A sure sign Christmas is upon us is the annual event of Tuba Christmas. Two-hundred or so tuba players will gather in Pioneer Square this Saturday to serenade onlookers with a dozen or so holiday favorites. If you’ve ever wanted to sing Christmas carols to the low-hum of alien spaceships, this is your chance. Tuba Christmas is a national event, so even if you’re not from Portland, check your local listings to see if there is a concert in your hometown. All the concerts are free, of course, and it’s worth the outing. Especially if you live in a larger city like Chicago or New York. I think Boston has a great one, too.
I’ve actually performed in a Tuba Christmas in Houston. I played Tuba in the high-school band, and so I am not only a fan of Tuba Christmas, but a veteran. I think I used to have a hat or something.
My friend Laura Jean used to get her Tuba out every year here in Portland, and she used to bug me to find a Tuba and come and play with the gang. But I never did. And now she lives in New York. I live in a condo, anyway, so it just wouldn’t work to do all the practicing. I’d scare the neighbors dog, who is both blind and deaf, but no doubt would freak at the foreign vibrations. But in a way, every year, I am envious of all those Tuba Players. Tuba Christmas is the single event where tuba players are actually cool. Just one more thing Jesus redeemed with the incarnation. No small task. Merry Christmas, indeed.
Here’s a sample of Tuba Christmas in New York. Happy Holidays, everybody.
(In Portland, Tuba Christmas will take place this Saturday, in Pioneer Square, from 1:30 P.M. till 3:00 P.M. You will want to get there a bit early, as rain or shine, the place packs out.)
*Stephen Ferris’ artwork, “Tuba Christmas” is significant because it is a painting of the Portland site. The tent, under which the tubas are organized, is a staple. And the man in the hat is Dr. John Richards, who played in the Oregon Symphony for many years. He actually wears that hat each year because he also drives a submarine.