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: October 24, 2020

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Frank Watz is a Romanian composer born in 1949. His music is published by the prestigious Rundel music publishing house of Austria. He attended Cluj University in Transylvania. Yes, that really is part of Romania. His family taught him how to play the flugelhorn and accordian. In high school\s, he played clarinet and piano. At university, he played the tuba.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: October 17, 2020

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Prince and Madonna weren't the first popular music singers to go by a single name. In the early part of the 20th century, there was a French singer who went by the name Bach, as in Johann Sebastian Bach. His real name was Charles Joseph Pasquier, and he was what the French call a comic trooper, a singer and comedian who dressed up as a soldier and did comic routines based on the lives of soldiers.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: October 10, 2020

Saturday, October 10, 2020

During the 1980s, the Miami Sound Machine and Gloria Estafan had a series of big hits. The first big hit, "Conga," came in 1985, penned by band memberEnrique Elias Garcia, also know as “Kiki” Garcia. Born in 1958 in Cuba, he immigrated with his family to the United States at age 10. Today’s edition features a version of "Conga," played by the Austrian polka band Viera Blech,a seven-man band lead by its percussionist and composer Martin Scharnagl.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: October 3, 2020

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features a recording with a baritone saxophone solo. The bari sax has almost the same range as a tuba. So that makes it very appropriate for a tune entitled "Elephant's Tango," which was apparently a popular hit about 1955. It was composed by Bernie Landes, but we've not been able to find information about him other than he composed this dance tune. The performance “Elephant’s Tango” you'll hear when we open the show is by Tommy Rogers and His Ballroom Orchestra.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 26, 2020

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Popular music is often wind-band music. And if you hit the charts in popular music, that means that the recording industry takes note of your recording because it appears on a list of the most popular tunes. Duke Ellington's first record to hit the charts was "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo," written by Ellington and his cornet player Bubber Miley. King Oliver had already introduced the idea of using unusual mutes for the cornet.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 19, 2020

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Óscar Navarro was born in Alicante, Spain, in 1981. He is a composer, musical educator, conductor and clarinetist. In April 2005, he premiered his symphonic poem "Noah’s Ark" with the Young National Orchestra of Spain. In October 2006, he won first prize at the Adolfo Ventas International Music Composition Competition in Amposta with his arrangement of this same work. He earned his master’s degree in soundtrack composition and television music from the University of Southern California.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 12, 2020

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Charles Gounod was a French composer who lived from 1818 to 1893. During his early childhood years, he and his family lived at the Palace of Versailles, where his father was the official painter for the Duke of Berry.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: September 5, 2020

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features transcriptions of the overtures to four of Giuseppe Verdi's less well-known operas. And this gives us an opportunity to talk about the cimbasso, which was Verdi's preferred bass brass instrument. A cimbasso is a bass trombone operated with keys instead of a slide. That makes it easier to play fast passages. And it's more bass than the bass trombone with a slide.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 29, 2020

Saturday, August 29, 2020

In 1938, Benny Goodman and his band appeared at Carnegie Hall, perhaps the pinnacle of his career. But then he lost his drummer and his piano player. The piano player was replaced by a teenager named Mel Powell, who also arranged the version of “Mission to Moscow.” Powell was just short of 17 when he was hired by Benny Goodman in 1940.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 22, 2020

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Cincinnati is known as the Queen City of the West from when Ohio was the western part of the United States. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow even refers to the city by that name in one of his poems. So today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion opens with the "Queen City March," written by a musician and boilermaker named William H. Boorn who lived from 1906 to 1959. Brass, Reeds, and Percussion thereby salutes one of the one-hit wonders of the wind-band world—since this is just about the only composition Boorn is known by.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 15, 2020

Saturday, August 15, 2020

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features music composed by one of the most influential of all military band leaders. Wilhelm Wieprecht was a German composer, conductor, and arranger who lived from 1802 to 1872. His influence over wind-band music is probably the greatest of any single human. Even though he started out as a violin player and was a member of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, he was inspired to become a military musician when he heard a military band playing the overture to Mozart's Figaro as it marched through the streets of Berlin.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 8, 2020

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Ferdinand David was a German virtuoso violinist and composer who lived from 1810 to 1873. His life is connected to that of Felix Mendelssohn in several ways. First he was born in the same house in which Mendelssohn was born. He was the concertmaster of the Gewandhaus Orchestra while Mendelssohn was the conductor. David gave Mendelssohn technical advice while Mendelssohn was composing his Violin Concerto in E minor.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: August 1, 2020

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Program music attempts to depict an event or a thing musically. Often the title suggests the nature of the “program.” Over the past several weeks, we’ve been airing a series of pieces from a longer composition call the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,” composed by the Alsatian composer Erick Debs. Today’s movement from that longer work is called “Temple of Artemis.” Artemis was the Greek god of the hunt, the wilderness, and the moon.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: July 25, 2020

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Frederick the Great (1712-1786) was king of Prussia from 1740 to 1786, the longest reigning Hohenzollern monarch. He took Prussia from a weak military power to one of the five major powers of Europe. he was not only a significant military leader, but also a social reformer, ending the practice of torture in his kingdom. He was also a musician, taking flute lessons from none other than Johann Joachim Quantz. And not only did he play music, but he also composed music, especially marches for his army.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: July 18, 2020

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Today’s program salute a man who has made many contributions to the musical life of Huntsville: Dave Mendel. On June 26, Dave died at the age of 91. He was a founding member of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra as well as the Huntsville Concert Band, in which he was still playing last year. From 1984 to 1997, Dave was the director of the Huntsville Concert. Dave is one of the many people who has helped make Huntsville a great place to live.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: July 11, 2020 (Bastille Day)

Saturday, July 11, 2020

In recognition of Bastille Day on July 14, this edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features French music. The turning point of the French Revolution is considered July 14, 1789, the day the Bastille was stormed. The Bastille was a prison and armory in the center of Paris and was considered a symbol of the French king's abuse of power. Every July 14, the French celebrate Bastille Day with one of the oldest regular military parades in Europe and with the president of France reviewing the troops and bands, of course.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: July 4, 2020 (Independence Day)

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Today's Independence Day edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion includes patriotic music, of course. But we'll also have a salute to medical professionals because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And you'll hear some patriotic marches composed by less-well-known composers, all active band members and composers around 1900—people like Fred Jewell and Joseph John Richards.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: June 27, 2020 (Robert Browne Hall Day)

Saturday, June 27, 2020

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion celebrates Robert Browne Hall Day. Robert Browne Hall was born in Bowdoinham, Maine, in 1858. Both his father and mother were musicians. By age 18, he was the solo cornettist of the summer band in Old Orchard, Maine. By age 24, he was a solo cornettist with the Baldwin Cadet Band of Boston. He composed over 200 marches, but only 62 were published. Nevertheless, several are famous and popular around the world. For example, the "10th Regiment March" is frequently performed at almost any British brass band concert.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: June 20, 2020

Saturday, June 20, 2020

If you are a regular listener to Brass, Reeds, and Percussion, you probably know that we don't restrict wind-band music to just marches played by military bands. We also feature smaller groups that brass music written by baroque composers, as well as what might be called jazz combos, such as the West End Jazz Band. Today, we open with such a group: Johnny Hodges and His Band in a 1961 recording of "Your Love Has Faded," composed by Billy Strayhorn, one of the most influential jazz composers of the mid 20th century.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: June 13, 2020

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Elbeblech is a German brass quintet. At least four of the five members were taking lessons on brass instruments before the age of 10. All are members of various symphony orchestras around Germany. The group came up with concept album: music attributed to Johan Sebastian Bach, but not actually composed by him and music from the same period as Bach that was as good as Bach.




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