The sounds of the season will sound a little — different — as Tuba Christmas concerts are being held this month in cities across Iowa. Jeff Kirkpatrick is helping organize the 23rd annual event in Mason City this weekend. Kirkpatrick, the Osage High School band director, says tubas and euphoniums are sort of the Rodney Dangerfields of live music as they just don’t get the respect they deserve for their ability to make beautiful music.
Kirkpatrick says Tuba Christmas was started by a man named Harvey Phillips to honor tuba and euphonium players worldwide and show that tubas can do more than just play the “ooom-pah-pah” type songs, as they can play beautiful music. Kirkpatrick was one of the original six players that helped start the North Iowa Tuba Christmas in 1985. The event is now one of the largest in the Midwest.
He says more than 100 players come to north-central Iowa every year for the event, quite an accomplishment when you factor in the population of the area compared to events in larger cities around the state and nation. Kirkpatrick says if you’ve never heard the group perform, you are in for a surprising holiday treat.
He says: “Normally when people think of tubas and euphoniums, they think of instruments sitting in the back of the band and they don’t get to play the Christmas carols and all the melodies. We demonstrate at Tuba Christmas that these instruments can do a lot more than what the stereotype is and in fact, we think the sound from this tuba and euphonium group is beautiful and wonderful.”
Concerts are scheduled for Saturday in Mason City, Cedar Rapids and Ottumwa, while Tuba Christmas will be held on December 20th in Sioux City. Events were held earlier in the month in: Des Moines, Estherville and Spencer. For more information, see the Tuba Christmas website .