Tuba Christmas not to be missed

Published 9:14 am Thursday, February 3, 2011

Editor’s note: Tommy Melton sent in this letter in mid-December but it unfortunately got lost in the shuffle. The Bulletin staff regrets the error and happyily runs the column for Melton now.

To the Editor:

On Dec. 4, 2010, the 13th annual TUBACHRISTMAS was held in Polk County, at the Polk County High School. I believe this was my 10th TUBACHRISTMAS, and I must say it was the best so far. I am almost certain more people saw this TUBACHRISTMAS than any before.

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The auditorium holds 750 people and I believe there were 700 plus people sitting and enjoying the Christmas carols being conducted by Dr. Bill Bryant. This year, as in the past, tuba players came from cities as far away as Winston Salem and many were from right here in Polk County.

For the past 13 years, this event has been hosted by Dr. Stan Howell and Mrs. Jean Howell. Let me say that their love, appreciation, and Stan’s humor is getting better each year. It amazes me to watch their energy and dedication to this once a year event.

According to the TUBACHRISTMAS website: “the first TUBACHRISTMAS was conducted by the late Paul Lavalle in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, Dec. 22nd, 1974.

Traditional Christmas music performed at the first TUBACHRISTMAS was arranged by the American composer Alec Wilder who ironically died on Christmas Eve, 1980. Wilder composed many solo and ensemble compositions for tuba and euphonium.

He was a loyal supporter of every effort to improve the literature and public image of our chosen instruments. Through Alec Wilder we express our respect and gratitude to all composers who continue to embrace our instruments with their compositions and contribute to the ever growing solo and ensemble repertoire for tuba and euphonium”.

TUBACHRISTMAS is presented in 248 cities all across the country.

The North Carolina cities that participate are: Columbus, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Pembroke and Wilmington. It is also presented in Basel, Switzerland, Vancouver, BC, Canada and Victoria, BC, Canada.

Although this great event is free, there is the opportunity to donate, and I must say there are many wonderful people who donate their time and money.

It would be unfair not to mention Bob and Pat Dockendorf, who give so much of their time and energy to make this Polk County event a success.

I hope to see you there next year!

— Tommy Melton