in a theater orchestra next to Gustav Holst.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 8, 2017)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

On this episode of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion, you can hear a French military march with an intriguing Alabama connection.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (July 1, 2017): Independence Day

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion focuses on the music of the Olde Towne Brassand features an interview with Bob Baccus and Terry Cornett of the Old Towne Brass. Almost all the instruments you will hear on the program are at least 100 years old. In cases, the instruments are over 150 years old. We’ll also hear some old recordings.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 24, 2017)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will feature music about mountain cats and hot canaries.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 17, 2017)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will feature two stratospheric performances—one on trumpet and one of clarinet. By stratospheric, I mean you will hear very high notes played on both instruments. Both stratospheric notes occur at ends of two compositions you’ll hear on today’s show. One is “My Way” and the other is “Concerto for Clarinet.”

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 10, 2017): World War I Begins

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Although World War I began in 1914, the United States did not enter the war until April 1917. Even then, U.S. troops did not reach Europe until June 1917. On June 7, 1917, in Camden, New Jersey, John McCormack recorded a song already popular in England. The song became the U.S. number-four hit of 1917. The Welshman David Davies wrote the music; Lena Ford, the first American victim of a German air raid on London, wrote the words.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (June 3, 2017)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

La Artistica de Bunol is a Spanish wind band founded in 1883 in Bunol, a town about 16 miles west of Velencia, Spain. The band is well known for their first-class recordings. You can learn more about the band by visiting the program's Facebook page: WLRH Brass, Reeds, and Percussion. Over the past month, if you were listening to Brass, Reeds, and Percussion, you have heard the band perform arrangements of music from Wagner's Ring operas.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 27, 2017): Memorial Day

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion presents music suitable for contemplating the sacrifices of those we remember on Memorial Day.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 20, 2017)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The earliest record of shave-and-a-haircut-two-bits riff is in an 1899 song. The next identified publication occured in 1911. “Two bits,” of course, refers to a quarter in U.S. coins. In different English-speaking countries, it typically ends with different words: “five bob” for five shillings in Britain and “drop dead” in Australia. Numerous musical compositions include the riff, which is typically in as humorous musical punctuation. P.D.Q. Bach and Leonard Bernstein have both used the riff.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 13, 2017)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Before sales of MP3 files, sales of compact discs, and records; before radio, MTV, and iTunes, how was the popularity of tunes determined? Sales of sheet music, typically for piano with lyrics for singing.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (May 6, 2016)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Vincenzo Bellini was an Italian opera composer who lived from 1801 to 1835. Obviously, he died at a young age, but another famous opera composer Rossini admired him and made all of his funeral arrangements. Hence, Rossini buried Bellini. Born in Catania, Bellini was known as the “Swan of Catania,” because of his long and flowing melodies. Another admirer, Giuseppe Verdi, praised Bellini’s melodies and remarked that no one had ever written such long melodies before.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 29, 2017)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Dalmation composer, Franz von Suppe lived from 1819 to 1895 and composed over four dozen operettas. At the time of his birth, Dalmatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Von Suppe was born in what is now Split, Croatia. He grew up in Zadar, Croatia, where he received lessons from the local bandmaster. Apparently, his primary instrument was the flute, but he was also an opera singer.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 22, 2017)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

In the movie Amadeus, Antonio Salieri is depicted as the bitter rival of Mozart with the hint that he may have had Mozart poisoned. In truth, they were probably respectful rivals. And both wrote music for the wind band. Yes, that’s right. I said they both wrote music for the wind band—or harmoniemusik as it was called at the time. So today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will feature the music of the lesser known composer Salieri.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 15, 2017)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features the complete Symphony 2 for Wind Band, composed by Ferrer Farran, born in 1966 in born in Valencia, Spain. At age 15, he was already an accomplished pianist and percussionist, touring and playing with numerous European orchestras. He now serves as conductor of numerous wind bands in both Spain and Italy and has served as principal guest conductor of the Venezuela Symphonic Band.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion (April 8, 2017)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Born in the United States of Australian Parents in 1925, Sir Charles Mackerras arranged music by Sir Arthur Sullivan to create a comic ballet called Pineapple Poll. When he was 2, his parents returned to Australia. At 7, he started learning the violin and wrote a piano concerto by age 12.




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

Get Directions


(256) 895-9574

(800) 239-9574