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 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.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: June 6, 2020

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Why does a woodwind quintet have a brass instrument, the French horn? A brass quintet has all brass instruments including a French horn. (The other instruments are two trumpets, one trombone, and one tuba.) A woodwind quintet has four true woodwind instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon. But it also has a French horn.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 30, 2020

Saturday, May 30, 2020

In 1993, a comedy horror film premiered with the character Ash Williams as a time traveler transported from the modern day to the Middle Ages armed with a chainsaw. As might be expected, the main character has a quest: to find the Necronomicon, which can be used to return to the present. But he has to fight the undead to succeed in his quest. Born in 1958, Joseph LoDuca wrote the music for the Army of Darkness and won awards for his efforts.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 23, 2019 (Memorial Day edition)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Memorial Day is a supposed to inspire a somber contemplation of those who have sacrificed their lives on the altar of freedom. So today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion will be a bit more somber than other editions. We’ll begin with taps, composed in 1862 by Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield , who was apparently dissatisfied with the French bugle call being used to signal “lights out.” He maintained it was too formal. So he modified an earlier bugle call in U.S. in the Army from 1835 until 1860.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 16, 2020

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion opens with a 1932 hit written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. It’s called “You’re Getting To Be a Habit With Me.” It was one of three songs by Warren and Dubin composed for the film musical 42nd Street. Warren was of Italian descent, born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1893. He composed mostly for film, but 112 of his songs not only appeared in movies but also in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Dubin was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1891.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 9, 2020

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features movie music that also a became popular hit. First, we’re going to hear “A Precious Little Thing Called Love,” which reached number 11 on the popular music charts in 1929. It was composed by Lou Davis, a Tin-Pin Alley composer who lived from 1881 to 1961. Paramount Pictures chose this song out of 150 submissions for the theme of the Gary Cooper film A Shopworn Angel.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: May 2, 2020

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Our listeners tell us that the best thing about Brass, Reeds, and Perucssion is the variety. Today, is the perfect example. Among other things, you’re going to hear the following on today’s edition: music from the 1300s, 1600s, a transcription of some opera music, jazz from the 1920s, and original music composed for band from the 20th century. We’ll open today’s show with a “Jubilee Sounds March, composed by Ernst Uebel, a German wind-band composer who lived from 1881 to 1959.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion; April 25, 2020

Saturday, April 25, 2020

This edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion features an original wind-band composition by the Italian composer Armin Kofler, whose name sounds German because he comes from South Tyrol, the most northern of Italian provinces. Because South Tyrol was formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, three languages are spoken there: German, Italian, and Ladin. Born in 1981, Kofler started piano lessons at age 5 and trumpet lessons at age 9.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: April 18, 2020

Saturday, April 18, 2020

We open today's edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion with a march by the Czech composer Karel Padivy, born in 1908. Since his father was both the village tailor and member of the village band, Karel learned how to play violin and wind instruments at a young age. In fact, by age 14 he was playing in a Czechoslovakian military band. Eventually, he became a member of a military band in what is now Slovakia, where he was also the bandmaster of a firefighter's band.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: April 11, 2020

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Although he composed music for film, television, and Broadway, Elmer Bernstein’s music is played every football season by the band of the University of South Carolina. That’s because the school’s fight song is based on his song “Step to the Rear” from his Broadway musical How Now, Dow Jones. He also has an Alabama connection because he wrote the score for the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbirg. He won an Oscar for the music for the 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: April 4, 2020

Saturday, April 4, 2020

One of the war horses of band music is the “Light Cavalry Overture,” by Franz von Suppé. His father never encouraged von Suppé to become a musician, but the local bandmaster did. Living from 1819 to 1895, he composed over four dozen operettas—hardly any of which are performed these days. Nevertheless, his music remains alive in three places: transcriptions of his works into band music; on the program of pops concerts, such as those conducted by the Boston Pops; and in cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Mickey Mouse, and Dudley Dooright.

Brass, Reeds, and Percussion: March 28, 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Jaime Texidor composed over 500 marches, pasodobles, boleros, foxtrots, jotas, sambas, tangos, and waltzes for wind band. In addition to composing, he was saxophone player, conductor, and publisher. He was also a member of the Spanish Army, joining in 1906. After retiring from the military, he conducted community bands in Carlet, Manises, and Barakaldo. We open today’s edition of Brass, Reeds, and Percussion with his most famous composition, “Amparito Roca,” composed and premiered in 1925.




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