TOMBSTONE — Be sure to turn out for Tombstone’s TubaChristmas on Dec. 14, when the brassy sounds of the holiday season rumble through the town’s park.
TubaChristmas is a holiday concert that features traditional Christmas music performed by low brass players of all ages from across Cochise County. Tuba, sousaphone, euphonium and baritone musicians are invited to participate. The concert, which starts at 1 p.m. is in Tombstone City Park on the corner of Third and Allen streets.
“This concert is a unique experience for both the audience and most of our performers,” said Lorie Sheridan, Joyce Clark Middle School band director and euphonium player who is co-coordinating the event with Tombstone resident and euphonium player Larry Bowers. “You don’t often hear this many low brass voices at once. It’s neat to see beginners sitting next to people who have been playing their entire lives.”
TubaChristmas spotlights the rich mellow sounds of low brass instruments as they belt out Christmas music in close harmony.
Free and open to the public, the concert is a great way to kickoff the holiday season, Sheridan said.
Meet Hilwwwbert BernalEvery year, the local TubaChristmas organizers select a different conductor for the event, with Hilbert Bernal as the conductor for Tombstone’s concert.
A 1969 University of Arizona music education graduate, Bernal played sousaphone with the UA Wildcat marching band as well as the university’s Air Force ROTC band. He performed in the first Super Bowl in 1967 in Los Angeles where the UA and Gambling University marching bands entertained the crowd during the halftime show. In addition to the UA marching band, Bernal played for the university’s concert band for four years.
His first teaching job out of college was at Tombstone High School where he was the band and choir teacher from 1969 to 2002. After his 33 years at THS, Bernal taught for the Benson Unified School District from 2002 until 2011.
About TubaChristmas“Founded in 1974 by renowned tuba player Harvey Phillips, TubaChristmas was conceived as a tribute to Phillips’ teacher and mentor, William Bell, who was born on Christmas day in 1902,” said Sheridan.
American composer Alec Wilder arranged traditional Christmas music for the low brass ensemble, with the first concert held on the Ice Rink Stage of New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza in December 1974. More than 300 participants performed at that first concert, giving low brass instruments a moment to shine.
Since that first performance, TubaChristmas concerts have become a holiday tradition in hundreds of cities across the U.S. — and a few abroad, too — with tuba and euphonium players gathering to play holiday music.
“Performing for TubaChristmas is so much fun for those of us who love low brass,” Sheridan said. “It’s one time when low brass play melody, and it’s beautiful Christmas music.”
Wanted: low brass playersAll low brass players interested in performing in Tombstone’s TubaChristmas concert should plan to attend a rehearsal at Tombstone High School, 1211 North Yellowjacket Way, the morning of the concert.
Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and rehearsal is at 9.
Participating musicians will need to bring a $10 registration fee, official TubaChristmas music book — which can be purchased in both bass and treble clef and is used at every TubaChristmas event — horn and stand to rehearsal. The musicians are encouraged to wear festive attire and decorate their horns.