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Thread: Tuba Christmas

  1. #1

    Tuba Christmas

    Yesterday I took part in my 1st official Tuba Christmas-- in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I've done smaller ensembles of this type on several occasions-- the Collegium Tubum at the University of Iowa, but this was my first mass ensemble-- around 75 players.

    It was a lot of fun and I would like to do it again. However, at the one yesterday euphoniums were outnumbered by tubas by about 2-1. According to my wife in the audience, this contributed to a somewhat muddy sounding ensemble and the upper voices sometimes were drowned out by the lower voices.

    Have others of you had the same experience?

    It seems as if tuba players especially get excited about Tuba Christmas. I have some euphonium playing friends that I might try harder to get to participate in the future.

  2. #2
    I have done this about 10 times over the years, some in Washington state, some in Texas and some in South Dakota where I am now. Most of the time, there have been enough euphoniums. One thing that continually bugs me at the Tuba Christmas in South Dakota (Rapid City), is that every year, a trombone player shows up, and plays so loud that it is really annoying, and he stands out like a sore thumb. I asked the organizers to suggest to this chap that he either find a euphonium or find another venue. So much for my suggestion, seems like the organizers have taken a gentler approach and allowed this chap to play each year. I can only keep hoping. I know, I am a Scrooge, I should let the poor chap play and keep my mouth shut...
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  3. No, I agree with you. You have to draw the line somewhere--it isn't really meant for woodwinds, strings, etc., either.

  4. #4
    Perhaps trombone players should be required to use a bucket mute.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  5. #5
    Better yet a practice mute.
    Steve Petrangelo
    Lake Havasu Symphonic Winds (board/treasurer)
    Lake Havasu Regional Orchestra (tuba/board/treasurer)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,162
    If they have a slide they should just, "slide on outta here".
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by RickF View Post
    If they have a slide they should just, "slide on outta here".
    I like that answer. Perhaps I can suggest that this year (next Sunday, Dec 11th). I also like the mute ideas. My favorite ideas are to give his car a flat tire so he can't make it to the rehearsal and gig and/or send him an erroneous email giving the wrong date for the event. I am so mean!!
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    2,000
    The original idea of Tuba Christmas (and keep in mind it's called "TUBA Christmas" for a reason) was to provide for an ensemble of conical bore low brass instruments. The invitation on the web site says "Tuba and euphonium players are again invited to participate in one or more of the TUBACHRISTMAS concerts/events presented throughout the world." It doesn't say "low brass players" or "brass players". In fact, for what it's worth, the Wikipedia page on Tuba Christmas lists "conical bore" as one of the requirements. And this requirement is repeated on a number of other sites. I don't know whether these are all copying from the Wikipedia page or the Wikipedia page is copying from somewhere else, but it's safe to say that there appears to be a near universal view that Tuba Christmas is for conical bore instruments in the "tuba family". Alto horns definitely count. I"m not sure about flugelhorns (though, morphologically, I would count them).

    Trumpets, cornets, French horns, trombones? No. Serpents? Tough question. I think they should be grandfathered in -- and have played in Tuba Christmas events where a Serpent has appeared. Ophicleide? I'd say no, but I can see the controversy.

    In full disclosure, I have in recent years organized small ensemble performances playing out of the Tuba Christmas book. Some of these have been euphonium/tuba groups and others have included trombones. But these aren't official Tuba Christmas events. It works with the trombones. It's okay. But it doesn't sound as good -- not to me anyway. And there's just nothing wrong with restricting these official Tuba Christmas events to conical bore instruments. It's the sound that Harvey Phillips was interested in, and it's something special. If you need to use a trombone to play that music, by all means do so. But maybe use a bit of common sense and consideration, and don't show up at a Tuba Christmas expecting to be welcomed into it.

    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  9. #9
    Loan the trombone player a euphonium! Tell him to take off the black hat and put on the white hat!

    Loved doing tube Christmas; thats why I'm teaching my son to play - so we can do it together.
    Chris Bunker
    Adams E1, Wick 4AL

  10. #10
    The euphonium players there should warm up loudly (and not all that well) on "I'm Getting Sentimental" and "Lassus Trombone" etc. Maybe he would get the hint. Advanced euphonium players could warm up on the trombone solo from Bolero or the Rimsky-Korsakov trombone concerto.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

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