WEST BRATTLEBORO — A unique holiday tradition, TubaChristmas, brings together players of valved, low-brass instruments, including the tuba and (1)euphonium to rehearse and perform Christmas carols arranged in four parts especially for a tuba choir.
TubaChristmas events take place in over 300 cities throughout the United States and in several other countries. The Brattleboro event will be held on Sunday, Dec. 11, at the First Congregational Church of West Brattleboro, 880 Western Avenue.
Brattleboro Union High School Band Director Steve Rice serves as host and music director for the event. He took the reins from the late Bruce Corwin, who served as band director of the Brattleboro American Legion Band.
Participants should arrive for registration at 12:45 p.m. Rehearsal starts at 1:15. Each participant needs a copy of the music book and a music stand. Anyone who needs help obtaining a book should contact Rice at 802-451-3511.
The public is invited to a culminating concert and sing-along in the church sanctuary at 3 p.m. There is no admission fee and a free-will offering is suggested to benefit the church's mission to serve the West Brattleboro community.
TubaChristmas events are overseen by the Harvey Phillips Foundation. According to the information they provide, Dr. Harvey G. Phillips was inspired to create this unique annual event honoring his mentor and teacher, the great tubist William J. Bell (born Christmas Day, 1902). The first TubaChristmas was held on Dec. 22, 1974, on the skating rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City, a site that continues to host the event annually.
Events in large cities attract hundreds of musicians. The Brattleboro version is typically much smaller in scale, with 12 to 20 players.
In our region, other TubaChristmas locations (each on different dates) include Bernardston, Massachusetts; Keene, New Hampshire; and Burlington, Vermont.