The First Annual UVF Tuba Christmas

by Office of Marketing | Dec 12, 2014
Tuba Christmas 2014
On Dec. 7, the University of Valley Forge (UVF) welcomed tuba and euphonium players of all ages from the surrounding communities to celebrate the Christmas season with the company of other tuba players as well as those who appreciate tuba music. The ensemble of tuba players, conducted by faculty member Floyd Richmond, Ph.D. led the audience in a variety of celebratory Christmas songs, all composed by supportive tuba advocator, Alec Wilder. Never before had UVF hosted a Tuba Christmas until this 2014 season.
In 1974, Harvey Phillips conceived the idea for the first Tuba Christmas as a tribute to his teacher and mentor, William J. Bell. The first Tuba Christmas was held at Rockefeller Center in New York City on Dec. 22, 1974. With over 300 musicians accounted for, the event became a seasonal tradition, and is now a worldwide popular concert, which led to the creation of a non-profit organization committed to supporting and expanding the music arts. The organization especially recognizes those who play unusual instruments that are not often supported, such as the tuba and euphonium. After performing in a number of Tuba Christmases, including one that featured over 500 tuba players, freshman Michael Ebie inspired UVF to host its first ever Tuba Christmas.
The event was held in Krempels Theater, with close to 30 musicians registered to perform. Eleven-year-old Dustin Swanson received a prize for being the youngest tuba player to perform and for traveling the furthest distance, 30 miles, to play at Tuba Christmas. Swanson was enthusiastically applauded for his commitment to his craft.
UVF is passionate about being involved with its surrounding communities. One of the highlights of Tuba Christmas was the high attendance by the community, as friends and family of the tuba players came to support their loved ones on the stage. Nearly all of the performers came from schools around the Phoenixville area. Participating school districts included Owen J. Roberts, Phoenixville and Radnor. Marple Newtown School District was the most represented school with 13 tuba players performing at the concert. 
Each performer’s tuba was adorned with festive embellishments, and some of the performers dressed for the occasion by wearing seasonal sweaters or other holiday accessories. Two individuals in attendance exhibited the Tuba Christmas spirit especially well: UVF President Don Meyer, Ph.D. and his wife, Evie, wore matching Tuba Christmas scarves to show their spirit for the tuba performance.
Also contributing to the event were UVF sophomore music major students, sophomore Alex Gehring and sophomore Gabby Miller. The two talented musicians specifically learned how to skillfully play the euphonium for the event and had never studied the instrument beforehand. However, the two brave musicians were not the only players new to the tuba world. President Meyer made his tuba debut by playing the last hollow note of each measure in “Jingle Bells.” He showed off his abilities on the tuba after practicing for just two 10-minute increments. His comedic performance pleased the crowd and made many merry audience members giggle with delight.
The first Tuba Christmas at UVF ended on a happy note as the tuba ensemble led the audience in a final Christmas carol by playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” On behalf of all students and faculty members of UVF, President Meyer wished the community a merry Christmas and prayed that they would be blessed by God in the new year.

View more photos of the event  »