Sunday, December 16, 2007

How Do You Break A Tuba?

This evening was the 20th annual TubaChristmas here in the frozen north, and La Famille Evil was there. What is TubaChristmas you ask? And well you might!

There is history, and pedagogy, and performance standards, etc., behind TubaChristmas, but what it turns out to be in actual fact is 117 tuba, Sousaphones, euphoniums (euphonia?) and other assorted members of the Tuba Family. They swarm into a single location, in this case, the sanctuary of our church, and with essentially no practice, perform a hour of Christmas carol while the audience sings along.

And really, how often do you see 117 tubas in one place? Which begs the question: why would you want to?

How do you break a tuba?
With a tuba four.

TubaChristmas has its own website, tubas are on the technological cutting edge. Do you see any saxophonechristmas website? Huh?

When 117 tubas start to play, the floor vibrates, and the ends of your fingers buzz. Singing along with massed tubas is easiest for altos and basses, as the range is pretty low.

There is something about the kind of person who becomes a tuba player. Who actually pays money for the opportunity to play the tuba. Voluntarily! Quite a few horns were decorated: one woman had her bell stuffed full of poinsettias; a couple were draped with lights that changed color and blinked. Ornaments and even tiny stockings hung off a few, and one Sousaphone had a red light deep in the bell, that cast a rather eerie glow.

Someone even had a "double belled euphonium" which I had only ever heard about in The Music Man, in the song "Seventy-Six Trombones."

Tuba players also dress funny when gathering--top hats, elf hats, scarves & hats that say "Tuba Christmas" and are available at the website.

How do you fix a tuba?
With a tuba glue.

With all apologies to tuba players everywhere--but it is truly a different culture.

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