Low brass players bring TUBACHRISTMAS to town

Sounds of the area’s low brass will be filling the Huntington Mall with holiday cheer at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, as the city celebrates the 40th anniversary of TUBACHRISTMAS.

In addition to the West Virginia TUBACHRISTMAS, it is expected that 250 more cities worldwide will present the concerts, according to West Virginia TUBACHRISTMAS Coordinator Dr. George Palton, who is also the instructor of tuba and euphonium at Marshall.

“Depending on the population of any given geographic area, TUBACHRISTMAS ensembles may attract multiples of 100 participants aged 8 to 95 years,” Palton said. “To my knowledge, Huntington has been participating since 2003.”

TUBACHRISTMAS was created by Harvey Phillips in honor of his teacher, tubist William J. Bell, who was born Christmas Day, 1902.

“Every Christmas season, tuba and euphonium players of all ages, from specific geographic areas, gather to pay respect—through William J. Bell—to all the great artists and teachers who represent their heritage,” Palton said.

Every TUBACHRISTMAS performance features traditional Christmas carols composed by Alec Wilder and specially arranged for the first TUBACHRISTMAS on Dec. 22, 1974, in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza.

“Through Wilder, TUBACHRISTMAS concerts pay grateful tribute to composers who have embraced these noble instruments with solo and ensemble compositions,” Palton said. “The warm and rich, organ-like sound of this low brass choir has won the ears and hearts of every audience. It is no wonder that TUBACHRISTMAS has become an established Christmas tradition in cities throughout the world!”

All area performers are invited to participate in West Virginia TUBACHRISTMAS. Registration and rehearsal begin at 10 and 11 a.m., respectively, at the Smith Music Hall band room. Dr. Michael Stroeher, professor of low brass, will conduct the ensemble.