Since 1992, TubaChristmas has brought musicians from various ages and experiences together for a festive community concert in downtown Boise. Though sleigh bells might be the first sound that comes to mind during this time of year, holiday songs make use of a wide range of instruments, including the tuba and euphonium.
The event will take place Saturday, Dec.ember 2, with a rehearsal for performers at 1:30 p.m. in the Boise State Morrison Center and a public performance at 4:00 p.m. in the Capitol building rotunda. Sarah Paradis, professor of trombone and euphonium, William Winkle, tuba professor emeritus, will direct the event.
“If you attend TubaChristmas, you can expect to see over 70 tuba and euphonium players of all ages performing holiday songs,” Paradis said. “The combined sound of this many tuba and euphonium players in the Capitol building rotunda is really an amazing thing, and the audience is encouraged to sing along.”
According to Paradis, the location in the rotunda helps to amplify the rich sound of these instruments and provide a unique vantage point for spectators.
“The Capitol building is an amazing acoustical location for TubaChristmas,” Paradis said. “The rotunda magnifies the sound of the tubas and euphoniums, but since they are such gentle instruments, it provides a warm and surrounding effect. Every seat is the best seat in the house!”
For Hannah Gibson, a sophomore studying instrumental music education, this will be her second time participating in the event. Gibson said she is ecstatic about helping to coordinate events, like TubaChristmas, in the tuba and euphonium community.
“TubaChristmas is always so fun and exciting because it’s a different group of musicians and spectators every year,” Gibson said. “We all gather together out of our love for music and the holidays. Getting to perform for the public is what makes it all worth it. People from all over the Treasure Valley come with their friends and families, and the rotunda at the Capitol building is packed.”
The performance will include familiar holiday songs as well as some unique ones composed specifically for the low brass section with a vocal part.
“My personal favorite song is ‘Santa Wants a Tuba for Christmas,’ which is an old, special tradition,” Gibson said. “It’s the only song where a performer actually sings solo with the tubas and euphoniums.”
In addition to the music, TubaChristmas celebrates the performers who make the event possible. According to Paradis, the youngest and oldest participants, as well as the best-decorated participant, are recognized each year. Many participants choose to wear Santa hats or vests, or they may get more creative with their decorations.
“My favorite part about the whole thing is the Christmas contests we have, such as the best-decorated tuba. People get really creative with that one. Tinsel, lights, ornaments, you name it,” Gibson said.
Though individual costumes and songs may differ from year to year, Paradis said the event has been fairly consistent and should last 45 minutes at most. “You can depend on coming to a free, fun event and walk away with some holiday cheer!”
Boise State students should consider attending this event as a fun break from their studies, and as a way to get in the spirit of the season.
“This is a great way for Boise State students to get off campus and enjoy the local culture of Boise,” Paradis said. “We live in a vibrant, active city, and this is just another way that students can take a break from studying to soak in some great music and holiday cheer!”
Gibson agrees. “Just bring a couple friends, grab some hot chocolate and come enjoy some Christmas music! You can sing along to all the songs you know, maybe hear some songs you don’t know and probably see some crazy kinds of tubas you didn’t know existed.”