A Tuba of All Things

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI just wasn’t into it.  That phrase could apply to my mood or my final Musing topic for 2015.

For my last topic, I considered writing about the Steve Wariner show I saw at the City Winery during the first week of the month.  It was my third show of his to see this year and while each one was different, I was struggling with a different way to say “what a great guitar player and nice guy Steve is.”  Then, I thought about writing about Christmas music – nah, did that last year.

IMG_2161Regarding my mood – I was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit.  There wasn’t anything in particular, but I just wasn’t feeling Christmas yet.  Though I sang in a Christmas program, I was too focused on cut-offs notes to enjoy it.  But then the Christmas mood hit me through something unexpected – a tuba.  Yes, a tuba.
A friend and member of my church started the Nashville version of Tuba Christmas in 1987.  What is Tuba Christmas, you ask?  It something you just have to experience to appreciate.  The first Tuba Christmas was organized at the ice rink in Rockefeller Center in 1974 by Harvey Phillips who had to convince Rockefeller personnel to hold the event by providing references by such notables as Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski, etc.  It has been replicated in cities across the country.

Remember – there is always a Nashville connection.  The church member I know was a student of Harvey Phillips and was persuaded to help launch Nashville’s version in 1987.  It has been held in many venues through the years and this year, the two performances were held at a large downtown church.  Tuba players are volunteers and they gather for one rehearsal.  This year in Nashville, there were 132 tubas with players ranging in age from 11 to 85 years old.

tuba christmasOne wouldn’t expect 132 tubas playing carols to be pretty – but they were.  I slipped in and sat by myself in the back of the church.  As the tubas played and I sang familiar hymns without thinking about pitch or work or church business or sickness or my undecorated house – it hit me.  The Christmas spirit snuck in the back door and quietly sat beside me.  As we left the church together, we hummed some carols.

Take a few moments this Christmas season and just “be”.  It doesn’t have to be tubas, but put some carols on and just sing along with them.  The gift list can wait – we have plenty.

Thank you for letting me take some of your time every couple of weeks as I spout off.  I hope you and yours have a great holiday season.  Think of those who will have one less at the table or around the tree.

See you in 2016.


P.S.  Here is the set list for the 2015 Tuba Christmas:

  • Come All Ye Faithful
  • Deck the Halls
  • The First Noel
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem
  • Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Silent Night
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  • Joy to the World
  • Santa Wants A Tuba for Christmas (composed by Harvey Phillips)
  • Carol of the Bells
  • Jingle Bells
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas
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