Tuba Christmas

This morning Bill told me that Paul wanted to go downtown for lunch at the Chinese place we used to go to. At our new office we have to take MARTA 3 stops down to Five Points to get there, so we don’t go that often. But Bill had an idea that it wasn’t just about Chinese. We got to Five Points and Paul walked us over to Underground where there were a bunch of chairs set up. Within a few minutes a line of casually dressed musicians starts walking up, starting with a bunch of tubas (technically sousaphones since they’re the type used in marching bands). Bill figured we were here to see a concert. I said “This band has a lot of tubas!” Paul said there was more to it. As we watched more people with horns walked in and sat in the chairs. Paul asked if I noticed anything else. I said it must be an all-brass band. He said no, wait a little. After about 50 people walked in with tubas I realized this was an all-tuba band. The event we were about to see was Tuba Christmas, a 30-year tradition, but one that I had only heard about before (from Paul, of course). Paul looked at all of the tubas and said “You don’t see that every day!”

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I took a picture of the tuba band with my cell phone, then called Susan and a couple of people at work so they could hear the joy of Tuba Christmas themselves. The band, eventually 200 tubas, played a number of Christmas Carols and the band director would speak between songs telling the crowd (about 200 people) about tubas in general and about Tuba Christmas. I knew about the sousaphones already, but there were a number of other tubas there as well in addition to a large number of euphoniums. The biggest tubas, the director said, would uncoil to 18 feet, but the euphonium was only 9 feet. A few people had instruments with two horn bells and apparently could switch between the two, the smaller bell producing a trombone sound. That is a double-bell euphonium.

Here’s a photo gallery from the AJC.

Then we had Chinese.

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