On Sunday, December 18th, the Annual TubaChristmas holiday show rocked Solomons Island with a crowd of over 350. The nearly 30-piece ensemble, featuring tuba and euphonium musicians, convened at Our Lady Star of the Sea to cover traditional Christmas music and bring the community together for an engaging performance.
The TubaChristmas show has been performed at Our Lady for the past four years. Though the lineup of musicians changes, the spirit of community performance remains at TubaChristmas. The history of TubaChristmas begins in New York in 1974 when musician Harvey Phillips constructed a performance to honor the work of William J. Bell, who the TubaChristmas organization cites as the example for professionalism in musicianship and standards for performance. The first TubaChristmas performance was held in Rockefeller Plaza with music arranged by Alec Wilder, whose compositions are still performed by TubaChristmas ensembles around the world every year. The local chapter of TubaChristmas was founded in the 1990’s by Bill White, who conducted the ensemble until only recently when he retired from music.
This year, the musicians of Solomons’ TubaChristmas ensemble hailed from across the Mid-Atlantic, including Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland. The musicians contacted coordinators to prepare for the event and rehearsed as a whole ensemble only hours before the live performance for the community. Local high school musicians played many tunes alongside seasoned instrumentalists experienced with decades of playing. Conducted by Rick Penix, the ensemble covered classics such as “Carol of the Bells,” “O’ Come, All Ye Faithful,” “First Noel,” and “Silent Night.” Unique to this performance was Penix inviting the audience to sing along to the TubaChristmas renditions during the performances, as well as bell accompaniment during “Jingle Bells” by the young audience members. The harmonious sounds of TubaChristmas’ tuba, euphonium, and trombone, among other instruments, brought the holiday spirit alive in Solomons for another exciting performance.
Alexya Brown / Calvert Beacon Intern