Submitted by Rebecca Dorn, E-flat Tuba, Crossroads Brass Band
TubaChristmas was established by Indiana University’s Distinguished Professor of Music, Harvey Phillips, as an event to allow tuba players of all ages and walks of life to get together and play Christmas Carols. It is a legacy he has left back to the tuba playing profession, and it not only allows large groups of tuba/euphonium players a chance to play together, something they rarely if ever get to do, it allows the public to come hear a large massed tuba ensemble, which is something the public never gets to do. It is a most unforgettable sound.
This year (2023) marks the 50th anniversary year of TubaChristmas. The first TubaChristmas was organized by Harvey Phillips to honor his tuba teacher William Bell, born on Christmas Day 1902. It was held December 22, 1974, in the ice skating rink at New York City’s Rockefeller Center. Over 300 musicians played that day, beginning a holiday tradition. The arrangements of the Christmas carols were written by Alec Wilder, who coincidentally died on Christmas Eve in 1980. He was a loyal supporter of every effort to improve the literature and public image of our chosen instruments. Through Alec Wilder we express our respect and gratitude to all composers who continue to embrace our instruments with their compositions and contribute to the ever growing solo and ensemble repertoire for tuba and euphonium.
I participated in Louisville, Kentucky’s TubaChristmas on December 23, 2023 at the St. Matthew’s Mall. This was my 19th year participating in this special Tuba activity. It was special because I sat and played next to my tuba teacher, John Jones. Mr. Jones “JJ” first introduced me to TubaChristmas as a freshman at Ball State. We played 45 minutes of Christmas carols for all of the holiday shoppers. You can check out our performance through the following links: https://www.facebook.com/groups/960171494012332/permalink/7603126943050054/?mibextid=oMANbw
I enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new people who all have the same love for the tuba/euphonium. So, if you live in a city that has a TubaChristmas concert and you’re looking for a fun activity a bit off the beaten path, give it a try. The worst thing that can happen is that your digestion improves from having your insides rumbled around a bit.