Iowa’s oldest and largest "Tuba Christmas" celebration takes place in Mason City today. Tuba, euphonium and baritone horn players will converge on the city’s Southbridge Mall for a holiday concert. Event organizer Al Zook says the event has been taking place for over two decades and has grown throughout the years.
Zook says this is the 23rd year of Tuba Christmas in north Iowa. The first year, they started with just six players and it’s grown to over 100 who come every year to play. Zook says Tuba Christmas was started in 1972 in New York City to honor an Iowa native and events have spread throughout the nation ever since.
Perry native Bill Bell, who was born on Christmas Day in 1902, and played with Mason City native Meredith Willson. Bell was the mentor of Harvey Phillips from Indiana University and Phillips organized the first event that brought in 300 players. Now the events are held in cities nationwide every year.
Southbridge Mall in Mason City start at 1 P.M. Other cities in Iowa holding Tuba Christmas events include: Cedar Rapids at Westdale Mall today at 2 PM: Creston at Creston Middle School, Sunday at 4 PM; and Ottumwa at St. John’s Auditorium at Indian Hills Community College, today at noon. Other events were already held in Spencer, Sioux City and Des Moines.