Victoria’s holiday celebrations are getting down to brass tacks with the 41st annual Tuba Christmas taking place this Saturday, December 14th!
At 1:00 p.m., Market Square will be filled with the dulcet tones of some of the region’s finest tuba and euphonium players. It’s a tradition that dates back to 1974 in New York City, and now takes place in over 200 cities worldwide.
Victoria is joining in for another year, and its impromptu band will be once again headed by UVic School of Music professor and Victoria Symphony Orchestra’s principal tubist Paul Beauchesne.
Part of the afternoon’s fun stems from the fact that the tuba is an often unheralded instrument, Beauchesne tells Victoria Buzz in an email.
“As tuba players, we are often relegated to the back of the band or orchestra, in a supportive role,” he says. “Tuba Christmas is a way to gather the community together, to put the tuba front and centre to showcase its capabilities, and to raise some money for a good cause.”
This event is open to all with admission by donation supporting the Times Colonist Christmas Fund for the Salvation Army, Mustard Seed Street Church, and Our Place Society.
In his email, Beauchesne explained that winter is the perfect time to feature the tuba because the instrument lends itself well to the harmony-rich sound of Christmas carols as performed by a mens’ choir or barbershop quartet.
Some of the songs that will be performed were arranged by renowned American composer Alec Wilder, while others were arranged by local composers Tobin Stokes and Scott MacInnes.
Their annual favourite songs played are ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Carol of the Bells.’
Embouchure enthusiasts and curious onlookers alike venturing down to Market Square can expect a great turnout. Last year, a record 120 musicians performed, and Beauchesne is eager to see how many join this year.
“It truly is a great event and an important part of the annual Christmas tradition for many people here in Victoria,” Beauchesne said.