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Tubachristmas 2007, NYC

Tubachristmas is a music concert in cities worldwide that celebrates those who play, teach, and compose music for instruments in the tuba family. Instruments in the tuba family that often appear are the tuba, sousaphone, baritone, and euphonium, though some participants bring rarer members of the family such as the hélicon, contrabass bugle, ophicleide, serpent and double bell euphonium.

The first Tubachristmas was founded by Harvey G. Phillips and was held December 22, 1974 in New York City's Rockefeller Center in recognition of the achievements of William J. Bell who was born on Christmas Day, 1902.[1] Over 300 musicians played that day and started an ongoing phenomenon that continues to this day. The arrangements of the Christmas carols were written by Alec Wilder, who coincidentally died on Christmas Eve, 1980.

It was not easy to convince Rockefeller Center to let hundreds of tubas play on the ice rink. Phillips had to provide the unlisted telephone numbers of some of his friends: Leopold Stokowski, Leonard Bernstein, Andre Kostelanetz, and Morton Gould. After checking his references he was given free rein.[2]

Tubachristmases vary in size from a minimum of four instruments (two euphoniums and two tubas), to several hundred at the biggest events. Any musician can play in a Tubachristmas as long as he or she plays an instrument in the tuba family. Musicians who attend usually range in age from 8 years old to over 80. There is a $5 participation fee and the booklet of music costs $15 for a small version or $20 for a large version (although users of drum corps contrabasses, baritones or euphoniums may need to transpose the music into treble clef key of G). The booklet comes in bass and treble clef. Attending the concert is free.

The Tubachristmas arrangement of "Jingle Bells" incorporates the trio section of the "National Emblem" march before returning to the holiday melody.


  1. ^ William E. Geist (1985-12-16). "FOR A SHINING MOMENT A YEAR, TUBAS GET SPOTLIGHT" (fee required). ABOUT NEW YORK (New York Times). 
  2. ^ James Barron (1990-12-11). "Manhattan Rumbles to Christmas Tubas" (fee required). New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 

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