Ever hear 30 tubas, baritones and euphoniums play Christmas carols? Well, now you can.
Columbus’ first-ever Tuba Christmas will be taking place at 4 p.m. on Sunday at First United Methodist Church, 3602 16th St. The free, hour-long show will feature musicians from the community playing classic holiday tunes. Anyone with a tuba, baritone or euphonium can play in the show. Registration is $10 and begins at 1 p.m., with the rehearsal starting at 1:30 p.m.
The event is being organized by Wade Howles, the band director for Lakeview Community Schools. He said this kind of performance is unique and should be quite the spectacle.
“If you’ve never heard the sounds of 20, 30, 40 tubas and euphoniums all playing Christmas carols, it’s quite a sound to behold,” Howles said.
The first Tuba Christmas was performed back in 1974 in New York City. Today, similar events are hosted around the world. The list of songs comes from the book “Carols For a Merry Tuba Christmas”. It will be available for purchase at the show for performers at the price of either $20 or $25 depending on the book size. Howles said people are asked to bring their own music stand and encourages people to dress festive and decorate their instruments.
Since 2015, Howles has organized a group of students to attend the Tuba Christmas concert in Omaha. But this year they had to cancel the trip due to weather.
“This year we had a gigantic ice and snow storm and couldn't go,” Howles said. “Just wasn't worth risking the health of the students to get up there.”
For the past three years, Lakeview High School senior Caitlin Buck has participated in the Tuba Christmas in Omaha. She said she enjoyed playing her euphonium in the show and getting the free participation button, adding she was disappointed when plans for this year's trip were nixed.
“That was kind of a bummer because it was my senior year and I wasn't going to be able to go,” Buck said. “It’s a tradition for my family now, too. Like, my mom would never ever want to miss it because our whole family can come down and watch. And my family is super busy, so we never have traditions like that."
So when they couldn't go to Tuba Christmas, Howles decided to bring Tuba Christmas to them.
“You know what, we’re going to do this,” Howles said. “We weren't able to go this year, what better time to start?"
Howles said he anticipates about 30 players of all ages participating in the show. He said several community members have shown interest in attending. Some of these people include The Rev. Aaron Witt of Christ Lutheran Church and School, Assistant Director of Bands Dr. Josh Calkin of Wayne State College, Columbus High School Band Director Jeff Peabody and Central Community College Music Instructor Anthony Burnham.
This is one show Howles said people aren't going to want to miss.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun and it’s going to be really unique. Most people are used to seeing tubas and euphoniums in like a concert band or a polka band. And what they’re doing in those groups is not normally that interesting, it’s background (music),” Howles said.
“So their parts aren't super exciting. This is one of the few times where you actually get the melody as a tuba or euphonium player. Every part gets the melody at some point. So not only is it just a cool experience to hear those instruments in a different light but to hear what it sounds like to have tubas and euphoniums play in four-part harmony, it’s just a unique sound that most people never get to hear.”
Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com