GALLIPOLIS — Hear the warm, rich organ-like sounds of the tuba-euphonium choir when musicians from all over the region gather Dec. 12 at the historic Ariel Theatre in Gallipolis for the annual Ariel Merry TubaChristmas.
This 2 pm concert is part of a nationwide celebration of low brass music created by Harvey Phillips and is free and open to the public. Although TubaChristmas concerts can be heard all over the world this time of year, the Ariel’s acoustics are favorable to low voices and make the Ariel Merry TubaChristmas concert an extra special treat for the ears.
The Ariel Merry TubaChristmas is led by tubist Dr. Jason Smith, professor of tuba at Ohio University, who will be conducting most of the selections. Guest conductor this year is Gallipolis resident Tim Huffman, who is a band director in the Mason County Schools.
Now in its 41st year, Merry TubaChristmas is presented in more than 250 cities throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. In an unusual turn of events, the concert itself is free to everyone but the participants pay to perform, as per the request of Phillips himself, to provide funding to continue the tradition throughout the country.
Phillips was inspired to create TubaChristmas as an annual event honoring his teacher, the late tubist William J. Bell, who was born on Christmas Day in 1902. Every Christmas season, tuba and euphonium players of all ages gather to pay respect to all the great artists and teachers who represent their heritage.
Every TubaChristmas performance features traditional Christmas carols especially arranged for low brass by American composer Alec Wilder, who died on Christmas Eve 1980. Through Wilder, TubaChristmas concerts pay grateful tribute to composers who have embraced these noble instruments with solo and ensemble compositions.
TubaChristmas ensembles attract players from 8 to 80. The sound of the tuba-euphonium choir has won over the ears and hearts of every audience. It is no wonder that TubaChristmas has become an established Christmas tradition in cities throughout the world.