MU School of Music celebrates with the annual TUBACHRISTMAS performance

Columbia TUBACHRISTMAS 2016

Columbia, MO TUBACHRISTMAS

Columbia TUBACHRISTMAS 2016

Columbia, MO TUBACHRISTMAS

KCMO TUBACHRISTMAS

Kansas City MO TUBACHRISTMAS

Author: 
Susan Worstell

The holidays bring about a time of joy, festivity, music, and tradition.  One of the traditions in the MU School of Music is performing the annual TUBACHRISTMAS concert. In it’s 43rd year, the global event was conceived in 1974 by Harvey Phillips as a tribute to his teacher and mentor William J. Bell, who was born on Christmas Day.  Dr. Phillips, who attended MU prior to attending Julliard and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Missouri, was a dedicated advocate for the tuba and was the founder and president of the Harvey Phillips Foundation, Inc. which administers Octubafest, Tubachristmas, Tubasantas, Tubacompany, and Tubajazz.  Each year, thousands of tuba and euphonium players gather all over the world in concert halls, malls, classrooms, restaurants, etc. to join together in playing traditional Christmas fare. 

For several years, the MU School of Music has participated in two TUBACHRISTMAS events, one in Columbia and one in Kansas City. This year, the Columbia performance, sponsored by Don and Vena Long of Columbia, was held December 10, 2016. Participants met at MU in the morning to practice and then traveled to Columbia Mall to perform for approximately 45 minutes in the afternoon. The café court of the mall was packed with instruments, players, and audience members who all enjoyed listening to the performance.  “This is such a lovely way to get in the holiday spirit!” was overheard by an audience member.
Dr. Angelo Manzo, MU’s tuba and euphonium instructor, has coordinated the event for many years.  This year, Dr. Erin Cooper, Marching Mizzou Band Director, directed the ensemble and was delighted to participate.  Says Cooper, “I've always wanted to participate in a Tuba Christmas as I love the holidays as playing euphonium as a secondary instrument!  So it was a real treat to get to conduct our Tuba Christmas in Columbia AND get to play at the one in Kansas City within just a couple days!  Being new to Columbia, it was so much fun being able to conduct our students, alums, and prospective students - even as young as the fifth grade!  It was also great to see the community support when we performed!  The Kansas City performance was also special to be able to be in the Kauffman Center for the first time as well as meet some of our alums and donors!  Both events definitely put me in the holiday spirit!” Cody Dailey, a current student at MU pursuing a Masters in Tuba Performance, narrated and introduced each song.  Cody commented, "It was so moving to see how many people from all over the community came to watch Tuba Christmas, especially the kids!”  Indeed over 80 Tuba/Euphonium players dressed in holiday colors and/or “ugly” sweaters, some decorating their instruments, gathered for the event.  The mood was one of joy, celebration, and pride.  Says Jordan Summers, Band Director in Marshall, MO, “The Tubachristmas event in Columbia was a huge success! I took three students who were all attending Tubachristmas for the first time, and each remarked how it was such a unique experience to play in a group like that. All three said they are excited to go back next year!  I just found out one of my students has worn his Tubachristmas pin every day since the performance. Just an illustration of how much he enjoyed it!”

TUBACHRISTMAS offers an opportunity for participants to play with family members and friends, old and new, of all different ages, experiences, and backgrounds.  Many parents come play with their children and many parents love to come listen and enjoy the experience as an audience member. “I love Tuba Christmas. The music reverberates through your entire being when you have 100 or so tubas playing at once.  My favorite song is Carol of the Bells.” said Laura Redfield-Jacobs, whose 16-year-old-son Joseph Jacobs has played in two Tuba Christmases.  Joseph responded that it was fun.  He heard about Tuba Christmas from his music instructor, Dr. Angelo Manzo.  His favorite song is Carol of the Bells, with Jingle Bells a close second.  He is looking forward to playing again next year!
The following Monday, many MU music students and faculty travelled to Kansas City to meet many alums, supporters, and others to participate in the TUBACHRISTMAS event at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, coordinated by the Kansas City Symphony.  MU School of Music supporters Don Flora and John Perkowski sponsored the event which was a big success.  Don Flora (BSIE ‘66, MSIE ‘68, MSPH ‘71, and Marching Mizzou Alum) was very happy to see all the performers.  He states, “2016 Tuba Christmas was the 6th time it has been held at the Kauffman Center. It is incredibly exciting to see over 700 young and experienced Tuba/Euphonium enthusiasts perform over two days. The venue is world class. Performing in such a venue is a rare opportunity for even seasoned artists, much less for most of the Tuba Christmas performers. It is a thrill and, for most, a once in a lifetime opportunity. And the fact that so many of their friends and family get to see and hear their loved ones preform in that setting- well words fail me. People need to attend a Tuba Christmas performance sometime soon. It will be an experience that they will not soon forget. Merry Tuba Christmas!” 
This is truly a unique and special event enjoyed by all who participate and listen.  The MU School of Music is happy to participate in both events fostering a spirit of cooperation and celebration.